By Chris West
PETERLEE are set for an invasion of Seaham Park supporters when the league leaders arrive on Saturday for the final game of the season.
Park have a coach fully booked to transport supporters to the match as the team go in search of their first ever league title. Seaham have a 10-point lead to play with, so any kind of win will do for them as they seek to put their name in the history books.
One factor they can’t control is the climate.
In a summer blighted by rain, it would be a great shame if the weather played one last cruel trick, but, with the title contenders playing quite a way apart geographically, and the forecast not the best, there is the additional worry that one team enjoys better conditions than the other on the day.
Park go into the game with a full-strength squad to select from, while Peterlee are unchanged from the side that gave one of their best performances of the season last Saturday in running Washington so close before the game ended in thrilling stalemate – if that’s not a contradiction in terms!
Challengers Boldon CA have home advantage in their favour as they tackle a weakened Easington side, who will be missing one of their key performers in all-rounder John Sample.
Also out is Jordan Wilson and, with a few more absentees, Easington might be hard pressed to prevent Boldon going all out for maximum points.
Last week’s top scorer, Andy McCord, is unavailable for CA, but he is the only one missing. With David Towns back from his holiday, the reigning champs are otherwise at optimum strength.
After CA’s 2010 title success, they became caught up in an eleventh-hour play-off with County League champions Kimblesworth to determine who would be promoted into the Durham Senior League.
But that situation will not arise this time around given the confusion surrounding the pyramid system following the Senior League’s decision not to have any relegation from their league this year – something that now means that no one will apply to move up.
Despite it being the last day of the season, several teams have plenty to play for, and nowhere more so than at Silksworth where the home team take on fierce local rivals Ryhope with winter-long bragging rights at stake.
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.
Unsurprisingly, Ryhope stick with the same team, but the goods news for Silksworth is that Chris Pringle and Craig Nield return. Eddie Wood, who had been expected to miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury, will also make a surprise appearance.
Hylton close their programme at home to 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. Murton finish off at Seaham Harbour and Washington host Bill Quay.