CHARLESTOWN captain Steve Mace is confident Sri Lankan first-class all-rounder Saliya Saman will be back, but he’s just not sure exactly when.
Ideally the third-placed Magpies would love that return to coincide with upcoming semi-finals this month, but at the very least next season.
It comes as Saman travels to his native country following the recent death of his grandmother. This marks the second time he has made the trip home during 2017-2018, following the ill heath of his fiance and newborn.
After initially arriving in October, the 32-year-old featured in rounds three to seven. He was away for December and January but came back in February for successive two-dayers and five T20 outings. Just the last round and play-offs remain.
Saman, who looks set to go around again in England this year after helping Great Ayton win the North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League before joining Charlestown, has scored 397 runs at an average of 44 and taken 36 wickets at 11.33 apiece during the Newcastle summer.
* MEREWETHER skipper Simon Moore remains in doubt for the Lions’ last-round encounter away against Toronto. NSW Country’s leading run scorer will test out his rib problem, which forced him out of their most recent win over Stockton, at training on Thursday before making a final decision.
* SEMI-FINAL spots are up for grabs in all four Newcastle district grades ahead of the final two-dayer in the regular season. Toronto have won half their games in seconds, three of them outright.