THE Durham Senior League season ends this afternoon with Kimblesworth simply needing to win their home game against bottom club Durham City to secure the championship title at the very first attempt.
The club earned promotion to the DSL after winning the Durham County League in 2010, and then defeating Coast League champions Boldon CA in an end of season play-off. That title win last year was their third in a row, so success in their new surroundings would represent a fabulous finale to a four year success story.
The leaders will have a full strength team in the field, with Mike Fishwick definitely playing despite carrying a hand injury. City would love to avoid the wooden spoon notwithstanding the fact that there is to be no relegation this year, and they bring in Tom O'Neill and Danni Hazell to replace Paul Moralee and Mark Rogers.
Boldon will be desperate for Durham to do well, but even then they need to squeeze every point they can from their home game against Horden. It'll be a simple case of bat first if possible, go for victory and hope for the best, although the other crucial factor could be the weather which has ruined much of the last few months. Boldon have one change with Grant Forster back in.
Meanwhile Burnmoor conclude a frustrating season, riddled with 16 draws in 21 matches, away to Whitburn. They have to reckon without Martin Thursfield and Owen Lancaster, the latter sidelined by an ankle injury. Jack Holding and Mark Bell earn a call-up, while promising youngster McKenzie Wright retains his place.
Whitburn are missing vice-captain Paul Cook as well as leading wicket-taker Neil Johnson, but Ian Elliott returns, with Aidan Bannister earning promotion after runs and wickets for the seconds last week.
In other games Tom Cosford returns to the South Hetton team along with Michael Took – they entertain Eppleton, Castle Eden are unchanged for the visit of a Norton side that includes 15 year-old Shane Mitchell for the unavailable Ben Duncan, and two unchanged teams compete at Bunker Hill where Philadelphia take on Felling.
For Kimblesworth read Seaham Park in the Durham Coast League – they, too, simply require a win of any kind to be crowned champions for the first time in their history.
A coachload of Park supporters will descend on Peterlee this afternoon where Seaham hope to keep their date with destiny. League form would suggest that a full-strength Park will prove too strong for a home team who are just one place off bottom, but Peterlee turned in one of their best performances of the season last time out and stick with the same team.
Boldon CA will go for maximum points in their home game and hope that's enough to overturn Park's ten-point lead. And they could be helped by the fact that visitors Easington will be fielding a weakened side, with lynchpin John Sample missing, along with several others. Boldon are missing Andy McCord, but David Towns returns.
Despite it being the last day of the season several of the other teams have plenty to play for, and nowhere more so than at Silksworth where the home team take on fierce local rivals Ryhope.
Ryhope's surprise victory over Seaham Harbour last week, coupled with Silksworth's collapse at the hands of Seaham Park, meant Ryhope moved above their neighbours in the table, but just by three points. Ryhope stick with the same team, but the goods news for the Silks is that Chris Pringle and Craig Nield return, and also making a surprise appearance will be Eddie Wood who had been expected to miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.
Hylton close their programme with a home match against Dawdon, and it's a case of three in and three out against unchanged opponents, with Lee Rushworth, Stephen Lee Merrington and Kevin Mustard all back in harness.
Washington bow out with a home game against Bill Quay, and with the league cup in the trophy cabinet, and the second team winning Division 2, they are able to reflect on a much improved showing.