Early start to the season in North East Premier League

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The new Dukes North East Premier League season will begin on Saturday, April 14, one of the earliest starts in the competition’s history.

The opening day will see Eppleton hosting champions South Northumberland at Church Road, while Hetton Lyons entertain newly-promoted Sacriston.

Whitburn start with a home game against Newcastle, last season’s runners-up, and Chester-le-Street head to Benwell Hill.

In the First Division, Sunderland begin away to Blaydon, Washington are at Willington and Seaham Harbour face a tough test at Brandon.

The final day of the season is September 8.

Opening day fixtures, Premier Division (11.45am start): Benwell Hill v Chester-le-Street, Durham Cricket Academy v Tynemouth (at Tynemouth), Eppleton v South Northumberland, Hetton Lyons v Sacriston, Stockton v Felling, Whitburn v Newcastle

Division One (12.15pm starts): Blaydon v Sunderland, Brandon v Seaham Harbour, Burnmoor v Burnopfield, Castle Eden v South Shields, Gateshead Fell v Boldon, Willington v Washington