Hartlepool CC take on Murton at Park Drive

Hartlepool (batting) againsy  Middlesbrough
Hartlepool (batting) againsy Middlesbrough

Hartlepool begin the second half of the season sat in the comfortable position of sixth.

With the first round of games complete, Pool now face a tough six games as they aim to stay in contention with the teams at the top of the league.

Saturday sees them host Marton who will certainly provide a stern test to Jack Wilkinson’s side.

They comprehensively beat Pool in the first game of the season, although Pool have certainly improved since then.

Pool are able to welcome back Mike Yuill, who replaces Chris Smith, while Adil Arif Tahir is also selected, adding further depth to the batting line up.

Looking at the side, virtually all of the team can bat and this may be key against a side who restricted Pool to a low score in the first game.

With the ball, Pool are without Anth Fawcett, although his participation in recent weeks has been minimal as the damage has been done by Marc Symington, Callum Prosser and the spin of Jonathan Rickard.

That combination alongside the left arm spin of Mike Yuill will be challenged with nulling the threat of the dangerous Marton players.

They will rely heavily upon Lee Hodgson, Whalid Gul and Upul Indrasiri to score their runs, while several of the lower order, including wicket keeper Chris Veazey can be destructive on their day.

A win for Pool will keep them in contention at the top, as they are only 42 points from top spot.

Below them, a similar figure away from them, are a group of teams who presently are just occupying the middle places, before a pocket of four teams appear to be battling relegation.

BLACKHALL look to avoid a double defeat when they start the second half of the NYSD Division One programme at Maltby.

The Colliery side lost to the North Yorkshire outfit on the opening Saturday of the season at Welfare Park.

Defeats unfortunately have been the norm for Hall this summer, Great Ayton beating them last weekend, when the top order, Wayne Birks and Neil Whitworth aside, struggled for runs.

Skipper Jack Ward was encouraged by the display of James Connor, who hit a fine 32.

“James got a good 30-odd,” Ward said. He’s got a lot of ability but he’s not always available but he’s in the side tomorrow, which is good.”

Hall are minus Chris Tudball, with seasoned campaigner David Mole coming in.

“Maltby beat us on the first day of the season,” added Ward. “They are in their second year of the league and are more of a bowling side than batting. So we need to get into their batsmen.”