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Harbour hope to sink Park challenge
9:00am Saturday 16th July 2011 in News
There is some clear blue water between the Harbour and their challengers in the title race, but those waters could be muddied today unless the leaders can get to grips with the challenge posed by local neighbours Seaham Park.
The Seaham derby is always a keenly contested affair but this one carries additional significance because the protagonists occupy the top two places in the table, but Harbour have the advantage of a 25 point lead after the most dramatic of games last week when they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Bill Quay looked to have set up a comfortable win when they shot their hosts out for a paltry 70, but then Harbour had their opponents all at sea as they surged back to unlock the Quay for just 53, the points bonus derived from batting first simply the icing on the cake.
The vibrant young Harbour attack has been the main weapon in their eight victories, with Anthony Watson, who bagged an â€˜eight-for' in the win over Quay, Peter Hambleton and Jack Lacey providing a real cutting edge. But much of that success has come on home turf, which will be some consolation to a Park side given they have home advantage today.
Park have selection problems with Alan Dick, James Ferguson and Mick Evans all definitely missing, and a serious question mark over Alex Ludlow's fitness, his back problems making him a real doubt. Jack Lacey has also suffered with his back recently, but he has been passed fit and will start the game for Harbour.
As well as second against first today's programme also features a fourth versus third clash, with new Dixon Cup holders Washington taking on Hylton. Youngsters Darren Smith and Adam Hickey excelled in last Sunday's cup final victory, and they keep their places in the home dressing room. Hylton will have to make do without the services of Liam Foster for the rest of the season - so John Stokoe's return is timely.
Silksworth include the returning Michael Waterson and Craig Nield today with Phil Middlemiss and Anthony Dell away. Visitors Dawdon hope to turn out the same side as last week but that will depend on the footballing commitments of the Purewal twins.
Boldon CA have only won one of their last nine league matches meaning the chances of retaining their title have suffered as a result. They currently have 41 points to make up on the leaders with just nine games left, so a victory over bottom club Murton is an absolute must.
Murton have been slowly improving in recent weeks, and have turned in battling performances to earn draws in their last two games. Richard Lowes returns to their side, while the home team select George Lincoln to deputise for Tommy Nixon.