DAWDON cranked up the pressure on 3D Durham Coast League Murton, lopping another five points off their advantage to reduce the difference between the sides to just a solitary point.
Murton had the tougher game on paper, and so it proved as hosts Ryhope put up a decent showing. Micky Thorpe (67) gave the home team a solid start, and with runs throughout the order they put on 188-9, Jordan Vout returning the best figures in the Murton attack with 3-28.
The table-toppers needed a solid start, and they got one as Andrew Docherty opened up with a half century.
His opening partner, Dave Hanson, looked immovable at the other end, and even though he eventually fell for 69 the job was almost done, Jordan Vout adding the finishing touches to a six wicket win with an unbeaten 32.
The victory gave Murton 20 points, but Dawdon went five better as they notched up 175-8 in 44 overs, and then bowled hosts Bill Quay out for 95.
Skipper Stephen Gale led from the front with six fours and a six in his 54, and with Tabs Shah adding 32 Dawdon were able to overcome the menace of Berwick Hall who picked up 5-46 in his 12-over stint.
The Quay were then completely unlocked by Mark Ewart who sent them tumbling to defeat as he claimed seven wickets for just 18 runs in only 7.3 overs. Five ducks adorned the home innings as they were swept aside in 26.3 overs to leave Dawdon within touching distance of the league leadership.
Easington’s challenge faded when they went down by six wickets to a resurgent Boldon CA.
The third-placed team were bowled out for 128 as Carl Watson (3-42) and stand in skipper Dave Tate (4-18) did the business for Boldon. Tate then tapped out an unbeaten 52 to round off a fine individual display and secure a comfortable win for his side.
The other three matches failed to produce a result, with the rain making an unwelcome return at Seaham Park where the home team had just declared on 144-5 against Peterlee.
Darren Hickey put on a one man show for Washington in their home game with Silksworth, his flamboyant 93 making up a large proportion of the home team’s total of 166-4. The Silks never really got going in their truncated reply, closing out on 102-4, with skipper Paul Smailes top scoring on 28.
Hylton were bowled out for just 149 by Seaham Harbour as Peter Hambleton (3-37), Neville Gustard (4-40) and Stuart Lacey (2-26) combined effectively. Hylton skipper Chris Allan junior (34) and Ben Taylor (41) looked as though they could push on to bigger things, but in the end they had too many runs for the visitors anyway.
Seaham were in all sorts of bother when they replied, the first six batsmen mustering just 34 runs between them as Graham Shovelin (2-12) and Gavin Barnes (3-31) put them on the rack, but the fightback began through Michael Rich (19) before Jeff Laws brought all his experience to bare with an undefeated 32 from the number nine slot that saved his side, Harbour ending on a precarious 100-8.