Littletown handed home start for first venture into Durham Cricket League’s top flight

Philadelphia opener Shaun Smith hit a brilliant, unbeaten century to inspire victory in last year's Fifteen15 final
Philadelphia opener Shaun Smith hit a brilliant, unbeaten century to inspire victory in last year's Fifteen15 final
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Littletown will be at home for their first ever match in the top flight of the Readers Durham Cricket League.

Gregg Arundel skippered the reformed club to the Second Division championship last season, a phenomenal effort given that Littletown only re-emerged in 2012.

Their biggest adventure will begin on Saturday, April 22, when Seaham Park are their visitors.

Horden, runners-up to champions Burnopfield last summer, begin with a derby trip to Castle Eden, while Philadelphia, third in 2016, go to newly-promoted Whiteleas and Tudhoe, relegated from the North East Premier League, are at Esh Winning.

In Division Two, Silksworth endured a disappointing campaign last season, with just one win in their 22 league matches. They begin the new campaign with a derby visit to Houghton, who were third-bottom last term, thanks to four victories.

Murton, meanwhile, are aiming to improve on their fifth-place finish and they kick off with a home match against relegated Hylton, while Ryhope, eighth in 2016, entertain Peterlee, who ended up fourth, albeit only 32 points better off.

Opening-day fixtures, Division One: Castle Eden v Horden, Dawdon v Bill Quay, Durham City v Easington, Esh Winning v Tudhoe, Littletown v Seaham Park, Whiteleas v Philadelphia

Division Two: Crook v Marsden, Houghton v Silksworth, Langley Park v Evenwood, Murton v Hylton, Ryhope v Peterlee, Ushaw Moor v Boldon CA

The league’s Fifteen15 competition starts on Friday, June 16, with four groups of six.

Defending champions Philadelphia open their sectional campaign with a home match against Marsden in a repeat of September’s final, which saw the Bunker Hill men triumphant by 143 runs as Shaun Smith hit 10 fours and six sixes in a memorable knock of 103 not out.

Bowler Stevie Wright then plundered 6-7 in his three overs as Marsden crumbled to 28 all out, from just 7.4 overs, in reply to Phili’s 171-1.

Other rounds will be played on June 23, July 14, July 21 and July 28.

Opening-night fixtures, Group One: Boldon CA v Whiteleas, Hylton v Bill Quay, Philadelphia v Marsden

Group Two: Castle Eden v Seaham Park, Easington v Dawdon, Peterlee v Horden

Group Three: Esh Winning v Langley Park, Evenwood v Crook, Ushaw Moor v Tudhoe

Group Four: Durham City v Silksworth, Houghton v Ryhope, Murton v Littletown