Durham Cricket League: Baldwin spins sad City into submission as Castle Eden replace Dawdon in pole position

Houghton batsman Matthew Lovett in action against Seaham  Park. Picture by David Wood
Houghton batsman Matthew Lovett in action against Seaham Park. Picture by David Wood
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It was a case of back to the future on Saturday as the hot potato that constitutes the leadership of the top flight was passed on once more, with Castle Eden returning to the top.

It is only a fortnight or so since the Castle drawbridge was lowered alarmingly by Mainsforth, and it says much for their spirit that they have been able to bounce back so strongly.

Saturday’s convincing 92-run victory at Durham City, who themselves led the rankings just nine days ago, rounding off their comeback in style.

There were a number of kings of the Castle in a solid all-round batting performance that saw the visitors post a total of 191, South African Aat Lindeque top-scoring with 43, and it was the same story with the ball as a five-pronged visiting attack all contributed as the depleted Durham side capitulated for 99 in 32.1 overs.

Spinner Dan Baldwin took the late honours as his 3.1 overs saw him claim three wickets without conceding a run.

Castle Eden unseated Dawdon at the top, the former leaders being held to a home draw by Philadelphia, who pocketed the major share of the spoils in their seventh stalemate of the summer.

It could have been so different at Green Drive but for the intervention of Shaun Hauxwell.

He cracked 10 fours and four sixes in an innings of 76 as Phili set a 49-over marker of 234-5, but Dawdon looked well on the way to another success as Stephen Gale (71 from 92 balls) and Ryan Consitt (80 from 85 balls) shared a second wicket stand of 140.

Hauxwell then stepped forward as third change bowler and, in just nine overs, took a magnificent haul of 6-35 to leave the hosts gasping for breath on 196-9.

In the clash of the draw specialists, Esh Winning successfully chased down a Horden target of 146, skipper Dave Lawlor (60) no doubt delighted to see his team rise to joint second, just two points behind the new leaders.

Horden, beaten for only the second time all season were all out for 146, despite good knocks from Lee Jackson (51) and Wayne Birks (46), with Jamie Greenwood making 20. Carl Watson and Lewis Broom both struck early in Esh’s reply, with Adam Dixon taking three wickets, but Esh proved too strong.

Esh remain unbeaten, and so do Mainsforth, but only just as they nearly failed to defend a 45-over declared total of 269-6 at Bill Quay, where Berwick Hall’s 77-ball century almost did the trick for the home team, who finished on 263-7 from 49 overs.

Boldon CA continue to struggle desperately, their latest heavy defeat coming at the hands of Easington.

Dave Tarn, with 11 fours and three sixes in his outstanding knock of 101, led the run fest as his side posted 200-3 in 36.4 overs and promptly declared. CA’s response lasted 24.1 overs, Vinit Dhulap (4-17) and Jordan Wilson (4-10) filling their wicket-taking boots as the home team slumped to 38 all out.