GREAT work from the groundstaff to beat the effects of Saturday’s rain at Dawdon and Easington proved extremely effective.
The two home sides secured victories to move them both to within striking distance of the top of the 3D Sports Durham Coast League.
It was the third Seaham derby of the “summer” at Dawdon, but it certainly wasn’t a close encounter of the third kind as the home team turned on the style to hammer neighbours Seaham Harbour by 114 runs.
The day started well enough for Harbour as two early strikes had Dawdon struggling on 2-2, but opener Arjun Purewal (32) dug in to support Shoaib Akhtar, who put on a masterful display which took his side into a dominant position.
Akhtar cracked 15 fours and a six in his 92, which came from just 95 balls, and with Amar Purewal (24no) adding a late flourish, the hosts decided they had enough on the board when they secured their fourth batting point and promptly declared on 176-8 after 40.1 overs.
And Akhtar was not finished for the day, a relatively sedate opening to the Harbour innings being shaken when he came into the attack and blasted out four top-order batsmen in quick succession to complete a fine all-round show with nine-over figures of 4-18.
With Amar Purewal (2-12) and Mark Ewart (4-18) also providing a cutting edge, Harbour sank to a dismal 62 all out inside 27 overs.
Dawdon’s bonus was that they picked up 25 crucial points which moved them into second place in the table, just 12 points behind the marooned Murton.
With Easington’s victory also lifting them to within 23 points of the table-toppers the title race is now wide open.
Bill Quay travelled with a depleted side and their hosts showed little mercy as they bowled them out for 113 inside 41 overs.
Berwick Hall (28) and Dan Pearson (28) put up some stubborn resistance in a third-wicket partnership, but once they had gone there was little else left with the last five batsmen failing to register a single run between them.
All five Easington bowlers got their name in the wicket-taking column, with Jordan Wilson (3-22), Michael Robson (2-7) and Andrew Price (2-30) heading the potent attack.
With rain threatening, Easington did not hang around in the run chase, David Tarn cracking two sixes and a four in a rapid 31, scored in an opening partnership of 57 with Ben Wicling.
Wicling then took up the cudgels, stroking eight fours and two sixes in his 53, before Jordan Wilson finished the job with an unbeaten 20 as Easington won by seven wickets. Sam Wraith picked up the three wickets to fall, conceding 39 runs from his five overs.
With Easington and Dawdon now firmly in title contention, the scene is well and truly set for their head to head this Saturday – weather permitting!
The remaining four games failed to get started.