Burnmoor egde closer to crown

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IT had to happen!

The full Warmseal Durham Senior League programme lifted from the opening day of the season when all matches were washed out was hit by the thunder storms rattling around the region yesterday with only one match completed and the rest relegated to weather affected draws.

The big game at Burnmoor turned into something of an odyssey as the heavily-interrupted first innings of Castle Eden lasted until ten minutes past seven when the visitors declared on 126-9 leaving Burnmoor to face four overs before stumps were drawn for the day.

Castle faced almost six hours of torture after their innings was rocked by a scintillating opening burst by South African Brandon Scullard who struck four early blows.

After that shock Richard Ede then had to rebuild with a patient 30, but with Scullard ending his 15-over stint with figures of 5-30 and Ian Conn picking up 3-36, also in 15 overs, Castle eventually limped to their total in 52 overs at the crease.

The four overs Burnmoor then faced took them to 3-0, but they could at least reflect on the fact they picked up three more points than Castle to increase their lead at the top of the table to 40.

South Hetton were the only team enjoying their day – they travelled to Teesside and found the weather being kind to them, something that could not be said of Hetton towards their opponents Norton.

Hetton rattled up 225-5 in just 42 overs, Vishal Sahni enjoying his best innings for the club with nine fours and a six in his 88. With John Leslie cracking 7 fours and 2 sixes in a rapid half century the visitors were in complete control at the interval, and in even firmer control after it when they shot their hosts out for just 39 in 18 overs.

John Pendlington (6-14) and Leslie (4-23) provided the sharpest of cutting edges.

Durham City had cause to curse more than most – they had hosts Whitburn floundering on 59-5 after Mark Woodhead struck three times, but 15 overs in the thunder storm struck. Philadelphia made it to 39-1 against Boldon before retiring to their bunkers.

The other two games, in which Felling were hosting Eppleton and Kimblesworth were due to meet Marsden, never got out of the starting blocks.

On Saturday, Burnmoor and Castle Eden both won. And both earned 20 points for their identical seven-wicket victories.

On paper, the Moor’s task was the harder of the two as it involved a tussle with in-form Whitburn, while the Castle had to overcome bottom club Marsden to stay in touch.

Whitburn were under the spell of the Moor’s attack from the off, and only some late resilience saw them reach semi respectability on 125. Their last three men put on 56 of those runs which followed the only other contribution of note from Lee Henderson (35) as Brandon Scullard and Ian Conn shared six wickets. Michael Robson and Gary Brown gave vital support as they grabbed the other four.

A couple of early successes for Peter Marshall then raised the visitor’s hopes, but Matthew Sampson-Barnes swept those aside with an assured innings of 67 not out which included 11 boundaries and eased Moor to their win.

Marsden were faring quite well at one time as Patrick Jackson (33) and Paul Carr (45) seemed to be getting to grips with the Castle Eden bowlers, but then Swaru Purkayastha swept away their resistance with a 14 over spell in which he picked up 5-39 and Castle needed 152 to win. This turned into a formality when Phil Winpenny (10 fours and a six in 63) and Dean Langridge (12 fours in 64) opened out with a first wicket partnership worth 125 runs.

Felling proved too strong for Philadelphia, their 114-run victory at Bunker Hill enabling them to chop 10 points off the advantage that the two teams above them held. Danny Clark, their leading run scorer, hit 96 in Felling’s total of 227-5, and with only Adam McGuire (38) resisting, Paul Leonard (5-35) and Chris Goudie (4-26) swept through the home line-up as Phili slumped to 113 all out.

Horden made it six wins out of their last seven starts when they easily overcame the challenge of Durham City.

Over an hour was lost to the rain in this match but City couldn’t make use of that fact as they were dismissed for just 111. Matthew Whaley hit 43 from 81 balls, but received scant support as Adam Dixon (5-24) and Masood Mirza (3-30) dominated, and then Horden had the game won inside 23 overs as nearly everyone contributed to their six wicket win.

Norton and Boldon shared 434 runs at Station Road – exactly. The two sides were so evenly matched that they couldn’t be separated at the final whistle, Boldon ending on 217-8 in response to Norton’s 217 all out.

Jon Kean cracked 11 fours and two sixes in an impressive 101 for the Teessiders, but four wickets for Phil Shakespeare, and three for Michael Bittlestone, kept Boldon in with a shout, and with Michael Walker’s half century infusing Boldon with hope the last over arrived with five needed to win and three wickets standing. When Shakespeare’s book was closed by a run out for 28 off the penultimate ball, it left two needed for victory, a scrambled bye the only outcome as the scores finished level.

In Saturday’s final game South Hetton went down by 45 runs at Kimblesworth who were inspired by the all-round efforts of Stephen Meek (57 and 6-53).