Seaham Park and Burnopfield both won again in Division Two to remain firmly on course for the promotion places.
But Park came within a whisker of defeat as they somehow scraped past hosts Peterlee with just two runs to spare.
A half-century from Chris Allan and 41 from James Taylor were the main contributions in the Seaham innings of 157 from 46.4 overs, but when Aaron Shellie (49 from 38 balls) and Dan Craig (79 from 98 balls) were together in a second-wicket partnership of substance defeat looked a near certainty for the table-toppers.
But Craig’s departure heralded an almighty collapse, Peterlee’s last eight batsmen mustering just eight runs between them as Alex Ludlow (4-48), Thomas Ferguson (3-16) and Dave Hanson (2-1) grasped victory from the jaws of defeat.
A fifth successive win by Burnopfield enhanced their prospects, with Silksworth beaten by 191 runs.
Callum Thorp thrashed 85 from 37 balls and, with Gareth Breese hitting 10 boundaries in his 69, the home team posted 226-6 in just 38 overs – after Silksworth made a stunning start to reduce their opponents to 11-3.
Michael Waterson and Stuart Middlemiss both struck twice for Silksworth.
James Radcliffe then blasted out the Wearsiders for a paltry 35 with a burst of six wickets for 12 runs.
Murton piled on the agony for bottom club Houghton, Chris Winn cracking 20 fours and a six in a 104-ball 122 as the home team amassed a 38-over score of 226-8, Dean Brewster adding 33, Keith Chapman 20 and Aidan Vout 19, and then Michael Coulthard took 5-31 as the 10-man visitors were bowled out for 71, Winn and Alistair Watson both striking twice.
Houghton had two wickets apiece from Niki Lawson, Kean and Adam McDonald.
Steven Neilson’s 12-over spell of 5-12 was too much for Littletown, Marsden winning by 108 runs after the visitors were bowled out for 94, while Ryhope secured a three-wicket home win over Whiteleas.
Josh Dick’s magbificent burst of five wickets for nine runs, backed by three Michael Thorpe strikes, proving the difference for Ryhope.
Dylan Buckthorp (54), John Minnis (36), Alex Catcherside (28) and Dick (22) led Ryhope.
Evenwood inflicted a 16th defeat on Langley Park (121).