NE Premier League: Sacriston keep cool for their winner-takes-all title crunch at Felling

Sacriston batsman Reece Carr, facing a crucial last match of the season on Saturday, hits out in the recent draw at Burnmoor

Sacriston batsman Reece Carr, facing a crucial last match of the season on Saturday, hits out in the recent draw at Burnmoor

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The race for the title is still tantalisingly wide open and will be decided on Saturday, the last day of the season.

The fixture list has thrown up a mouth-watering match, when leaders Felling entertain second-placed Sacriston, at High Heworth Lane.

Sacriston are unbeaten this season and they have nothing to gain from a draw or a defeat, so they will no doubt be in an attacking frame of mind.

They have Melvyn Betts and Will Gidman available and Graham Wrightson is back, but Sol Bell is at a wedding.

Skipper Ian Jones is keeping his cool ahead of the decider, saying: “It’s a winner takes all match. We are 11 points behind but playing well – it should be a very good game.”

At the bottom, Tudhoe need a small miracle as they are 27 points adrift of Blaydon. They are at home to Brandon and must win the game to have any chance of survival.

Blaydon need just the four points to ensure survival and they travel to Seaham Harbour who ensured their safety two weeks ago, after beating Tudhoe by six wickets, in a high-scoring game.

Jack Chapman, Blaydon’s press officer, said: “We are struggling at the moment and will be without Gary Stewart, who is on holiday. However, the 27-point advantage is a comfort zone for us.”

Willington in third-top spot, will just miss out again this season and will have to come again next year stronger than ever, to try to gain promotion.

They entertain Burnmoor, who have had a good season. They finished fourth last year and could do so again, if results go their way.

Boldon will finish fourth, a rise of two places on last season, if they win at home to Mainsforth.The Sunderland Road outfit have shown signs of real improvement, with eight wins on the board already, having managed just six last summer.

Sunderland welcome Washington to Ashbrooke for a derby between two sides who were both involved in the fight for survival at points in the season.

Both have to improve their win tallies next season to have a chance of pushing on for promotion.