RELEGATION-threatened Benwell and Walbottle tackle a top-five side for the fourth week in a row tomorrow.
It is a great testament to the way they have been playing that during this spell they have managed to claw back some ground on the teams above them.
In fact, another couple of good results could see them well clear of trouble.
Having failed by the narrowest of margins to beat Swalwell, they then hammered Leadgate, and their reward is a trip to third-placed Tynedale tomorrow.
It’s another real test, but one chairman Colin Humphreys is relishing. “We have great hopes of getting out of trouble, with our professional playing so well and the team now a lot stronger,” he said.
“We signed Phil Taylor from Burnopfield a few weeks ago and he’s strengthened the batting.”
Tynedale were the only side in the top four not to lose last week, and this combination of results pushed them into equal second spot, only 11 points adrift of the leaders.
However, they have a number of absentees for the game with Benwell, as Scott Kay, Chris Wilton and Joe Mills are all unavailable.
Sacriston also face a tough game when they take on a Leadgate team still smarting from defeat by Benwell. The visitors have selected 16-year-old Graham Hubber to replace Craig Burke, who has left the club.
This means that three Hubber brothers will appear together in the senior team for the first time, as Graham joins Martin and Harry.
The big game of the day is at Lintz, where the leaders welcome Swalwell into their lair.
The top dogs have Stuart Clennell returning to bolster their title hopes, while Swalwell keep the same line-up as last week.
At the opposite end of the table, Morpeth take on bottom club Percy Main who have Gary Sharp and Steve Knight available, and Paul Merryweather also returns after recovering from his broken thumb.
Elsewhere, Ashington are at home to full-strength Shotley Bridge, while Newcastle City are looking to build on their success over Lintz when they go to Annfield Plain.
TOMORROW’S FIXTURES (second XI reversed): Division A1 – Ashington v Shotley Bridge, Annfield Plain v Newcastle City, Leadgate v Sacriston, Lintz v Swalwell, Morpeth v Percy Main, Tynedale v Benwell and Walbottle. Division A2: Burnopfield v Backworth, Consett v Lanchester, Ryton v Ponteland, Seaton Burn v Greenside, Whickham v Alnwick.