South Shields are looking to bounce back from a run of poor results that has left them looking at the wrong end of the table when they welcome Chester-le-Street to town tomorrow (12.30pm).
The Cestrians are currently sitting in fifth spot but they’re not having a great season by their own high standards of recent seasons, so Shields will fancy their chances of pulling off a shock result.
Mark Appleton comes into the team and will partner skipper Chris Rainbow at the top of the order.
Rainbow will be hoping that Appleton’s dogged approach will help set the foundations for the team to make a big score, which they have been lacking recently.
Mumbai professional Salman Ahmed will be hoping to recapture some of his early season form which has deserted him in recent weeks.
Youngster Luke Elliott will occupy the No4 berth and will be looking to carry his good Under-18 form through to the top level.
Michael Dunn has recovered from a shoulder injury and the team will need his runs if they are to seriously challenge an experienced Chester side, while big hitters Oli Stedman and Chris Dorothy will be key to the team.
Shields will rely heavily on the experience of Matty Muchall to bowl the Cestrians out, and on a Wood Terrace wicket that he knows well, Muchall will back himself to do serious damage to the visitors’ batting.
Chris Stewart will partner Muchall with the new ball now he is fully recovered from a back injury and will be looking to get back to serious business.
Left arm spinner Sam Taylor-Gell will unfortunately miss the game due to injury, and the spin bowling option will therefore come from Sam Embleton and Chris Dorothy.
Shields Chairman Jim Elliott said: “We are looking forward to entertaining Chester-le-Street, who are a top team with a great pedigree.
“Most people will look at the fixture, and will write us off, so we will have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
“This is one of those big games, that the players love to play in and we are quietly confident that we can put in good performance, and you just never know what might happen.”
“We expect to have a good crowd in at Wood Terrace for the game, and the day will be made that much more special as we will be holding an afternoon tea in recognition of our loyal Ball Sponsors, who provide us with funds throughout the season.
“Many of these sponsors are our old players, supporters and club officials who go way back to days of the 1950s and 60s, and so it is great to welcome them back to the club.”
South Shields 2XI travel to Sunderland (1pm) looking to keep up their good form that has taken them into second place.
On Sunday, South Shields 4XI host Boldon CA (1.30pm).
Tonight, South Shields u18s welcome Peterlee in a T20 home game (6pm).
In the Dukes NE Premier League, Whitburn host Eppleton, while in the First Division, Boldon welcome Sunderland and skipper Chris Ellison said: “Barry McCarthy, the club’s Durham player, will hopefully be available.
“If he isn’t, the team remains the same, even though the last two games have been lost.”
In the Readers Durham Cricket League, Boldon travel to Peterlee.