WITH the 3D Durham Coast League front-runners slugging themselves to a standstill in their head-to-head, Dawdon made a significant move to cut the gap on the two teams above them.
An unbeaten century from Ryan Consitt, who hit 15 fours and two sixes, rushed Dawdon to a declaration on 241-7, and then Ryhope got off to a horrible start with both openers going for ducks.
The clatter of wickets contined apace with Luke Anderson standing magnificently alone.
Anderson hit 13 defiant boundaries and was 83 not out when the last of his partners fell, the next highest score being extras with 11 in a total of 130 - with five batsmen failing to trouble the scorers.
Shoaib Akhtar (4-24) and Amur Purewal (3-45) led the Dawdon assault that secured 25 points to cut the gap on the two teams above them.
Seaham Park got much the better of the clash of the heavyweights. Their total of 178 looked potentially vulnerable but Murton’s ambition didn’t extend beyond the draw, something starkly illustrated by the facts that Dave Hanson carried his bat through the innings to end on 20 not out, while Farukh Iqbal’s 12 overs included 10 maidens as he ended with figures of 1-2. Murton closed on 97-7.
There was a century for Seaham Harbour’s Stuart Pattison, but it wasn’t enough to stave off defeat at Easington where the home side successfully chased down a target of 181 to win with six wickets to spare.
Ben Wicling hit a masterful 76, which included 10 boundaries, to head up the home run chase, and despite three wickets for Peter Hambleton the result never looked in any doubt.
Bill Quay picked up their first win of the season as they beat Boldon CA by two wickets.
Jason Jones spared Boldon’s blushes after their first five batsmen were dismissed cheaply. Jones cracked a rapid 64, with 56 of those coming in boundaries, but the assault couldn’t spoil Micky Orridge’s figures as his 12 overs produced a return of 4-37.
Quay got the best of starts as Willie Gardner opened out with 59, and Jeff Tudor (25) and Chris Little (45) gave valuable support. But then wickets began to fall and it was a relieved home side that eventually crossed the finishing line with little to spare.
Washington kept in touch with the leading pack as they overcame Peterlee by 57 runs.
Stephen Cuthbertson (62), Tom Colledge (42) and Phil Hooper (41) racked up the runs at the top of the order and a declaration came once 200 was reached with just three wickets lost.
Jack Gaff then claimed 5-15 to settle the issue as Peterlee fell for a battling 143.
Hylton and Silksworth enjoyed a close contest after the home team were bowled out for 169. They made these in a rush, using up just 39 overs as skipper Chris Allan cracked 12 boundaries in his 65.
Billy Hedgeley, Steve Wright and Michael Waterson shared nine wickets in the Silks attack, and then brothers Craig (33) and David Nield (60no) nearly did enough to secure success as the visitors closed only nine runs away from victory on 161-5 after 44 overs.