South Shields travel to Hartlepool this weekend looking to continue their fantastic start to the new season.
Both teams find themselves in the top four with maximum points.
Shields – formerly South Tyneside College – and Hartlepool were relegated from the league above in May and will feel they can push for an automatic return to Durham/Northumberland Two.
The Old Friarage, the home of Hartlepool BBOB, is one of the most intimidating grounds with a partisan crowd guaranteed which roars its side on.
However, Shields have had a solid week of training, including a session with the Newcastle Falcons on Tuesday, which has put the Hedworth Hall-sponsored side in a good place.
Shields haven’t won at the Old Friarage under head coach Tom Brooks, and will be without key personnel. Martin Bengston and Alex Wylie are missing from the pack, as is ex-Hartlepool BBOB player Matty Thornton.
Ian Arkley is also unavailable however new boy Sam Crosby returns after a trip to Eastern Europe.
Mark Higgins is also included in the 20-man match squad with Grant Borrill, Brad Richmond and Kristian Summerside also in-line for First XV call ups. Aaron Arkley could return after missing last weekend’s derby victory over Jarrovians with a slight knock picked up on the opening day of the season.
South Shields Mariners are in action with North Shields the visitors to Grosvenor Road. Shields have signed nine players this week with students Matty Chaganis, Connor Moir and Andy James likely to make their club debuts.