ON a day when Kimblesworth reinforced their title credentials by establishing a 24-point lead at the top of the table, the race to avoid the wooden spoon hotted up significantly.
There are just eight points now separating the bottom four clubs.
Philadelphia are in that struggling group after being soundly spanked by Kimblesworth, who turned on a display suggesting their more experienced challengers are going to have to do something dramatic if they’re to stop the new boys winning the title at their very first attempt.
Paul Craig hit an unbeaten century for the top dogs and with Michael Fishwick adding a good-looking 49, Kimbles set their hosts a daunting 240 to win.
But Phili were blown away for just 89 by Stephen Meek (5-48) and Mark Woodhead (5-32), the comprehensive defeat starting to ring alarm bells at Bunker Hill as they are now just four points above bottom club Durham City.
Castle Eden turned in perhaps the most remarkable effort of the day, rattling up a club record 302-3 at Whitburn thanks to superb displays from Dean Langridge (158no) and Keith Bailey (108).
The pair shared a third wicket stand of 187 before Bailey fell after hitting nine fours and seven sixes, but Langridge then took over, making all but three of the unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 85 as his club recorded their DSL best.
He set an individual record after smashing 21 fours and two sixes.
A shellshocked Whitburn were then put on the rack by Habib Qureshi (5-48) and Jude Dinushan (4-55), but at least they found their own batting hero in Lee Henderson, as without his 104 the home team would have stood little chance of avoiding defeat as they closed on 181-9.
Eppleton dumped Felling back in the mire at the foot of the table.
The win, which moved Eppleton into a clear second, was achieved after David Wilkinson and Dave Kennedy shared six wickets as Felling were bowled out for 182 and then Kyle Davis (85no) and Shaun Bradbury (42) powered them to a seven-wicket success with the minimum of fuss.
Durham City gave Boldon a scare as they came within 10 runs of a shock win over the champions.
It took a late unbeaten 52 from number eight Michael Bittlestone to rescue Boldon as Danielle Hazell picked up three wickets for City. Set 213 to win, Durham started well with an opening stand between Mike Elliott (49) and Jake McCann (51).
Subhan Christudas (36) and Adam Sixsmith (31) then continued the momentum and a City win seemed assured until Graham Fox (5-48) struck the crucial blows which stopped the visitors in their tracks on 203-7.
In the day’s other games, South Hetton (231-5) were held by Norton (174-6) and Burnmoor (144-9) couldn’t find their way past Horden, despite bowling them out for 151.