DESPITE a Horden howler, Burnmoor remain on course to secure the last ever Warmseal Durham Senior League title after closest rivals Castle Eden passed up a golden opportunity following a frustrating day at South Hetton.
Horden have proved tricky opponents all season, and they handed out a six-wicket drubbing to the champions-elect that left the Moor with just two points to show for their afternoon’s work, but at the same time Castle were being held in check at Hetton where the home team ended the game just 14 runs from victory with seven wickets in the bank.
The problems for Burnmoor started when Adam Dixon was introduced to the Horden attack. He mesmerised the home batsmen in a superb 13 over spell which included seven maidens and earned him an impressive six wickets at a cost of just 13 runs. With Masood Mirza (3-26) also casting a spell at the other end Burnmoor were bundled out for 90.
Two early wickets then suggested the Moor could be merrier but Adrian Hedley (42) and Mirza (31) combined to end all hope and keep Burnmoor on tenterhooks.
Their anxiety would have been even greater if Castle Eden had picked up a win at South Hetton, but their day started badly when their first five batsmen mustered just 32 runs between them. That left Dean Langridge (29) and Alan Unsworth (46) with a major repair job on their hands which inevitably ate up time on a slow wicket, and though they succeeded in lifting Castle to 166-9, it took the full 55 overs to reach that total.
John Pendlington bowled superbly for Hetton, taking 3-13 from his 15 overs, and with Tony Murphy (3-39) lending support they looked to have given their team genuine hope of a shock result. But the loss of an immediate wicket seemed to stunt all home ambition and pro Vishal Sahni bedded down to bat through the 45 over reply.
Even the fact that Hetton reached a seemingly impregnable 127-2, as John Leslie (43) provided support, didn’t encourage them to go for the 40 runs needed to win from the last eight overs, and they closed out on 153-3 with Sahni unbeaten on 64. Castle’s meagre eight point return from the game means they are still 29 points adrift of Burnmoor with two to play.
Somebody once said it was a man’s world. But not Chris Mann – the Marsden skipper hit 11 boundaries in his 103 as his team totalled 187 in 50 overs at Whitburn, and then he took 3-16 in eight overs, but the home team still ran out winners by three wickets as Stuart Walker (4-49) and Lee Henderson (57) undid a Mann’s work.
In the day’s other games, Boldon picked up a welcome victory at Felling, only their fourth of the summer, guile being the key word as Chris Ellison (3-45) and Michael Bittlestone (5-30) mopped up, Eppleton and Durham City played out an uninspiring draw as end of season torpor took over, and Kimblesworth trounced Norton in a game featuring 460 runs that had an air of ‘schools out for summer’ about it.