There was a little bit of madness thrown into the midsummer’s day Division One programme yesterday.
But, with five of the six games ending in stalemate, there wasn’t too much movement in the league table from Saturday night, with Dawdon not only hanging on to the top spot but increasing their lead over second-placed Castle Eden to 11 points after a high-scoring draw against Hylton.
Dawdon looked to have put the game out of reach of their visitors when they piled on 286-8 in just 38 overs, a declaration giving Hylton 57 overs to chase the mammoth target. And chase it they very nearly did, scoring 284-9.
John Leslie blasted 15 fours and five sixes in a thrilling 125 not out for Dawdon. Stephen Gale (44) and Ryan Consitt (41) were the other major contributors as the leaders gave themselves every chance of forcing a result.
But Hylton gave the run chase a real go, on-form captain Alan Mustard (12 fours in 67) and Stevie Lee Merrington (eight fours and a six in 67) leading the charge which looked like succeeding until Consitt (3-28) intervened with three cheap wickets and the final over saw two run-outs which effectively ended Hylton hopes of a major shock.
There was almost a replica of that game at Crook where the home team were set a target of 227-8 by Bill Quay following half-centuries from Jeff Tudor, Berwick Hall and Usman Malvi, but, with only 41 overs to get them in, Town slipped to 124-4 before Neil Pratt (82 not out) and Anthony Burgess (55no) took their team to the brink of success on 226-4 before time ran out.
Castle Eden found hosts Horden in uncompromising mood, the home team scoring 201-7 in 47 overs, and then reducing their visitors to 142-8 in 45 as Carl Watson grabbed 3-18 in 10 overs, rounding off a good personal day after he had earlier scored an unbeaten 42.
Philadelphia skipper Shaun Smith hit a century as his side got the better of a draw with Durham City, and Lee Hutton also went into the ton up club as he scored 103 not out for Mainsforth as they hammered Boldon CA to move within striking distance of the top three.
The first part of the weekend’s double header saw Dawdon go back to the top of Division One following their victory over the leaders at the start of play, Durham City.
Half an hour’s playing time was lost which left City under some time pressures, but, with Kevin Sukumar cracking 11 fours and a six in a brisk 61-ball 62, Durham managed to reach 200-9 in the 40th over at which point they declared. John Leslie (3-46), Mark Ewart (3-52) and Hasib Yacoob (3-15) shared the wickets between them in the Dawdon attack.
The visitors made their intentions in the run chase clear from the start as Alan Anderson (42) shared an opening stand of 90 with his skipper Stephen Gale, the captain then going on to hit 12 fours and a six on his way to another century, his 102 coming from 118 balls.
There was till time pressure to negotiate, but Leslie settled things emphatically as he blasted 38 not out from 26 balls to take Dawdon back to the summit with a five wicket win.
Castle Eden, one of the four different teams to temporarily occupy first place in the last three weeks, regained their pride following the drubbing at Mainsforth, with a 60-run victory at Easington where their hosts were bowled out for 103 in 39 overs.
Ryan Ball (4-17) applied the finishing touches, but it was skipper Kevin Bailey who took the main plaudits, adding a couple of wickets to his half century which, along with James Brown (43 not out), rescued Castle from some early problems and took them to the relative safety of 163-6.
Horden and Philadelphia ended honours even in a closely fought tussle, Steve Wright bagging 6-32 to help bowl out the home team for 151, but then newly arrived Indian pro Akshay Jambhekar almost becoming an instant hero as his five wickets left Phili 11 short, and just two wickets standing.
Boldon CA were on the receiving end once more, losing by 122 runs at Crook, while Hylton, 221-7 with half centuries from Ben Taylor and Gary Braithwaite, had to settle for a draw at Bill Quay (142-5).