Reigning champions Richmondshire reached the top spot in the NYSD ECB – Premier League last week, following a good win at Darlington. On Saturday they face Stokesley at Hurgill Road, and skipper Rob Carr said: “We have the same team for the game after another excellent win last week, and we are hoping to continue our good form of late.”

The visitors, on the other hand, will be without Tom Preece and opening batsman Jonathan Weighell, who are both on holiday.

Middlesbrough dropped to second, following their losing draw at Barnard Castle last week. They face Darlington at Acklam Park, and skipper Matthew Bell said: “Cole Pearce, Clarke Doughney and Sam Gaudie all return for the game, which should see us strengthened in all departments.” Feethams official Garry Moody said: “Lee Hutton is unavailable and is replaced with Alex Metcalfe, who has been scoring regular runs in the second team.”

Barnard Castle are third, and they visit Chiltons Avenue to play Billingham Synthonia. Skipper James Quinn said: “We make one change to the side this week, wicket-keeper Phil Merryweather is available again and replaces Max Martin.”

Quinn added: “This week we are looking to build on last weeks results in the league and cup, while improving our consistency in the second half of the season.”

Bottom club Marton need to get going in this second half of the season, and face Hartlepool at home. Skipper Alex Wardell said: “We make one change for the match, with Chanluke Van Niewenhuizen unavailable for the game.”

Pools secretary Mike Gough said: “We keep the same side that beat Saltburn last week. They were 122-1 wicket chasing 206 for victory, but collapsed badly to give us 25 points. The star of the show was Johnny Bushnell with a superb innings of 98 not out and three wickets. This followed scores of 100 not out and 50 not out at the Park Drive for the first team in the league.”

Gough added: “Marton are another team who have had a difficult start, but they possess several players who are match-winners on the day.”

Great Ayton make one change from their win at Marton last week, with Phil Holdsworth replacing Tom Crown for their home game against Stockton. Visiting veteran Leigh Beaumont said: “We have seven out of the 11 players from last week unavailable!”

Beaumont added: “Jonathan Rickard, Jamie Burke, Kevin Ward, James Ward, Abhinav Ramisetty, Richard Waite and Chris Hooker, are all unavailable through work commitments. Adam Beaumont returns and this will open up opportunities for some of the second team players.”

Saltburn entertain Thornaby at Marske Mill Lane and are 16 points from safety. The Seasiders need a win to try and force themselves out of the bottom two, but the visitors had a comfortable home win against Billingham Synthonia last weekend, so will be confident.

In Division One, league leaders Bishop Auckland travel to Wolviston, who have won six of their 11 games so far this season. Darlington Rain second place, travel to Fountains Garth to take on third-placed Guisborough, with a 20-point cushion between them and the Priorymen.