Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Northumberland Leagues

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Northumberland Leagues

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS WEST

NTSL leaders Tynedale face a real test of their title credentials as they take on a Shotley Bridge side still smarting from their shock defeat at the hands of Leadgate last week. Bridge are not out of the title race yet, but defeat today would definitely spell the end of their bid.

Phil Carlin replaces Stefan Dabrowski in the home dressing room, while Tynedale are at full strength, although despite being 17 points ahead of the chasing pack with just five games to go Gary Cant is remaining very coy about his team's prospects.

"Our young side will be up against a very good side today," he said. "They have three of the league's highest scoring batsmen in Peter Collingwood, Phil Brown and Stuart Graham, while Stuart is arguably the top bowler in the competition. That said I feel our young pups will give it a good go."

Ashington, in second, should have too much in the tank for hosts Alnmouth who are battling hard to stay out of the bottom two, although the relegation-threatened side have Terry Pearson back in the team after being stuck underneath a combine harvester last week - fixing it.

One side in real danger of the drop are Ryton, but victory last week raised hopes of a successful escape bid being launched, although a home game against in-form Swalwell is not necessarily the ideal follow-up at this stage. The champions, bidding to make it an eye-watering eight league titles in a row, are back up to optimum strength with the return of James Welch.

Relegation could come down to just one team this year with Burnopfield set to depart the league for pastures new in September, so it was a major disappointment for Ryton to still find themselves propping up the rest following Leadgate's performance of the season in toppling the Bridge.

The second-bottom side, just three points ahead of Ryton, take their new-found confidence to Lanchester where their hosts have Liam Dixon back in harness following his month away in Texas. …

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