Hartlepool in double-header with Great Ayton and Stokesley

Callum Prosser bowling for Hartlepool . Picture by Joe Spence
Callum Prosser bowling for Hartlepool . Picture by Joe Spence

Hartlepool face a bank holiday weekend double-header hosting Great Ayton on Saturday then travelling to Stokesley on Monday.

Pool make just one change to their winning side from last weekend for the game at home on Saturday.

Jon Rickard returns in place of James Piper, as Pool look to build on a great result last week.

Rickards return sees Pool’s batting order strengthened even further.

John Watson, Neil Coverdale, Rickard, Phil Mustard, Dave Seymour, Alan Tebbett and the swashbuckling Lewis Stabler for a formidable top seven that any side would be happy to have.

The concern for Pool and skipper Chris Harrison is how to get the right combination at the top of the order.

Should Pool bat first in any game, either through choice or by losing the toss, they would be confident of posting a competitive total, giving their bowlers every chance of rolling teams over.

The bowling department also looks quite settled. Two young quicks in the shape of Callum Prosser and Stabler, coupled with the spin kings of Aussie Jonathan Carson and Dale Metcalfe.

And once the skipper’s variety is thrown into the equation, Pool appear to have all bases covered.

Saturday will be a test for Pool, with Ayton proving to be a very competitive side.

Pool did do the double on them last year, but Ayton fought tooth and nail to the bitter end in the league title race in 2015.

Monday’s game sees Pool travel to Stokesley, although their games could be in doubt due to the amount of snow that fell during the week.

The groundstaff will have a mammoth task to get the ground fit in time for the weekend.

Pictures circulating on social media show the ground under a good 3 inches of snow, not something you associate with late April weather.

Pool are forced to make to major changes to their side with Jon Rickard and Colonel Mustard unavailable due to prior engagements.

James Piper and Peter Rhoden come in to the batting order.

Stokesley are a very tough side, as Seaton Carew found out last weekend.

Their strength being their aggressive batting which can often see sides blown away in the first innings.

Pool’s bowlers will certainly be key in this game, especially if the playing surface is a little damp following the snow flurries of the last week.

Their batsmen, however, will also need to be at the top of their game, taking whatever offerings are available to them to ensure a competitive score can be made or chased down.

The two missing players could prove costly to Pool, as both Mustard and Rickard would be players feared by the opposition.