LOCAL rivalry looks likely to reach fever pitch as the two Seaham clubs battle it out for the right to be called champions of the 3D Sports Durham Coast League.
In an ironic twist, Park’s superb performance in toppling Hylton opened the door for the Harbour to go sailing to the top, as they came out winners in a tense encounter with Silksworth.
However, just eight points separate the two sides with 10 games to play.
Pride of place on Saturday went to the Park lads, who brought Hylton’s unbeaten run to a juddering halt.
Alex Ludlow (3-30) and Ali Watson (5-30) caused the normally formidable Hylton batting line-up all sorts of problems and send them packing for just 120.
With Andrew Docherty (64) then straight into his stride there was no way back, with the nine-wicket defeat meaning just one point for the former leaders, who dropped down to third as a result.
Harbour had to work much harder for their success at Silksworth.
The Silks looked set for a big score when they advanced to 85 for no wicket on the back of an excellent opening stand between Phil Middlemiss (10 fours in 50) and Paul Smailes (seven fours in 38).
However, once they had gone the house of cards caved in, all 10 wickets crashing for just 48 runs to leave the Silks trying to defend 133.
Neville Gustard (5-43) and Anthony Watson (3-20) were the architects of the home team’s downfall and Watson chipped in with a crucial unbeaten 20 after Neil McKinney (33) had given the run chase a bit of beef to take Harbour eventually into the safe waters of a four-wicket victory.
The third side from Seaham were also victorious, Dawdon overcoming championship-chasing Bill Quay by seven wickets, with Shoaib Akhtar their star turn.
Akhtar picked up 3-24 as Quay were unlocked for 144, then he smashed a rapid 75 to rush Dawdon through to success.
Boldon CA revived their hopes with a similar margin of victory over Ryhope, with Dave Tate (4-17) and Ian Male (3-31), on his debut, impressing as the visitors were hustled out for 119.
CA were in a spot of bother themselves after losing three batsmen for 16 runs and then Tate to an injury, but Lee Jackson (41no) and Tommy Nixon (31no) settled any nerves and the result.
Darren Hickey (114 and 3-20) should have inspired Washington to a win with 200-2, but Easington clung to a draw with their last pair at the wicket, opener Ben Wicling top-scoring with 37. David Tarn added 33.
Peterlee and Murton were also locked together in stalemate. Min Mahill (52) and David Garraghan (44) helped the Newtowners to 193-9 before Murton responded with 129-6. Richard Lowes (33) and Jordan Vout (32) led the way.
H The league representative side exited the President’s Trophy, going down by 233 runs to the NYSD League. Steven Gale (39) top-scored in the Coast League’s 114 all out.
H A battling display from Sacriston kept them firmly in the Northumberland and Tyneside Senior League title hunt and put a large dent in Percy Main’s own ambitions.
Main had made the title stakes a four-horse race with some good displays in recent weeks, but they found their match at Sacriston, who pinned them down to 186-6 and then eased home with five wickets to spare, Aussie Kendal Ballard (60no) providing the winning flourish.