THE top two sides both won to stay ahead of the chasing pack on a day of outstanding individual performances throughout the Warmseal Durham Senior League.
But, in contrasting performances, table-topping Burnmoor were back in the bar celebrating by mid-afternoon while Castle Eden had to wait until the very last moments before they could breath a huge sigh of relief.
Moor’s Ian Conn was first up for special mention, his unplayable 5.2-over spell in which he claimed six Norton wickets for just two runs saw the hapless visitors routed for a miserable 44.
Victory was a formality for Burnmoor as Jimmy Daley took just 30 balls to hit his unbeaten 36 and rush his team to a 10-wicket win.
Castle Eden had an altogether more fretful day, although things started well enough against Boldon as Indian Swaru Purkayastha crashed an unbeaten 111, hitting 16 boundaries. Skipper John Spellman added 68 as Castle declared on 236-5 after 49.3 overs.
Boldon, though, looked on course for an upset as Chris Ellison crashed 10 fours and four sixes in a scintillating 79, while James Coyne added a breezy 48.
With victory in sight, the visitors fell away badly, though, and when Richard Ede trapped Phil Shakespeare leg before Castle Eden had pulled a five-run victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Even better, they picked up 30 priceless points to lop five off Moor’s lead.
As individual performances go, none was better than Felling’s Paul Leonard, who hit an unbeaten 118 to enable his side to declare on 233-3. He returned to haunt Kimblesworth with a five-wicket haul that undermined a strong reply, led by Stephen Meek (80), and the 10-man visitors were bowled out for 201.
England women’s international Danni Hazell bagged 5-12 in 4.2 deadly overs for Durham City to send Marsden spiralling to a 113-run defeat.
Earlier, Kyle Armstrong hit an 85-ball 84 to help power City to a declaration on 228-8 before Hazell followed up Mark Woodhead’s (3-45) early strikes.
There was no stage fright from Whitburn as they basked in their day in the TV spotlight with a 10-wicket mauling of Philadelphia.
Shaun Hauxwell made light of his hand injury with seven fours and two sixes in a bright half-century, but, with Neil Johnson and Craig Smith sharing six wickets, Phili could only post 175.
Whitburn openers Stuart Walker and Neil Ayre then took the starring roles in a dramatic production which will be seen during the Lord’s Test match. Walker cracked 15 fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 114, while Ayre hit 52 not out as the hosts brought the curtain down in just 26.3 overs.
Horden’s fine run was brought to a grinding halt by Eppleton, who felt that being asked to chase down a formidable 264 in just 35 overs was not a viable proposition.
Masood Mirza top-scored with 13 boundaries in his unbeaten 90, while David Wilkinson’s six wickets in 15 overs came at a cost of 90 runs.
Mirza then rounded off his own day with 2-15, but Eppleton could not be tempted to part from the script which saw them close out on 110-5.