IT TURNED into a sensational Saturday as the two leaders began the double-header weekend with heavy defeats.
Hylton went into their home game against leaders Murton without a victory to their name, and they must have feared the worst when they were bowled out for 145 as Keith Chapman and Graeme Robson shared six wickets.
Andrew Kibble (36) and Stephen Lee-Merrington (35) did a good job for the hosts, and the value of their knocks became even more apparent as the Murton innings unfolded.
Chris Allan senior (3-19) did some early damage but then Owen Williamson took centre stage in a five-over spell in which he blew away all Murton resistance. He took five wickets for just five runs as Murton, skittled for 63, lost both the game and their unbeaten record.
Dawdon started the day in second spot and dreaming of title glory, but their trip to Easington turned into a nightmare as they collapsed for a meagre 48 in 25 overs.
Alistair Watson (4-9) and Andrew Price (4-18) ripped through them.
Dawdon did grab two quick wickets in reply but their hopes of an amazing comeback evaporated as Jason Moses (30no) took Easington above their defeated opponents and into second spot.
The most satisfied team amongst all this carnage was Seaham Park. Their match at Bill Quay had been called off due to a waterlogged ground so the defeats of the two sides above them at the start of play ensured they remained in close contention.
Silksworth moved into the top half of the table with a 50-run victory at Peterlee that featured an outstanding bowling performance.
Silks skipper Paul Smailes top scored with 34 as his side crawled to a 50-over total of 126-8, Andrew Laidler (4-17 in 11 overs) being the main cause of their problems.
Peterlee were then going along fine with opener Min Mahill making 37, but when he was bowled by Michael Kelly the floodgates opened and the home team were swept away. Kelly took six wickets for just eight runs to crush the home team who slumped to 76 all out.
Time was lost to the weather at Seaham Harbour (79-6) so ambitions were limited somewhat as Boldon CA (142-5) got the better of a draw.
Gary Frater batted superbly to notch an unbeaten 78 as the CA declared after 39 overs batting, and Carl Watson (5-31) soon dampened any home spirits as he made early strikes to leave Harbour in choppy waters and facing potential defeat on 25-6. Peter Hambleton (33no) then joined with Sean McKenna (12no) to steady the home boat and bat out 29 overs.
There was stalemate at Washington also, but that was of the nerve tingling variety as time ran out for Ryhope when they had reached 172-5 in reply to their hosts declared score of 175-6.
Lee Rushworth (62) and Adam Hickey (31) had been the keys to the home total, and then Connor Pearson (76) and Luke Anderson (54) looked to be winning the game for Ryhope until Pearson’s run out set them back.
* Yesterday, Murton were once again the only team to play and win ... with everyone else badly affected by the heavy rain.
Murton dusted themselves down from the Saturday setback and put on their Sunday best – with a nine-wicket home victory over Boldon CA to stay top of the heap.
John Sample (5-23) put the skids under Boldon by picking up the first five wickets to fall, and there was no way back from a position of 38-5 as Keith Chapman and Dave Hanson nipped in with two apiece, the visitors slumping to 66 all out. Skipper Hanson (35no) then joined with Aidan Vout (24no) to rush their team home inside 14 overs and leave CA pointless.
Every effort was made to get the game on at Ryhope, where Seaham Park were the visitors, but the elements were the only winner in the end.
A late start, then a long delay for rain, gave some urgency to Seaham’s innings and they racked up a rapid 153-4 in 25 overs before promptly declaring. Kamran Mansoor hit six fours and three sixes in his top scoring 57, joining with Alan Anderson (52 in 40 balls) in an opening stand of 97. Dale Shaw (30 in 28 balls) then added his belligerent support.
At least Mickey Thorpe enjoyed his day for Ryhope – he took all the wickets to fall, and then made 32 before being out just as a clap of thunder sent the players scurrying from the pitch for the last time with the home team on 47-1 after 9.4 overs.
On yet another day dominated by the weather, the other four matches all failed to start, this particularly galling for Easington who had powered their way to within eight points of Murton on Saturday night only to see the rain halt their exciting progress and leave them 23 points adrift in second place at the exact half way point of the season.