Duo return to Shields

By Daniel Prince

South Shields have completed the signings of Ben Riding and Chris Renshaw from Bishop Auckland and Crook Town respectively.

Riding, featured in the main image, joins the club for a third spell, while Renshaw is onto his second stint with the Mariners, and both are available for tomorrow’s game at Darlington RA.

Defender Riding, 25, has played 70 times for Shields over two spells. His most recent stint at the club was last season, when he made 33 appearances, scoring seven goals, including a hat-trick of headers in a 4-3 win over Chester-le-Street Town, while he also scored a headed winner in the previous game, at Whickham. He also netted on his second debut for the club, in a 2-1 victory against Whitehaven.

Riding, who is most comfortable in the centre of defence but can also play left-back, also played for the Mariners in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

Verstaile midfielder Renshaw, meanwhile, played seven times for Shields after making his debut in a game at Marske United in December 2012.

Riding and Renshaw have both swapped life in Ebac Northern League Division One for a return to the Mariners, and manager Jon King is pleased to have them on board.

He said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome Ben and Chris back to the club.

“Chris is an excellent player who has played at West Auckland and Bishop Auckland. We had him when we were in the First Division, and he has been at Crook this season.

“He is a big, strong lad, a winner, who can play at centre-half or in central midfield. He’s 30 now as well, so he’s a good age and with bags of experience, so hopefully that will benefit the rest of the lads.

“He’s good in the tackle, and similarly to Ben, he can play in a couple of positions, while he is very good with and without the ball.

“Ben can play centre-half, left-back or sitting in midfield. It’s two good signings for us, and hopefully that will help us move up the table.

“Ben has played at Bishop Auckland all season. They didn’t want to lose him, but they have four centre-halves and allowed us to speak to him.

“I spoke to Ben and told him about all the plans we have, and he bought into that.

“Ben can be as good as he wants to be. He’s very good in the air, quick and has a good long throw.

“He has been here a couple of times in the past, and the fact he has decided to join us from a top-half First Division club shows how much he wants to be here.

“We need more competition for places and to be harder to beat, and hopefully these signings will help with that.”

You will be able to hear from Jon King and Ben Riding later today on MarinersTV.