ON A day of weather-induced despair for many, there was delight for Dawdon as they toppled Esh Winning to bounce back to the top of the Readers Durham Cricket League First Division.
With Burnmoor’s home game against Crook washed out, along with two other top-flight games, Dawdon did not waste their opportunity as John Leslie turned in an inspired one-man show to unseat one of the fancied title-chasers.
Leslie joined the Green Drive club in the close-season from South Hetton, and he is certainly proving to be a great acquisition for the club.
He was introduced to the Esh action after the home team had compiled a steady start to stand on 30-0.
Sixteen overs later they were 77 all out, with Leslie grabbing 6-21 and David Coates 3-12.
But the hosts had eaten up 47 overs in getting those runs after a delayed start, and, with other rain interruptions a feature of the stop-start afternoon, the concern was that all the good work would go to waste.
With the skies darkening once more, there was a need for urgency in the Dawdon run chase, but two ducks, the cricketing kind not the feathered ones, set them back immediately.
Not to fear – it was Leslie’s day, and, once he arrived at the crease, he blasted five fours and four sixes to rush Dawdon to a seven-wicket win inside 16 overs.
The Welfare’s hero closed with a brilliant 54 not out.
Mainsforth were the only other side to eke out victory, their success coming in a game where more than an hour was lost to the weather.
This reduced the match equation to 37-33 in terms of the overs allocated, and hosts Mainsforth found batting a struggle against an accurate Hylton attack in which James Waller (4-41) and John Stokoe (3-12) caused plenty of problems.
The home team were indebted to Mohammed Nawaz (55 from 81 balls) and Gary Cummings (36 from 73 balls) for getting them up to a semi-decent total of 126-9.
The value of their contributions became increasingly evident as Hylton failed to get a real foothold in the run chase as wickets fell regularly.
Martin Lower (4-27) and Cummings (4-39) turned the screws and the visitors’ challenge ended when they were all out for 98 in the 29th over.
The overs equation at Horden was 42-37 after the start was delayed, but an opening stand of 63 between Lee Gilbert (46 from 57 balls) and Wayne Birks (41 from 42 balls) gave the home team a great start, and they went on to make 173-9 from 38.4 overs before calling a halt against Marsden.
After that, the visitors did not show too much appetite for the chase, and, after losing early wickets, they batted through 30 overs to end on 57-5, opener Connor Elliott providing a broad bat with an unbeaten 31 scored from 98 balls.
The only other First Division match to see some action was at Bunker Hill where Philadelphia had made it to 69-3 before a torrential downpour ended any chance of more play.
Shaun Hauxwell (33) and Lee Innes (25 not out) at least managed to drag some personal satisfaction out of the truncated proceedings.