TWO powerful performances kept Burnmoor and Castle Eden hot on the trail of leaders Esh Winning, both teams winning their games by the identically comprehensive margin of 124 runs.
Openers Jimmy Daley and Mark Robson set the tone for the Moor in their home game against Langley Park, sharing a century opening partnership before the master blaster fell for 67 after hitting ten boundaries.
Robson continued to anchor the home innings and when the declaration came after 43.4 overs on 204-3 he had made an unbeaten 81.
Langley then found batting an altogether different proposition, and after Brandon Scullard struck four early blows it was left to Gary Brown to formally register his renunciation of retirement, which he did in a more emphatic way than even Frank Sinatra, by blowing away the rest of Park’s resistance in claiming four wickets for just five runs.
Castle Eden’s home success over Peterlee was set up by Kamran Shah, who hit 62 from 76 balls, and Phil Thornton, who made 42 from just 31 as the Castle registered 180-5 before declaring.
Only one Peterlee batsman then managed double figures as Jude Dinushan (6-22 from nine overs) and Richard Ede (3-30) rammed home Castle’s superiority with the visitors slumping to 56 all out.
Ryhope’s trip to Esh Winning didn’t go well. They found themselves chasing leather as Esh rattled up a score of 238-4 in just 39 overs, overseas ‘pro’ Jalat Khan providing the fireworks with seven sixes in his 32-ball 63.
He then grabbed 3-10 to leave Ryhope grounded for just 104 as Esh recorded a massive 134-run success to stay 15 points clear of Burnmoor.
Seaham Park found it tough going at Marsden, James Taylor top scoring with five boundaries in his 37 in a modest Park total of 129.
The home skipper, Chris Mann, currently enjoying a golden period of form, then added 80 more runs to his burgeoning aggregate to secure a six-wicket win that lifted the unbeaten side up to fourth.
Along with Marsden, Philadelphia are one of six teams who remain unbeaten eight games into the season, their latest victims being Boldon CA.
Boldon were doing reasonably well at 74-3, Anthony Brown making 40 from 83 balls faced, but a sudden collapse saw them lose their last seven wickets for 20 runs to end on 94 all out. Stephen Robinson bowled 10 overs, six of which were maidens, to return 4-9, and Peter Greenwell hastened CA’s demise with 4-14.
Phili’s run chase wasn’t entirely trouble-free, but David Baxter’s cool head saw them home in only 21.1 overs, the number three bat hitting nine boundaries in an undefeated 49 as Phili moved up two places to fifth.
Whiteleas crashed to a heavy home defeat, Ushaw Moor their conquerors after an 88-ball 94 from Ul Hassan set a 50-over target of 186 that Leas got nowhere near.
Bottom club Silksworth showed real fighting spirit to get the better of a draw against Horden, a half century from David Nield and three wickets from Stephen Wright the stand-out performances.