Durham Cricket League: Massve promotion clash as Littletown head to biggest rivals Whiteleas
The race for promotion in Division Two is really hotting up with Littletown leading the way with a 14-point advantage over Whiteleas and are 26 points ahead of Peterlee in third.
Marsden are currently in fourth, a further seven points behind them, with only five games remaining.
So, the scene is set for a mouth-watering match at Low Lane, as Whiteleas entertain Littletown with the match having a huge bearing on the race to division one.
Following last Saturday’s impressive win over challengers Murton, Leas go into the clash in a confident mood.
However, skipper Owen Peterson insists there is a very long way to go in the promotion race. He said: “The league table doesn’t lie and we will be playing the best side in the division tomorrow.
“It’s a game we can’t really afford to lose, but neither can Littletown, so it’s going to be tight either way.
“We’re still huge underdogs to go up, especially as four games in our last five are against teams who are all in with a chance of promotion.
“All we can do is take one game at a time and enjoy the experience.”
Peterson makes two changes to his line up from last week, with all-rounder Nick Quinn and opening bowler Chris Nichol returning.
Peterlee will be unchanged and are at home to Murton and have won only one of their last three league games, so they too need to get back on the winning track.
Marsden, in terrific form of late having won their last six league games, are at home to Langley Park, with only one win in four.
The home side have Conor Elliott back, who replaces Adam Sneller. Skipper Chris Mann said: “We are in good nick at present, but we need to stay focussed, confidence is sky high after the winning run.”
Boldon CA entertain Ryhope, with the visitors needing to win to have any hopes of finishing second with a late winning surge.
The home side have Thomas Jubb, Andrew O’Connell and Ben Reay back to replace James Patterson and Dominic Slater and Adam Slater.
Evenwood in fifth, face lowly Houghton at Stones End and like Ryhope, need to win to have an outside chance of going up.
In Division One, Burnopfield continue to lead the race for the title, but they are faltering just a little bit having lost their last two games.
However, because their close rivals are not taking advantage of these recent results, they still maintain a 57-point advantage with only five games remaining.
They have three changes with Jimmy Radcliffe, Matty Young and Jack Hughes and Gareth Breese from the club stated, “We have been outplayed in our last two games and need to re-focus, play good cricket and return to winning ways.”
They entertain Easington, who have not won in three games and have fallen away from the title race, but still remain in fifth position.
They have Michael Cockburn back and skipper Dane Wilson is looking for improvements, he said: “We were terrible last week and I hope it was just a one-off.”
Horden, their closest rivals in second having beaten Dawdon last week, face a difficult trip to Durham City, who will be keen for points to avoid any lingering relegation fears. City are without a win in three games.
Bill Quay have managed to crawl to within one point of getting out of the relegation places with a win over Durham City last week, travel to bottom placed Hylton and will be hoping for another win.
Dawdon who were really disappointed at their loss to Horden last week, must win at Crook Town to keep the pressure on the leaders, just as Horden must do at Durham City.
Crook are in no mood to go down after their draw at Seaham Park last week, they must keep performing to avoid dropping into the bottom two places.
Seaham Park are not safe yet either, they are without a win in three games and travel to Castle Eden who are bang in form having won their last three games, most notably against Burnopfield last weekend and are unchanged.
Esh Winning have a full squad to choose from including Jonathan Hodgson when they welcome Philadelphia to Rear Brandon Road in a mid-table clash.
Philadelphia are looking to finish runners-up and have a platform to build on for a tilt at the championship next season.
They were delighted to lift the Hedworth Williamson Cup at Whitburn last Sunday when they defeated Great Ayton in a fantastic finish which saw them overtake a target of 164 by scoring 50 runs in the last four overs.
“It was a great team effort and everyone played a part. This has been our strength all season with everybody chipping in with runs and wickets,” enthused captain Shaun Smith.
“Great Ayton were the third Premier League side we beat in the competition following victories over Whitburn and Boldon. Ayton are fifth top in the NYSD League Premier Division and defeated Hetton Lyons in the semis so it was an outstanding result.
“We are still involved in another three cup competitions so the club is in with a chance of enjoying its most successful season for some time.”
On Saturday, Smith cannot call upon Mark Emmerson or Paul Hollinshead, but Gary Embleton and Mattie Noble are available and immediately come back into the side.