At the halfway stage, the table is taking shape and at the danger end the bottom two Bishop Auckland and Marske, lock horns at Kingsway.

The bottom seven clubs are separated by just 41 points and the pressure is starting to build to start putting some results together. Bishops are bottom and 18 points from safety, while the Seasiders maintain a nine-point lead over their opponents.

Bishops’ skipper Scott Oldfield said: “We make two changes, with Lewis Garnett and Nigel Turner in for the unavailable Darren Blenkiron and Jacob Dinger. After the lads put in another great display last week but just falling short, I'm sure if we turn up with the same attitude and performance levels this week, we will pick up a positive result.”

Marske skipper Chris Veasey said: “We make one change from last Saturday, with Owen Batchelor in to replace Jonny Mains. It was a really disappointing result for us last Saturday at Darlington, where we lost by two wickets and we really need to start batting out the 50 overs allocation.”

Two other teams in that tight group are Marton and Middlesbrough, but Boro have a 23-point lead over their opponents, with Marton just nine points above the relegation trapdoor.

Visiting skipper Leigh Beaumont said: “After a disappointing league defeat by Stokesley last Saturday, the team responded fantastically with a nine-wicket win in the semi-final of the Kerridge Cup, at home to Darlington. Hopefully we can transfer our consistent cup form into league wins.”

Hartlepool are fourth bottom and entertain Barnard Castle, who are in second position, and make two changes with Ollie Mole and James Piper, in for Aaron Feroz and the injured Jack Wilkinson.

Secretary Michael Gough said: “Last week against Great Ayton, and not for first time this season, we gave ourselves a mountain to climb with the top order batter trying to hit boundaries from the first ball, instead of being patient and playing themselves in.

“Against Ayton we were 31-5, which is a familiar tale and hardly any team can win from that position. We need to be a lot smarter as a batting unit, otherwise we are in for a very difficult second half of the season.”

Barney skipper James Quinn, who has Mike Dixon missing, replaced by Tom Merryweather, enthused: “We had another good result last weekend at Marton and we are looking to repeat that. The team is full of confidence, we just need keep this momentum going.”

Darlington have a tough match, as they welcome champions Great Ayton.

Official Garry Moody said: “Wicketkeeper Andrew Sturgeon returns for Adam Baldwin and off spinner Grant Sowerby replaces the injured Dan Baldwin, who could be out for several weeks with a torn hamstring.”

Ayton make two changes, with Tom Leng and Joe Marsay returning for James Marshall and Olly Gubbins.”

Seaton Carew host Thornaby at Hornby Park and visiting skipper Paul Allen said: “The last month of games has been a difficult period, with batters not firing on all cylinders.

“The team needs a solid all-round performance to get back on winning ways, against Seaton Carew who are in form of late.”

Stokesley, in fourth, welcome Richmondshire in third to the SCG, after a remarkable bowling performance from professional Shrikant Wagh, who took all 10 wickets last week against Middlesbrough.

Official Mark Smith said: “The team and particularly Shrikant are very buoyant, after last Saturday, despite defeat against this weekend’s visitors in the Kerridge Cup semi-final.’’

Gary Pratt, the Dalesmen skipper, said: “We are missing a few because of a wedding and holidays. Mike Layfield, Rob Carr, Matthew Cowling and Tom Dowson are all unavailable, but in come Josh Cartledge, Jordan Moss, Sam Winter and Rob West, who returns after injury.”