IN one more act of supreme irony, the weather had the last laugh yet again when all yesterday’s Warmseal Durham Senior League games ended up being abandoned.
The fixture list had been lifted from June 16, when there had been a complete washout, but a weather front swept the region at midday to leave clubs totally exasperated.
The matches at Philadelphia, where Kimblesworth were due to play, Whitburn, where Horden were the visitors, and Durham City, where Norton were due, failed to make it to the starting gate, while the game at Felling saw just three overs of action with the home club on 4-0 against Marsden when the heavens opened again.
South Hetton were in a strong position when their game against Boldon came to an abrupt end. John Leslie had the visitors in trouble on 54-5 after a fine opening burst in which he took out the first four batsmen at a personal cost of just 25 runs, and with John Pendlington picking up the other wicket to fall the home team were in the ascendancy.
Title hopefuls Castle Eden were the most disappointed of all the teams as they saw their dreams turn into a nightmare when they were only able to gather five points from their abandonment at Eppleton.
In a game that didn’t start until 3pm, Castle found themselves in dire straits in the opening exchanges as Joe Dodd (2-28) and David Wilkinson (1-29) had them rocking on 4-3. But skipper John Spellman (16no) and Keith Bailey (39no) were doing a fine salvage job and had taken their team up to 57-3 when the final destructive downpour hit.
With one of their two games in hand disappearing down the drains with the rainwater, Castle ended the double weekend still 46 points adrift of Burnmoor.
The weekend could not have started much better for Burnmoor, who had a thumping 91-run victory at Bunker Hill which left defeated Philadelphia stranded on the foot of the table.
The Moor blasted their way to 225-3 in 44.5 overs and then promptly declared, the master blaster himself, Jimmy Daley, blazing 11 fours and three sixes in a rapid 78 as he shared a century opening stand with Mark Robson (58). David Lowther then added the final flourish with four sixes and four fours in an unbeaten half century.
Phili looked determined to dig in when they responded, but once Aussie Rob Johnston had gone for 36 resistance evaporated in the face of the twin threat of Brandon Scullard (3-31) and Ian Conn (4-46) and the home team slid to 134 all out in the 28th over.
Castle Eden did everything they possibly could to emulate the leaders, rattling up 226-5 in just 44 overs and then having Norton on 129-9 before time was called after 45 second innings overs. Phil Winpenny was the batting inspiration, stroking 18 boundaries in a superb 93, and when Jude Dinushan (3-38) and Ryan Ball (3-11) sliced through the home team Castle came within tantalising sight of the winning line.
Whitburn’s tv stars were at it again, Stuart Walker and Neil Ayre sharing another stupendous partnership that propelled their side to a nine wicket thumping of hosts Kimblesworth.
Kimblesworth looked in charge of a game that saw them record an impressive 234-8, with Jonny Green smashing five fours and four sixes in a throbbing 72 and Craig Burke not far behind in the boundary stakes with 66.
But Walker and Ayre then launched a counter offensive with an opening stand of 149 that meant there would be only one outcome, victory eventually sealed after just 43 overs. Ayre hit eight fours and two sixes before being caught for 75, but Walker just went on and on, six sixes and 11 other boundaries illuminating his unbeaten 109 as Ross Carty (42no) joined him in the closing ceremonies.
Marsden gained some welcome relief when they knocked off 200 runs against Eppleton, victory lifting them off the foot of the table. It was a job for a man and the home team had two of them after Kyle Davis returned from holiday to crack a century for the visitors. Colin Mann picked up three of the four Eppleton wickets to fall and then handed over to dad Chris (90) who played a real captain’s knock to secure a six wicket success.
Horden extended their unbeaten run to nine games and came within a whisker of making it six wins in that sequence, only to be thwarted by South Hetton’s last pair.
Masood Mirza headlined with 67 as the home team notched up 225-9, and he looked like playing a major role with the ball as well as his three wickets edged Hetton to the brink. But even though Adam Dixon (3-21) and Gary Ward (2-9) bowled well the visitors managed to cling on at 102-9.
Boldon and Durham also shared a draw. Jake McCann fell for 98 as City recorded 234-6, and Nick Sampson-Barnes (57) then helped Boldon make it to 200-6 before stumps were drawn on Saturday night.