Durham Cricket League: Singh's the big star as Philadelphia maintain impressive start with victory over Horden
After just three games of the new Durham Cricket League season only two teams remain undefeated, and only two teams remain without a win.
It suggests that the competition is likely to be intense as the campaign unfolds.
Philadelphia seem to have found a gem in Indian all-rounder Armajeet Singh, and he was once again instrumental as Phili stopped Horden in their tracks with a seven-wicket Bunker Hill battering.
Singh took 4-30 from his 12 overs as Horden, indebted to Lee Jackson’s 41-ball 56, were bowled out for 153, and then he joined with Peter Greenwell (49 not out in 72 balls) in an impressive match-winning unbroken stand that received the wow factor when Singh blasted 39 from 20 balls.
Phili remained in third, but are now just four points behind Easington, who were unable to defend a total of 241-6 at Crook.
Tariq Aziz carried his bat for an immaculate 126, backed by Dane Wilson (43), but he was powerless to stop Aussie Tearon Gleeson turn the early-season form book upside down as his 96 not out handed Crook their first win.
Gary Wood grabbed 3-55.
Early leaders Burnopfield are looking strong.
With outstanding players such as Gareth Breese, Callum Thorp and Neil Killeen on their books they look more than capable of maintaining a blistering start that has seen them take maximum points in all three games to open up a 28-point gap over second-placed Easington.
Their latest success came at Bill Quay who are one of the teams yet to win, and as such find themselves in the bottom two.
The usual suspects played major roles, with runs from Killeen and Thorp, and wickets from Breese and Killeen. Quay put up some plucky resistance but ended up beaten by 62 runs.
Durham City are now up amongst the leading sides after overwhelming a Hylton side who look to have a season-long relegation battle on their hands.
City didn’t lose a wicket in gliding effortlessly to 215 in 42 overs, Jonny Harding hitting six boundaries on his way to 80, and Jake McCann cracking 14 fours and two sixes in a 135-ball knock of 121 that ended with the declaration.
Hylton then put up some resistance, Liam Foster (33) and John Stokoe (42) their cheerleaders, but a three-pronged attack of Andrew Hutchinson (4-28), Ian Conn (3-30) and Danni Hazell (3-38) set up a routine 84-run win.
Dawdon received a rude awakening at Castle Eden, where they amazingly lost by 32 runs after bowling their hosts out for a meagre 86.
Anthony Watson (4-31) and David Coates (3-15) led the strike force, but they had to cede the man-of-the-match honours to Castle’s Dan Baldwin. The spinner sent down 9.2 overs, conceding just eight runs, and bagging six wickets as devasted Dawdon were downed for 54.
How long is a week in cricket? Just seven days after a humbling derby defeat at the hands of Dawdon, Seaham Park were much the happier of the two clubs on Saturday night after they toppled champions Esh Winning while their neighbours were suffering.
Siddharth Chitnis is back in town and firing on all cylinders, his nine-over spell of 5-21, along with Omar Shahid’s 4-24, did for Esh who were routed for 73 in 28.4 overs.
Park suffered one or two batting traumas of their own, but a dogged 31 from 56 balls from John Sample provided enough glue to cement a four wicket victory.