Darlington Building Society NYSD ECB Premier League - Preview of matches 9th June 2018

It’s top against second as leaders Great Ayton host Richmondshire at Leven Park, with the Dalesmen just seven points behind in what should be a cracker of a game.

Ayton’s Dave Grainge and Josh Thompson are unavailable, but Tom Leng returns and Nasar Hussain is called up.

Skipper Jon Grainge said: “It’s a top of the table clash and the top two from last year - not much else to say! We are looking forward to a tough game, any team that finishes above Richmondshire will win the league.”

Richmondshire skipper Gary Pratt said: “Josh Dowson is back in the team and we are raring to go, it should be a decent game and we are looking forward to it. Confidence is high following our win against Chester-Le-Street last Sunday in the ECB National Club Championship.”

Seaton Carew go into their crucial game at home to Marton, without Stuart Lobb and Jack Bond due to holiday, but welcome back Callum Atkinson and Jonny Mee.

Marton are unchanged and skipper Alex Wardell said: “After the rain ruined our chances of a win, against Bishop Auckland last Saturday, we are looking to get a positive result against another of the teams around us at the bottom.”

Barnard Castle welcome Middlesbrough and are unchanged.

Skipper James Quinn said: “This will be a very tough game. We are coming off the back off two good cup wins last week and the lads are in good spirits. We will be looking to put another strong performance in at home to keep momentum going, as we approach the middle of the season.”

Boro make one change, as Richard Knaggs returns for Jake Whittle for the trip.

Hartlepool journey to Bishop Auckland and make one change for the visit. Tom Gavin returns from holiday and replaces the unavailable George Relton.

Secretary Michael Gough snr said: “We were extremely fortunate to escape with a draw and 11 points last Saturday against Darlington and the heavy rain certainly saved us.

“We need to get a patient and solid start, because if not we are prone to an early order collapse.

“Bishops have made a slow start and are finding their way since they stepped up a level, but they have good players who are dangerous on their day, so we need to be wary and be up for this game.”

Bishop skipper Scott Oldfield said: “We are unchanged and we know the next few games are going to be difficult, as we play teams around us. We are still confident in our own ability, but we have to start picking up points.”

Marske are at home to Stokesley and have one change, with Owen Batchelor coming in for the unavailable Craig Gratton. Skipper Lee Hodgson said: “Stokesley have had some mixed results so far this year. We’ve played some good cricket at home, so we will be looking for more of the same.”

Stokesley official Mark Smith said: “Robbie Atkinson returns to strengthen the bowling department, for a difficult trip to Marske, where the usually batting friendly wicket should help our batsman.”

Thornaby are third and just eight points behind leaders Great Ayton, as they welcome struggling Darlington to Acklam Road.

They make two changes from their win at Hartlepool a fortnight ago. Youngster Lewis Beaumont retains his place and is joined by Harvey Spaxman, as skipper Paul Allen and Kevin De Silva are unavailable.

Darlington official Garry Moody said: “After three good games, we make one change with the unavailability of Peter Greenwell, who has impressed with both bat and ball, is replaced by Ollie King against a good and impressive Thornaby side.”