Only three of yesterday’s six bank holiday matches took place as the rains swept into the region for the umpteenth time this summer to put a major dampener on Castle Eden’s title ambitions.
With Burnmoor sitting out the programme once again the chance was there for Castle to make a sizeable hole in their lead, but despite doing everything they possibly could to squeeze a win out of their home clash with Eppleton it was not to be as they ended up being beaten by the elements.
Nearly three hours of playing time had been lost when Castle eventually opened their innings in bowler friendly conditions, something that Joe Dodd made maximum use of in his 15 over stint in which he bagged a return of 6-59.
A battling 31 from Dean Langridge, accompanied by a belligerent half century from Richard Ede which included 3 sixes and 3 other boundaries, took the home team up to 158-8 in just 30 overs, a declaration then laying the gauntlet down to the visitors.
Eppleton’s run chase just never got going against the twin threat of Jude Dinushan and Alan Unsworth, the pair sending down 19 of the 28 overs bowled and picking up 3-29 and 4-41 respectively.
This potency handed the home team the chance of an unlikely victory, but even with two overs at the last pair they couldn’t take the final and decisive wicket and had to settle for 11 draw points as Eppleton clung on at 100-9.
The return left Castle Eden still some 35 points behind Burnmoor, and with both sides having now played the same number of games, and just three matches left to play, it will take a major bout of self combustion for the Moor to miss out on another title.
Felling’s fading title hopes were blown apart at Marsden where the struggling home side put on one of their best displays of the summer to win by three wickets.
A half century from Richard Smith, accompanied by 30 from Paul Leonard, took third-placed Felling up to a 37-over total of 150-7, but Marsden skipper Chris Mann then hit 5 boundaries in his top scoring 36 which gave his team the solid start they needed to push for the victory which duly arrived from the second ball of the 41st over.
In the only other game played, Durham City gave a good account of themselves at Norton, only to be thwarted by a stubborn home side determined not to lose.
City had Aussie Nick Hobson to mainly thank for posting a challenging score of 203-8 in 54 overs, his 66 representing a classy effort that was a major part of pushing Durham up to their total.
Matthew Thomas and Ben Hall then each collected scores of 37, but with Paul Moralee proving to be in top class form with his six wickets for 31 runs, it was the Teessiders who were left gasping for breath on 125-8 after 35 overs.