Durham Cricket League: It’s a must-win crunch for Littletown in battle to beat the drop

Silksworth bowler Nazir Nisthar watches his delivery cause problems for Hylton in last week's city derby. Picture by Tim Richardson.
Silksworth bowler Nazir Nisthar watches his delivery cause problems for Hylton in last week's city derby. Picture by Tim Richardson.
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Things are really hotting up at the foot of Division One, with two relegation places on the line.

Bottom club Littletown face the biggest challenge because they are 35 points adrift of safety.

However, they must fancy their chances of a vital victory on Saturday when they visit Dawdon, who are the team 35 points ahead.

Littletown’s head of cricket, Greg Arundel, said: “We’ll be looking to be as strong as possible. We have been on the wrong side of the small margin of teams who have lost this year, with tied games etc.

“If we were on the right side, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in, so this game against Dawdon is a must-win game.

“If we lose, our fate will be sealed for us. Joe Dodd is back in the team, but I am missing for rest of the season.”

Dawdon have won three on the trot to boost their survival chances, though they are just three points above second-bottom Bill Quay.

Quay face another side battling to stay safe, Horden, with only 18 points separating the two teams.

Horden skipper Carl Watson said: “It’s a relegation battle now, so we are hoping for a win.

“Everyone should be available except Scott Birks, who cannot play.”

Leaders Castle Eden make one change, with Alan Unsworth coming back in for Mark Dunn, in their crucial match against second-placed Durham City.

Chairman John Spellman said: “As mentioned last week, Esh Winning could have been problematic, and it did prove to be a difficult game.

“I feel that if we get one more win this weekend, then we should win the league.

“We have a good record against Durham City at home, and beat them at their place earlier in the season, so we’ll be going into the game with a lot of confidence.”

City have got to make up 36 points on Eden, with only two games left, so they must be positive in the game. But a home victory would just about see them promoted as champions.

Tudhoe, in third, could still mathematically win the title and promotion, but results need to go their way and they face a difficult game at Philadelphia.

The home side are unchanged for their penultimate game of the season, with their first-choice line-up, so this will be a big ask for the visitors.

Esh Winning travel to Easington and Whiteleas entertain Seaham Park, who are at full strength. Fixture secretary David Moorhead said: “We’ll be going into our last games against Whiteleas and Dawdon at full strength.

“We are expecting a tough game, but want to finish as high as we can, so are looking for a win.”

In Division Two, Silksworth are in desperate need of points as they try to avoid the wooden spoon – but they face a mammoth task against promoted and likely champions Marsden.

Visiting fixture secretary James Sneller said: “It should be another easy 30 points if the weather holds off.

“The team is pretty much unchanged, however Paul Cook is unavailable.”

Second-bottom Boldon CA, who hold a five-point advantage over Silksworth, entertain Peterlee, whose secretary, Roy Simpson, said: “Boldon CA are a welcoming club and we look forward to travelling to play them.

“They are having a terrible season, but try very hard to play the game as it’s meant to be played, so it should be a good game.”

Crook Town are already promoted and are 23 points behind Marsden. They should be unchanged, when they entertain old rivals Langley Park.

Hylton host Evenwood, whose secretary, Luke Bannister, said: “As long as we don’t get beat, we still have a chance of finishing third.

“Hylton, however, is a hard place to go to and win, so we will try our best.”

Murton are not mathematically safe from bottom spot and have Gavin Milne and Mark Gray returning against Ryhope.

Chairman Ian Graham said: “It’s going to be a tough game, but we’re hoping to pick up some points.”