8:00am Saturday 14th September 2013
By Tim Wellock
DERBY rivals Tynedale and Blaydon are both strengthened for today's National One showdown at Corbridge.
After both suffered heavy opening day defeats they welcome back key men, with Blaydon particularly grateful to pair Andrew Baggett and Jonny Burn at half back.
Baggett has recovered from illness and the misunderstanding over Burn's registration has been sorted out, much to the relief of assistant coach Hall Charlton.
The ex-Falcon had to dust off his boots last week without having done any training, but he lasted only 30 minutes and as far as he is concerned his playing days are over.
Further experience is added with Simon Barber selected on the wing, but Blaydon will hope to win it up front as Tynedale might have the edge in the backs with the return of Hamish Smales and captain Jack Harrison.
Newcastle Falcons hooker George McGuigan, from Richmond, is in the Tynedale squad after making his Premiership debut against Bath last weekend. Prop Johnny Williams is also involved after being out for a season and a half.
He might take heart from ex-Falcons lock Andy Buist making his comeback in Tynedale's second row five years after a very promising Premiership career was ended at 24 by a knee injury.
Another derby sees Westoe entertain Percy Park in National Three North.
Percy Park have recruited 15 players and hand a debut to ex-Darlington Mowden Park scrum-half Todd Harrison.
Mowden will be grateful for the depth in their own squad after suffering four injuries in last week's defeat at Macclesfield.
They are away again today at Hull, who lost narrowly at Luctonians and won 15-13 at home to Mowden last year.
Fly Tom Hodgson, who appeared to suffer a nasty head injury last week, is recovering after spending a night in Macclesfield hospital.
He is replaced by Gavin Painter, with Guy Van Den Dries in the second row for Chris Campbell and Callum McKenzie on the wing in place of Chris McTurk.
There is a change at hooker, where former captain Junior Fagalilo makes way for Ross Doneghan, who has joined the club from Ayr.
Craig Dominic, who went on as a replacement last week, is also injured so Shaun McCartney and Marty Lithgo come on to the bench, which also features home-bred back row youngster Liam Riley.
In National Three North Billingham follow their narrow defeat at Huddersfield with a home game against promoted Morley. Dan Finney is out with a dislocated shoulder, so Andy Evans will start at scrum half.
Middlesbrough face a tough game in North One East at Wheatley Hills and bring in Ashley Kearney at hooker with Isa Warsama switching to prop.
Jack Pierce comes into the back row. West Hartlepool are unchanged for their home game against Morpeth.
Darlington visit Durham City in a battle between two teams relegated from North One East last season. City, who began with a defeat at Hartlepool Rovers, have lost their best line-out man, Peter Dent, to Westoe.
Durham and Northumberland One newcomers Bishop Auckland are away to Blyth.
Stockton hope to shrug off last week's disappointing performance at Blyth when they host Gateshead, who lost at 21-3 at Darlington.
Lock Steve Taylor returns and in the back row Tom Nelson comes in for Dan Seaman and coach Martin Howe starts instead of Martin Dixon, who is working.
Scrum half Brian Thwaites should be fit after being forced off with a knee injury last week. Simon Crozier comes in at centre.
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