WITH the rash of August league fixtures now either completed or washed out, most clubs face a three-match September climax to the last ever Warmseal Durham Senior League season.
The bank holiday weekend proved to be a desperately damp squib, with every game being washed out on Saturday, and another three biting the dust, or should that be mud, on Monday afternoon.
And of the three that survived it was a case of teams trying to engineer a result from a much-reduced match format, which only Marsden managed to do after making the most of a fairly generous declaration by Felling.
That result killed off any Felling ambitions of a late charge for the title, even though Castle Eden were also thwarted by the weather when a three-hour chunk was taken out of their match against Eppleton.
The fact that Eppleton’s last pair survived the final two overs to deny Castle Eden their win bonus left Burnmoor with a robust 35-point lead going into the final three games.
Moor begin their run-in with a home match against fourth-placed Horden, who have only lost twice this summer.
Apart from Owen Lancaster, whose football commitments will keep him out of Moor’s remaining commitments, the leaders expect to be at full strength in the final weeks, with a match at Marsden following the Horden game, and the curtain coming down at home to Boldon.
Whatever happens, Castle Eden can look back on an excellent season in which they took on the bigger guns and came up trumps on most occasions in their best ever campaign.
They have everyone available for the last hurrah, beginning with a trip to South Hetton, followed by a home game against Felling, and ending at Whitburn.
South Hetton bring in seam bowler Stephen Massey for Dan Stewart in their only change.
Elsewhere it’s mostly about pride with very little else to play for.
The teams are set to go their separate ways in a couple of weeks time when several join the new North East Premier League Second Division and the rest enter the new Durham League.
Philadelphia sit out this week’s programme, which means they are likely to end up even more adrift in bottom place than their current deficit of 28 points.
Boldon have to reckon without Neil Mulvaney and Phil Shakespeare for their match at Felling, who are able to include Chris Pleasants.
Eppleton miss Craig Scurr when they entertain Durham City, while unchanged Kimblesworth take on Norton, and it’s two in and two out for Marsden as Peter Burn and Patrick Jackson replace Paul Casssell and Ryan Dowens when they travel to Whitburn, who have Paul Cook returning.
The final of the inter-league Nicholson and Morgan Under-21 Cup will be played at Whitburn on Sunday (1.30pm start), with the Senior League taking on the Durham Coast League. Eppleton’s Kyle Davis captains the side.
SENIOR LEAGUE TEAM: Kyle Davis, Joe Kennedy (both Eppleton), Chris Goudie (Felling), Stephen Neilson, James Sneller (both Marsden), Lee Henderson (Whitburn), Matthew Sampson-Barnes, Owen Lancaster (both Burnmoor), Michael Bittlestone, James Coyne, Nick Sampson-Barnes (all Boldon).