It was dry and the sun shone as youngsters dragging cricket bags much bigger than they left the area surrounding the Durham County Cricket ground at Chester le Street.
The walk around the headquarters of Durham County Football Association was pleasant and at 3pm Chester le Street rugby club kicked off against Prudhoe and Stocksfield in what was probably the latters biggest game of the season.
In recent weeks the home side had moved up the table and the evidence of the game at Stocksfield was that they were one of the few sides in the league that would attempt to play expansive rugby almost to the point of matching P&S.
The first fifteen minutes were even with the home side pressing into the P&S 22metre area whilst the visitors simply held their line and absorbed the pressure.
The home side were clearly confident and whilst there looked to be some quality players they did not have enough to hold P&S. A bit of a lazy ball and Andy Oliver was able to pick the ball up and comfortably outpaced the Chester right winger who could only watch as Andy sped down the line outstripping the covering players to score the first P&S try of the day.
The game resumed with Chester again moving forward, although unable to gain sufficient ground to threaten the P&S line they did gain a penalty. The kick was missed and the match relocated to the Chester le Street half. Chris Russell
missed a penalty as P&S slowly moved into the ascendency. In the forwards the Chester le Street front row were having a torrid time. The tight head prop was stood up on every occasion and was clearly relieved when he was eventually allowed to leave the field.
P&S were working hard and Chester le Street were giving their everything to stay in touch however a series of penalties within ten metres eventually took their toll and Fraser Davidson crashed over for the first forward try for several games.
The lead further increased just prior to half time when another good scrum enabled the ball to be passed out at speed and Steve Rogers to score try three and give the league leaders a 17-0 lead at the break.
The second half was completely dominated by P&S. Although they took nearly ten minutes to score again it was more about the scrappy dogged defending of the home side.
It was a somewhat fortuitous try as Matty Bewick
looked to have the ball taken from him as he went over the line. It was however only a matter of time before P&S scored another try that there could be no doubt about. In a purple match there were three tries in five minutes. The first was a matter of good angles and pace as Andy Oliver went over for his second try. Mikey Brown
then produced a little bit of magic as he took a quick penalty and glanced up to see Robbie Fergus
all alone on the right wing. The cross kick was perfect and P&S were 36 points up.
Try seven was a Chris Russell
drive and step through a crowded but demoralised opposition.
The last fifteen minutes were an opportunity to ensure all the substitutes were used and the last one on was Michael Skoyles
who took less than a minute to score try number eight.
This was a comprehensive victory and sufficient to grant Ginge Wills his birthday wish – a good win with a bonus point that ensured P&S will be promoted.
For the band of loyal supporters, mums, dads, girlfriends and friends who have travelled to every game this was a game worthy of a table topping team.
The last two games of the season are at home and should P&S win them and gain bonus points then they will be champions. Seaham have three games left and would need three wins with three bonus points to match the total number of points P&S would have but with a current deficit of some 80 points it is virtually a mathematical impossibility for them to catch P&S.
The penultimate game of the league season against Jarrovians kicks off at 3pm at Stocksfield Sportsfield on 31st.