South Shields return to league action this weekend after the adverse weather caused last weekend’s scheduled game at home to Yarm to be postponed, with a tough trip to fellow promotion chasing Houghton.
Shields will be hoping for a repeat of their victory over Houghton earlier in the season, which saw Shields leap frog Houghton to the top of Durham/Northumberland Three league table.
Shields have sat at the top ever since their November 41-28 win at Harton, and a victory will further extend their lead at the top.
However, defeat will blow the promotion race wide open with South Shields, Houghton, Blyth and Seaton Carew both still looking at going up.
The away side have won their last 13 league games and won’t be looking for that run to end tomorrow, but Houghton will surely have other ideas.
The side will be without a host of key players including Gareth Carey, James Pocklington and Conor Deacon.
Martin Bengston is also struggling with a back problem and could miss out.
A number of players impressed last time out at Wallsend, with Daniel Simpson, James Long and Deacon Wallace all proving the decision to promote from the Second XV was the correct one. All three could be included once again.
Jared Deacon and Gary Bates could continue their impressive partnership at No9 and No10, while Clayton Fox could be used in the centre, a position he has played most of the season.
The forwards could see Mark Tallintire return to the starting XV, while Jordan Wright could start at No3. Jonathan Walker has recovered from a hamstring problem and could also be included.
The game will kick off at the new time of 3pm at Houghton’s Dairy Lane ground (DH4 5BW).
South Shields Mariners also return to league action when they host Novos Centurions tomorrow in the River Coquet league.
The game will kick off at 2.30pm and will be played on the 3G pitch at Harton Sports Centre.