BLAYDON are hoping the pace of Newcastle Falcons Academy fliers Dan Marshall and Ben Stevenson will help them to a much-needed home win against Ampthill today.

While Marshall has become a regular on the wing, Stevenson is making his first appearance of the season at full back.

A product of the Middlesbrough club and Yarm School, he has just completed his first season in the Durham University team.

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He scored with his first touch on his Blaydon debut, aged 17, last season and impressed with a two-try performance against Darlington Mowden Park last April.

Skipper Keith Laughlin returns to the back row in place of Andrew Archibald, who broke a finger at Plymouth last week.

Scrum half Nathan Horsfall also broke a bone in his hand and is replaced by Max Connon, whose brother Brett is not available because the Falcons have a Development XV game on Monday.

Andrew Baggett resumes at fly half and prop Andrew Foster also makes a welcome return with Robbie Kalbraier unlikely to play again this season because of his back problem.

Blaydon know that a failure to win could see them slip into second bottom place in National One as Hull Ionians host Cambridge.

Mowden Park go to Esher without back row man Simon Uzokwe because of England Students duty and they are taking no risks with Ollie Hodgson following his return last week.

Rory Duff, virtually ever-present in the first half of the season, returns at No 8 and in the only other change Garry Law drops to the bench to allow Josh Bragman to start at fly half.

Director of Rugby Danny Brown said: “We were very pleased with last week’s performance against Hartpury. I sometimes think it doesn't matter what you do when you’re playing against the top team - things don't go your way.

“Esher had a massive 64-19 win last week at Old Albanians so we cannot drop below the levels set last week and the boys know that.”

Billingham will play their National Three North match against Doncaster Phoenix on the second team pitch as work continues on laying the artificial surface.

West Hartlepool need to end Pocklington's 12-game winning run, otherwise the visitors will clinch the North One East title with two games left.

West can reduce the gap to two points, but know that Pocklington's excellent defence, which has leaked one try in the last seven games, is still likely to keep them out in front.

A trip to Birkenhead Park for the promotion play-off awaits the runners-up, which is slightly ominous in view of the Cheshire club's 125-0 win against Whitehaven club St Benedicts last Saturday.

If West lose they could find Penrith moving alongside them in second place as they will expect to gain maximum points at Guisborough.

In the continued absence of No 8 Sam Miller, West again call on Aaron Myers with skipper Dan Boatman moving up to the second row.

Time is running out for Durham City to escape the third relegation spot. They visit Driffield, who were good enough to earn a draw at Penrith last week.

Barnard Castle should enjoy a points spree at home to bottom club Ryton as they seek to stay ahead of Westoe, their rivals for the promotion play-off spot in Durham and Northumberland One.

Westoe host Stockton, while leaders Northern are unlikely to slip up at Gosforth, despite any ancient rivalries with their neighbours.

Westoe will be keen to avenge a 39-30 at Stockton, who are without both squad scrum halves, Matt Crowe and Brian Thwaites, creating a chance for teenager Tom Brown.

Full back Dan Phinn is also missing and coach Paul Lee stands down after orchestrating the threequarters last week in the absence of injured fly half Reece Cowley Experienced men returning are Simon Crozier and Steve Thornton in the backs, plus forwards Martin Dixon, Phil Douglas and Dan Muirhead.