IT’S a battle at wrong end of the table today in the Dukes ECB North East Premier League as bottom-placed Stockton face third-bottom Newcastle.

Visiting captain Phil Hudson said: “Sam Roseby is out this week, Cameron Steele is back on duty for Durham, so Ryan Davies will make his debut for the season having been unavailable until this point.

“Both sides are near the wrong end of the table, so picking up points is more vital this week. We travel with confidence.”

Chester-le-Street are in third following last week’s draw against Eppleton and face Hetton Lyons at Ropery Lane.

Skipper John Coxon said: “It was a disappointing result for us last Saturday, where circumstances did not go our way. However, we are full of confidence and these are big games that everyone wants to play in and all the team are looking forward to putting in big performances.”

Only 16 points separate the bottom six, including Durham Cricket Academy and Sacriston who meet up at Front Street. Only four points separate the teams and although Sacriston have won three of their nine games, Durham Academy have drawn five and are hard to beat.

Two points below the Academy are Eppleton, and they travel to Tynemouth and secretary John Smithson said: “We will be without Josh Coughlin, who has been called in by Durham, after his sparkling debut for them last week. This game will be tough as usual, but the side needs to get back to winning ways after some mediocre efforts of late.”

Brandon, in second place, travel to Division One leaders Burnopfield. Brandon’s Karl Turner is away on holiday, Ryan Pringle is in Southampton with Durham, while Stephen Humble is injured. Oscar Dewhurst is unavailable and Nathan Adamson is working.

Willington, in fifth, host Burnmoor in fourth and skipper James Stock said: “Joe Emmanuel has returned south from University, replaced by Peter Leggett. Steven Alderson dislocated his finger last week, replaced by Jake Dickinson. The Burnmoor match is always looked forward to and no more so than this week, as the sides are close in the table and just one point separates them.”

Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League leaders Shotley Bridge travel to bottom club Stocksfield and Louis Hall the vice-captain said: “First change bowler Joe Gibson is back after work commitments, so Stefan Dabrowski returns to the seconds.

“The batting was poor last week, so needs to improve rapidly to give the consistent bowling unit something to work at.”

Lanchester travel to Lintz and captain Stuart McPhail said: “We are unchanged, with Arran Halliday still carrying a knee injury Durham have requested that he doesn’t play.”

Lintz have Jordan Clennell missing due to an injury and Paul Lumley is away. Joe Metcalfe and Michael Edmunds step in.

Division two leaders Leadgate entertain Alnwick and club official David Walker said: “We have onme change, Darren Benford plays instead of Lewis Fletcher who is dropping to the seconds to improve form with both bat and ball. The game could be one of those banana skins, so we all must thwart the opposition’s hopes of taking a scalp.”

Leaders in the Readers Durham Cricket League Crook welcome third-placed Esh Winning and secretary Alan Stewart said: “We’re top of the league, so we hope to keep on winning and extend our lead. This is our nearest thing to a derby, but it won’t be an easy game.”

Esh Winning make one change. Jamie Robinson replaced by Daniel Wilkinson.

Easington, in second, host Durham City and are 13 points behind Crook. They have a 46-point lead over third-placed Esh Winning but only one club will go up this season

Tudhoe, in fourth, welcome Marsden with a full-strength team. Chairman Stephen Thexton said: “Marsden are only two places below us, so it should be a good competitive game. We didn’t play them last year as they were a league below us and gained promotion, so they will be new to us.”

Horden travel to Philadelphia and secretary Adam Dixon said: “It’ll be a tough game against Philadelphia, as it always is, but we hope to continue to pick up some much needed points.”

Philadelphia chairman Malcolm Pratt said: “We welcome back captain Shaun Smith, who has recovered from broken fingers in both hands, sustained while fielding at Seaham Park. Willie Orchin also returns, as Phili look to arrest a disappointing start to the season. The pair replace Steven Wright and Gary Embleton, who are both unavailable.”

Division Two leaders Evenwood are at home to Langley Park and miss Daniel Wilkinson, but Andy Rowell will return from injury. Secretary Luke Bannister said: “We just went top at the weekend, so we need another win to stay there. Langley Park are a tricky team, they get results where you don’t think they will and they’re not a bad outfit.”

Peterlee are third bottom and are at home to Hunwick, 22 points behind their opponents. Hunwick had a ‘winning draw’ at Murton last weekend, while Peterlee were well beaten at Dawdon, by nine wickets.