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Season closing with major promotion relegation issues still in the balance and nerves will be jangling for some teams on the final day of the Premier League season 11th Sept.
At the top Middlesbrough remain favourites with an 8 point lead over 2nd placed Marton. Hartlepool will play host to Marton whislt Middlesbrough travel to Normanby Hall where they will start as strong favourites to win and secure the championship. Obviously Hartlepool will be keen to finish the season on a high specially after a morale boosting win away to Guisborough to build upon but Marton will be keen to push Boro to the limit and hope for a surprise as Cricket Lane.
The relegation spot is equally as tight with Northallerton now only 7 points ahead of Thornaby at the bottom. Northallerton travel to Bishop Auckland and Thornaby have home advantage against a competitive Darlington team. Relegation of course will only be confirmed if Barnard Castle secure top spot in Division 1 and they moved closer to that aim with a win over previous leaders Marton on Saturday. With 2 matches left each Barney now have an 8 point lead at the top but anything is possible. Redcar’s challenge seem to have gone with a draw on Saturday. So if Marton 2nds were to win the division no team would be relegated but that will remain as the “get out of jail card” for either Thornaby or Northallerton until after the final weekend (18th Sept). Seaton Carew will be Barnard Castle’s final fixture so there is some local interest and Barney will be keen to ensure the final day disappointment of last season is not repeated when Stokesley overtook them at the final hurdle.
Normanby Hall will be relegated from Division 1 and will be replaced by Whitby who clinched the Division 2 title in only their second season in NYSD.
Seaton Carew or Bedale will be relegated from Division 2 and will be replaced by league newcomers Maltby who are confirmed champions of Division 3 in their first season of NYSD.
Hartlepool 2nds enjoyed a victory on Saturday and were able to celebrate with the first team at an end of season social night. The beer always seems to taste better when accompanied by a win. Two young players did well on Saturday with Adil Ahmad and Tom Gavin. Adil picking up 3 wickets in two bowling spells and supporting Chris Smith who wore the opposition down to pick up another 4. Tom Gavin then dominated the Hartlepool innings with an excellent 88. A century was his obvious aim but as the winning post came close Tom pushed just a little too hard to make the 12 he needed before the close. Excellent innings and had the winning total been greater reaching 3 figures would have been a formality.