Just one team managed to win on Saturday in the 3D Sports Durham Coast League, but it was a victory of real significance as Seaham Harbour came back from the dead to secure a spine tingling success over title rivals Bill Quay.
It was a nightmare day for batsmen at the Harbour, with 20 wickets crashing, while a paltry 123 runs were scored, and when the home team were shot out for 70 their goose looked well and truly cooked.
Dave Brown had been the destroyer in chief, sending down 12 overs, six of which were maidens, and picking up outstanding figures of 5-17, and with Mark Cuskeran helping out with 3-24 only three home batsmen managed to make it into double figures.
But as it turned out that was two more than the Quay had as they were skittled for 53.
Anthony Watson blasted them out in a torrid 10 over burst that saw him collect eight wickets for just 25 runs. Peter Hambleton picked up the other two to fall on his return to the side and shell-shocked Quay were beaten by 17 runs.
Even better for the Harbour was that the victory was a 25-pointer, and with everyone else engaged in stalemates the result wicket on their own ground enabled them to open up a 25 point lead with just nine games left to go.
Closest rivals in both league and geographical terms, Seaham Park, were totally frustrated by the turn of the events as their game at Easington became the main casualty of the weather.
But at least they could console themselves with the fact that they would have had to work extremely hard to get anything from the match after Ryan Higgins (71) and Brian Fenwick snr (36no) had rescued Easington and pushed them on to a score of 198-7 before the rains came.
Elsewhere there were a series of matches in which the team batting second were clinging on with their last pair at the wicket.
Hylton were one of the lucky ones, standing on 142-9 in reply to Silksworth’s 182, after Steve Wright (5-30) had undermined their run chase. Paul Bradford’s 80 included 10 fours and a six as Silksworth set up the challenge.
Murton (156-9) made a good fist of their home match against Washington (175-6) and deserved to come out of it with a draw. James Watson (4-26) and Graeme Robson (46) played a big role in earning their side some welcome points.
Boldon CA must be wondering if their title is slipping away after clinging desperately to a draw at Dawdon – the eighth time in the last nine outings they have failed to win.
The match was lit up by Stephen Gale’s superb innings of 125 in which he included 11 fours and three sixes, but set 202 to win, Boldon limped to 139-9 in the 39 overs available to them.
In the day’s final game Peterlee earned a deserved draw, making 194-7 in 41 overs after hosts Ryhope had clocked up 230-5 in 49.
Mickey Thorpe hit 11 fours and two sixes in a breezy 72 for the hosts, but Peterlee had several contributors to thank and with a little more time could have caused an upset.
H Sacriston’s title hopes in the NTSL were dealt a severe blow when their game at Lanchester was washed out without a ball being bowled, while Swalwell managed to squeeze a full game in and move clear at the top.