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Plain sailing for Seaham Harbour?
12:40am Saturday 23rd July 2011 in Durham Coast League
With just eight games of the season remaining, leaders Seaham Harbour are starting to wonder if this is the year when their ship might just come in.
While last week's washout proved to be another disappointing damp squib, with not a single match played, Harbour came out of the deluge with their 25-point lead intact, and the potential banana skin of their scheduled derby at Seaham Park became just another tick in the draw column.
They return to home soil today, where they have looked invincible since their shock opening-day defeat at the hands of Silksworth.
That jolt to their system seemed to work wonders as, since that reverse, they have won every game on their own ground, which is the primary reason they are now out in front.
That success has been built around a highly potent attack and last week's rest allowed one of the key players in their strike force, Jack Lacey, a further seven days to get over his back problem.
A fit Lacey lines up alongside Neville Gustard, who makes his return from injury, as the Harbour get to grips with visitors Boldon CA.
For Boldon, the game is make or break. The champions have struggled to reach the heights of last season in a stop-start campaign but they are only 33 points behind their opponents, so victory for them would throw the championship doors wide open again.
They have also received a boost with pace bowler Carl Watson back in the team after five weeks on the sidelines with a broken wrist.
An eight-game unbeaten run has pushed Washington on to the fringes of the title race. They are just five points behind CA in fifth place and travel to take on an unchanged Ryhope with their strongest squad of the season.
Added to their successful cup-winning line-up of a couple of weeks ago are Andrew Ebdale and Joe Thompson, leaving the selectors having to make some difficult decisions.
A mix of weddings, work, holidays and injuries have stripped Silksworth of four first-team regulars ahead of their match at Easington, and Paul Dixon, Billy Hedgley and Anthony Bell form some of the second-team cavalry to answer the call to arms. Easington include Jordan Wilson in an otherwise unchanged side.
Dawdon are possibly seeing double for the last time with the Purewal twins playing in the home game against Peterlee, with their football commitments likely to restrict further appearances.
Peterlee will be missing wedding-bound David Laidler, so promising 16-year-old seamer Shaun Taylor is handed an opportunity.
Bottom side Murton include Dan McNamee for the visit of second-placed Seaham Park, while unchanged Bill Quay visit a Hylton team that includes the returning Owen Williamson.