Busy weekend for local cricket clubs

Hartlepool's Jack Wilkinson
Hartlepool's Jack Wilkinson

HARTLEPOOL face a busy weekend schedule of three matches in three days, starting with a Arthur Sanders Cup tie at home to Boldon tonight.

This evening’s contest is followed by two North Yorkshire South Durham Premier Division encounters.

Pool host Boldon this evening (6pm start), before hosting Middlesbrough tomorrow and then having a short trip to near neighbours Billingham on Sunday.

Middlesbrough are sat just above Pool in the league and in recent years have not been the force they once were.

They still possess a huge amount of talent in their side, but have been prone to lose games which they would be expected to win.

Billingham, on the other hand, have been fairly consistent performers in recent years, finishing mid-table most seasons.

Pool enjoyed a successful time when the sides met at Park Drive earlier this season, but the Synthonia wicket will be a totally different surface to the one at Park Drive.

Billingham have some key performers in the shape of Craig Symington, Martin Cull, professional Tariq Aziz and former Seaton Carew, Horden and Blackhall player Stuart Lobb.

All of those players can be destructive on their day and will provide the main threat to Pool.

Pool have been forced to make some changes, particularly for the Sunday game, with Peter Rhoden, Jono Mitchell and Rory Gribell coming in to replace Liam Prosser, Anth Fawcett and Adil Arif, who are all unavailable.

Two positive results in the league will catapult Pool back up towards the top of the table.

BLACKHALL travel to First Division leaders Redcar tomorrow (1.30 start) looking to get back on the promotion trail.

Last weekend’s trip to Northallerton was washed out and they lost their previous game at Welfare Park against Saltburn by seven wickets.

Hall now lie in fourth place in the NYSD First Division 39 points behind joint leaders Redcar and Bishop Auckland who are both unbeaten and both have won five games.

Redcar have arguably the best opening pair in the league – Ollie Rogers and Tom Urwin.

“Tomorrow is a big test for us,” skipper Scott Birks admitted.

“It’s a boost to have Stephen Sargeant available. He offers us something with both bat and ball.”

Against Saltburn, Hall were given a great start by Wayne Birks, Scott’s brother (29) and Naeem Feroz (31) before an all-too-familiar collapse ensued.

With the season approaching the halfway stage, it is vital the Collierymen start winning games such as this one.

“ I feel as if I am bowling well,” added Scott Birks. “The batsmen are doing well too. It’s good to have the like of Paul Moss available, We just need a bit of a rub of the green.

“All good teams needs that little bit of luck to go their way.

“Hopefully tomorrow will be our day.”