IMAGINE your ‘noisy neighbours’ turning up on your doorstep uninvited.
The town is set for its first ever Premier League cricket derby as long-time top flight big boys Hartlepool play host to newly-promoted Seaton (start 1pm).
Seaton have played second fiddle for decades but are now in the same division and they have strengthened their squad with professional Sanjay Rodrigo, from Sri Lanka, and the return of two of their own youth products, Danny Evans and Stuart Lobb.
Teenage opener, and newly-crowned Hartlepool Sports Personality of the Year Paul Braithwaite said: “It’s going to be like the Manchester derby and I think we are the noisy neighbours.
“We are coming to try to cause an upset.
“They will be favourites because they are experienced in that league.
“We are a very young team with a few older heads, like Danny Evans who has played first-class cricket.
“It’s going to be a good day. It’s a bank holiday and there are going to he a lot of people going to Park Drive.”
While Seaton would love to upset the odds on Monday, their overall goal is a simple one – top flight consolidation.
And they will be looking to do it with local talent.
“We are all club lads apart from Sanjay and we have a good set up at the club.
“We are just above the relegation zone and our aim is to stay in the Premier League
“We are fighting for every point.”
Paul’s dad, and Seaton treasurer, Andy believes the seasiders are well placed to push for win at Park Drive.
“All the pressure is in on Hartlepool,” he said.
“They are at home and they will be expected to win.
“On paper the teams are evenly matched. We go there expecting to get a result.
“We have the attack to bowl them out and knowing what it takes to win in the Premier League.
“A lot of the players have been at the club since juniors so it’s a massive game for them.”
Pool skipper Marc Symington admits it is a challenge for his club to maintain the town crown.
He told SportMail: “We’ve always been the team in the top league and we have to work hard to ensure we remain the town’s best team.
“But there’s no undue pressure on us.
“People will see grassroots sport at its best on Monday and there’s no better place to watch local cricket than Park Drive.”
Symington has called on his team to turn double figures scores with the bat into three figure digits.
“When we get to 60 and 70 we need to push on,” he added.
“We’ve done well with the ball and we’re getting good scores with the bat – we have talent all the way down the line-up.
“But there haven’t been many high scorers, above 100s, in the league yet.
“The wickets haven’t been batting- friendly but with the weather changing I think we will see the big scores come out.”