IT promises to be a pulsating weekend as Premier Division sides begin the second half of the season today, then take part in the fifth Teesside University NYSD Fifteens Premier Super Sunday.

The Fifteens competition is now into its 12th season and has proved popular.

All 12 Premier League teams compete at four different locations to determine the eight sides who will progress to the quarter final.

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Each venue will host three games. Darlington and Richmond are visitors to Barnard Castle, Great Ayton entertain Stokesley and Guisborough while Seaton Carew and Norton go to Hartlepool. Marske have home advantage against Middlesbrough and Marton.

The games start at 1.15 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm.

NYSD President Chris West said: “When we initiated the competition all those years ago, we were ahead of the time, taking a step into the unknown. It was the first coloured clothing competition at UK club cricket level and now the ECB are encouraging Leagues up and down the country to take the plunge.

“The short format of the game is now the most popular form amongst the younger generation and as the groups are arranged on a derby basis, there’s keen competition.

“Since we launched this format 12 years ago, there have been some wonderful crowds and if the weather is fine I’m certain there will be good attendances at all four venues.”

With the season now at the halfway stage, the surprise side has been Stokesley who, with seven wins, have enjoyed success more than any other team.

They go into today’s home game with Marton in second place, 23 points adrift of leaders Great Ayton.

After escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth last year, success is all the more remarkable since Durham County’s James Weighell has played only twice.

His big brother Andrew though has taken the strain and last weekend he passed the 500-run mark.

South African Aubrey Swanepoel has proved a tremendous acquisition and the effervescent Aussie Sam Stephens is providing an additional cutting edge.

Stokesley miss in-form Richie Chandler and are likely to promote one of their promising youngsters as they hope to complete a first double.

Leaders Great Ayton – who with one defeat have lost fewer games than any other side - host third-bottom Guisborough. Captain Jon Grainge fields a strong side.

Guisborough are looking over their shoulders at the other end, only ahead of second-bottom Seaton Carew by a slender margin.

Shani Dissanayake performed miracles last season. This time he has scored 457 runs and taken 25 wickets but despite his herculean efforts, his side languish too near the bottom for comfort.

Barnard Castle sit third before visiting bottom-of-the-table Norton and skipper James Finch said: “We didn’t play particularly well last Saturday but ultimately we picked up the 20 points to stay in touch with the leading pair.

“I’ve got James Bousfield back and he will boost both our batting and bowling.”

Norton will need to improve dramatically during the second half to avoid relegation. Their first 11 matches yielded a miserly 30 points and they are 63 adrift of safety.

Seaton Carew are 13 points behind third-bottom Guisborough, before their fixture at Marske who make two changes following last week’s disappointing performance. Neither Chris Lince nor Chris Witherley can play so Harry Peirson and Jack English take over.

Hartlepool are fourth-bottom but 42 points from the drop zone. They head to Darlington, boosted by the inclusion of openers Neil Coverdale and John Watson. Sam Sanger and Chris Harrison make way.