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Durham City showing signs of revival
11:02pm Friday 29th July 2011 in Match Reports
After a season of turmoil at the foot of the table, Durham City are showing every sign of being able to drag themselves clear of danger in the closing weeks of the campaign.
City failed to win in any of their first 11 matches, but in recent weeks they have broken their duck as well as coming very close to pulling off victories on a couple of other occasions.
Last week they frightened the life out of champions Boldon, who were pleased to cling on for a draw as City got to within ten runs of knocking off a challenging 212.
The draw points gained weren't enough to lift them off the bottom of the table after Castle Eden turned in a remarkable batting display at Whitburn, but City are just two points behind Castle, with Philadelphia only two points further ahead.
With Felling also back in the relegation mire, the markers are going down for a scrap to the finish.
Durham entertain Eppleton today, the second-placed visitors having their own agenda as they try to keep in touch with leaders Kimblesworth.
City have to reckon without Danielle Hazell, the women's international turning out for Yorkshire this weekend, as well as Mike Elliott. Will Dobson and Kyle Armstrong earn call-ups.
Eppleton parade new signing Andrew Robinson for his first-team debut following his transfer from Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago. He comes into the place vacated by wedding-bound Dean Musther.
Castle Eden's club record DSL total of 302 at Whitburn was amassed in just 43 overs of carnage last week, with Dean Langridge's individual record of 158 not out including 21 fours and two sixes, and Keith Bailey blitzing nine fours and seven sixes in his whirlwind century. The dynamic duo, along with their unchanged teammates, square up to South Hetton this afternoon, the visitors also being at full strength.
On day one of the season Philadelphia were top of the table after a 28-point victory, but 14 winless matches later they look to be the team with the most to worry about, and with a home match against title chasing Horden things don't get any easier. Phili will have to do without the working Adam McGuire, with Chris Noble retaining his place, while Horden select left-arm seamer Tom Riches in place of the unavailable Gary Ward.
Felling are just eight points above Durham, but they will be lifted by the news that visiting Burnmoor will not have run machine Jimmy Daley in their team. With Ian Conn and Gary Brown also missing the Moor do, at least, have the returning Barry Dews and Michael Callaghan to fall back on.
Kimblesworth entertain Whitburn who hand a seasonal first-team debut to 17-year-old Harry Thursby in Ian Elliott's absence, and Lee Dalby returns for Norton at home game against unchanged Boldon.