At least 720 minutes of rugby may still have to be played, but West Hartlepool surely have one foot in National Three (North).
West won the big North One East title showdown in a Brinkburn mudbath to reclaim top spot from Percy Park.
Kevan Oliphant, Tim Sawyer and Stuart Hardy’s side are now two points in front and, armed with a game in hand, will take some stopping – especially if they keep displaying the same determination and intensity they showed in this match.
It may have been a low-scorer, but they were always in the driving seat – even if for so long only a a sixth-minute Gareth Foreman penalty looked like being the difference between the two table-toppers.
But Anth Carr settled any nerves and settled the destination of the four points when he bulldozed his way over from 10 metres five minutes from time.
The try – converted superbly from wide on the left by Gareth Foreman – not only sealed the victory, but ensured Percy Park did not get a losing bonus point.
West: C Cheslin, Thomas, Watson, G Robinson, A Cheslin, G Foreman, A Foreman, Carr, Bailey, Coates, T Dixon, Davies (A Dixon 58), D Boatman, J Boatman, Stockdale. Subs (not used) Stead, Moss
Try: Carr 75. Con: G Foreman 75. Pen: G Foreman 6
Penalties awarded 13, kicked 1, missed 1; line-outs won 14; scrums won 18 (one against head)
Percy Park: Smith, Stock (Baker 79), Firth, Griffiths, Blair, Shaw, Scott, Wafer, Andrew Dunn, Purdy (Blakey 48), C Fidler, Langlands, Williamson (A Fidler 79), Anthony Dunn, Ponton.
Penalties awarded 5, kicked 0, missed 0; line-outs won 7; scrums won 14
Referee: Paul Candlish (Durham)
Sin-bin: J Boatman, Langlands (both 28)