RICHMONDSHIRE have a defining weekend ahead of them as they challenge on two fronts.

Second in the league table, they travel to Bishop Auckland today and tomorrow they have their biggest game of the season when they meet Ormskirk in the last eight of the National ECB Cup.

The Dalesmen, proudly flying the flag for the NYSD League, have beaten three former national championship winners – South Northumberland, Chester-le-Street and York on the way to the quarter-finals. They saw off Doncaster Town in the last 16 to set up tomorrow’s game against last year’s beaten finalists.

Skipper Gary Pratt said: “We welcome back one of our match winners in Matthew McKiernan in place of Dion Wood. Bishops have quality players and match winners in their team and this match could be a potential banana skin if we are not at our best.”

Bishops are 16 points adrift in one of the relegation slots and skipper Scott Oldfield remarked: “We make one change, as Ben Lambert is in for Dan Legge. We were terrible against Middlesbrough last week and I'm hoping the lads show a bit more application this week.”

Leaders and current champions Great Ayton hold a crucial 14-point lead with seven games left and are unchanged when they welcome fourth-placed Thornaby, to Leven Park.

Skipper Jon Grainge said: “It will be a tough game, after they beat us earlier in the year at their place, but we are hoping to start a winning run as the season reaches the last third.”

Thornaby skipper Paul Allen said: “Hard work is required from all in all areas of our game, as they will be looking for revenge after defeating them twice earlier in the season, in both league and cup.”

Richmondshire and Barnard Castle are level on points, in second and third respectively and the Dalesmen travel to rivals Bishop Auckland.

Barnard Castle are at bottom club Marske and skipper James Quinn said: “We are looking to bounce back after some disappointing performances over the past few weeks. The lads are extremely determined to play some positive cricket and stay within touch of the leaders. We must take it game by game and step up our performances.”

Marske skipper Chris Veasey returns in place of Jack English and Veasey said: “We got the better end of the draw last week at Great Ayton and gained a few points from the match. Another good performance will be needed against a strong Barney side.”

At Park Drive, Hartlepool are in big trouble ahead of meeting Marton who are unbeaten in four. Hartlepool secretary Michael Gough snr said: “We are unchanged and keep the same team that drew at Stokesley last week. Marton are going to be another tough match, as they have a good blend of youth and experience.”

Marton skipper Alex Wardell said: “We are looking to carry on our good form into the game and climb up the table and get away from the relegation battle. Rameez Nawaz is back in for Dominic Knight.”

Darlington are fourth bottom, just 21 points above the safety line. They meet Stokesley and wicketkeeper Andrew Sturgeon is absent, replaced by Adam Baldwin.

Stokesley secretary Mark Smith said: “We were disappointed not to get a victory last Saturday, after a good bowling performance against Hartlepool. Ritchie Chandler returns to strengthen the bowling attack.”

Seaton Carew have a 10-point cushion over Darlington and face Middlesbrough at Hornby Park. They are without Jack Turnbull and Stuart Lobb, but Dave Storey returns after a move back from Blackhall.

Boro skipper Leigh Beaumont said: “We are delighted with back to back wins, which has pushed us up to fifth, one more win than last season already.''