DAWDON jumped from one end of the table to the other as they hammered strugglers Boldon CA by 10 wickets in the only First Division to beat the bad weather on Saturday.
The inevitable delayed start, following the heavy rains of the morning, reduced the contest to a maximum 65 overs.
BoldonCA laboured their way through 35 of those before their final wicket fell with just 89 on the board.
Close-season Dawdon signing Richard Ede (2-26), along with fellow opener David Coates (2-12), laid down an early marker in bowler-friendly conditions, and then John Leslie took out the middle-order in a 13-over stint which saw him return figures of four for 33.
There was brief hope when the visitors reached 36-2, but then the last eight wickets fell for the addition of just 53 more runs.
Only Jordan Patterson was able to resist for any length of time, stoically keeping the home attack at bay while wickets fell at the other end.
He remained unbeaten with four boundaries in his 36 when the innings ended.
The run chase was done and dusted in just 14.2 overs as skipper Stephen Gale (six fours in 28 not out) kept Alan Anderson company as they rushed their side to victory without mishap, Anderson bringing up his half century along with the win, his 52 not out including nine fours and one six.
And it’s amazing what 30 points can do – particularly when none of the rest get more than five!
The victory lifted Dawdon to 42, enabling them to draw level with Durham City at the summit, but for Boldon they might have been wishing they had been rained off after their zero return left them five worse off than everyone else.
Remarkably, out of the 18 scheduled matches in Division One since the season began, just three have generated a definite result, but there has been a little more action in the second tier.
Two games managed to survive on Saturday, and there were important victories for Seaham Park and Ryhope which pushed both of them into promotion contention.
A reduced overs game at Ryhope saw the home team triumph by 58 runs against Houghton.
John Errington was the match-winner for the home side as he bagged seven wickets as the visitors floundered in a frenetic run chase in which nine batsmen were either bowled or lbw.
Victory enabled Ryhope to draw level with Marsden at the summit, and Seaham Park are just two points further back in third, and with a crucial game in hand.
Seaham were inserted by hosts Marsden after a 30-minute delay in proceedings. They crawled through almost 45 overs in very difficult batting conditions before declaring with nine wickets down to try and maximise their points return in the event they could defend the modest total of 90 they had painstakingly put together.
John Sample was limpet-like, proving almost immovable as he faced 119 balls in making a crucial 35 runs, a tally that did not include any boundaries, while, for Marsden Stephen Neilson excelled in his 10 overs, picking up three wickets for just 10 runs.
But if the Park batters had found it tough, Marsden found it even more of a struggle against an incisive three-pronged attack. Alex Ludlow (3-21), Siddharth Chitnis (3-19) and Bradley Robinson (3-4) ripped the heart out of the home innings as Marsden collapsed to 64 all out in 27.4 overs.