ON a day of tit-for-tat, Murton came out smiling as their nine-point lead at the top of the 3D Durham Coast League table remained intact.
Dawdon’s game of catch-up had an imposing feel about it as they polished off third-placed Easington to gain revenge for their only defeat this season. But that earlier loss could still prove the pivotal point of the summer as, despite picking up a maximum points haul, the title hopefuls are now dependant on Murton slipping up at Boldon next Saturday.
Dawdon rattled up 204-4 before declaring after the first ball of the 41st over when Shoaib Akhtar reached his century. He cracked nine fours and four sixes in a superb display, his undefeated ton coming from just 98 balls faced.
Two immediate strikes by David Coates then had Easington reeling, and even though David Tarn (41) did his best to hold his side together Liam Cowell (4-12) ended all hope with the visitors losing five wickets to lbw decisions as they crumbled for 111.
Murton did all they had to do in their home game against Hylton. Lee Gilbert hit 8 fours and a six in his 52, and with Aiden Vout (37) providing solid support the home team finished with 190-7 from 45 overs.
Hylton were then immediately in the wars with the loss of two early wickets, and with John Sample (5-34) and skipper Davey Hanson (4-28) turning the screws they were skittled for 83 in just 22 overs, the 107-run defeat tough on Darren Walton who added 32 runs to his earlier three wickets.
The only other winners on the penultimate day of the season were Seaham Harbour, who had four wickets to spare as they brought Boldon CA’s recent run of success to a juddering halt.
Boldon just never got going against a five-pronged Harbour attack in which everyone enjoyed some success, Jack Lacey (4-39) headlining. Set just 137 to win Seaham sailed in after a powerful second wicket partnership between Andrew Stephenson (35) and Stuart Pattison (43) paved the way to success.
Silksworth and Peterlee played out a draw, but for a time it held out the intriguing possibility of the visitors winning their first game of the whole campaign.
Paul Bradford cracked five sixes in a breezy 57, and with skipper Paul Smailes (37no) also in form the Silks rattled up 170-6 before laying down a challenge by declaring after just 35 overs. Peterlee looked to be on course for a shock when Harry Garraghan (46) and Glen Riddle (34) were sharing centre stage, but it was nearly exit right when Billy Hedgeley bagged four wickets in 12 overs to leave the dungeon dwellers clinging on at 154-9.
There were runs aplenty at Ryhope – but no result. Washington powered to 235-5 in 50 overs, Stephen Cuthbertson hitting 11 fours and a six in his 93, but then Luke Henderson bit back with five sixes included amongst his 82 runs which helped the home team up to 184-4 in 41 overs.
The day’s other game was scheduled to be a clash between Seaham Park and Bill Quay but the ground unfit after midweek downpours and the Park was closed for the day.