NEW leaders Hylton have a game to savour on Saturday when they travel to play champions Boldon CA, the team they dislodged from the summit of the 3D Sports Durham Coast League last weekend.
For Hylton, the fact this is a local derby adds spice to an already intriguing contest, with former players David Batty and Gary Hewitt key figures in Boldon’s line-up. Following CA’s surprise loss last week, Hylton are now one of only two teams to retain an unbeaten record.
Gavin Barnes returns to put Hylton at full strength, while their hosts have just one doubt, in the shape of Lee Jackson, who dislocated a finger and split the webbing on his hand in the defeat at Washington.
A decision on whether he plays this week will be left until the last minute, although the expectations are that he will turn out.
Hylton will need to be at their best to keep hold of pole position as Bill Quay, the other unbeaten side, are just two points behind them and have a good chance of picking up a victory when they entertain Peterlee, who started the season brightly but have since faded and slipped down to second bottom spot.
Quay are strengthened by the return of Mattie Dench and Greg Arundel, but Peterlee will be missing Andrew and David Laidler, who will be sampling the pleasures of Blackpool this weekend. Billy Willett and Paul Griffith are therefore welcome returnees.
The Seaham derbies are coming thick and fast now and there’s another one this weekend when Dawdon host Seaham Harbour.
Last week’s affair between Seaham Park and Dawdon did not live up to the hype, with both sides relatively keen to ensure they didn’t lose the match rather than go for the throat.
But with Harbour going into this latest head to head on the back of three straight victories, which have thrust them into the thick of the title battle, there is enough incentive to shrug aside the very local issue of bragging rights.
Harbour will put out an unchanged team, with their strength so far being built around their youthful strike force.
Twenty-year-old Anthony Watson and Jack Lacey, 16, have been causing opposition batsmen all sorts of problems. With another youngster, Peter Hambleton, to back them up, Harbour have the ability to bowl any opposition out on their day.
Dawdon will be without Jamie Greenwood, top scorer against Seaham Park, and Mark Ewart for the game, but they do hand a debut to new signing Farukh Iqbal.
The much travelled off-spinner, already well known in Coast League circles, is capable of causing problems given the right conditions.
Easington will miss Paul Franks for the visit of an unchanged Ryhope side, while Seaham Park include Anthony Laidler when they entertain a Washington team led by the returning Dan Talbot.
Elsewhere, Paul Bradford makes his seasonal debut for Silksworth against struggling Murton, who expect to have Ian King back.