Purkayastha’s an all-round success for new leaders

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CASTLE EDEN’S glorious start to the Warmseal Durham Senior League season continued over the weekend, and with other results going their way they now hold an imposing 35 point lead at the top of the table with a game in hand on all their nearest challengers.

They took over the lead on Saturday when they handed out a comprehensive thrashing to Marsden to leapfrog former leaders Felling.

Newly-arrived professional, Indian Swaru Purkayastha, enhanced his reputation further with an outstanding display. He had already impressed the Castle faithful in his two opening games, but a brilliant 96 followed by a return of 4-14 with the ball ensured his new team picked up a maximum points haul.

He had good support from skipper John Spellman (76no) as the Castle piled on 239-3 before declaring immediately after Purkayastha fell just short of a century, and despite Marsden’s overseas man Mirza Baig making 60 the all-round power of the home attack proved too much as the kings of the Castle secured a 78-run win to go 14 points clear.

Boldon yesterday became the latest to feel the power of the kings of the Castle as the new hero Purkayastha turned on the style once more.

The visitors looked as though they could be struggling after being bowled out for a modest 147, Phil Shakespeare the key home bowler with 3-35.

But Boldon collapsed for the second day in succession as Purkayastha proved unplayable in a spell of 6-20.

With Alan Unsworth once again on song with 3-13 the hapless home team were skittled for 81 to suffer a 66 run defeat. The loss took Boldon into the bottom three, but for Castle it was win number five from five outings.

Whitburn have turned their season around in two glorious days.

They handed out an impressive nine-wicket thumping of Burnmoor on Saturday.

South African Brandon Scullard earned his corn for the Moor as he lofted four sixes in an unbeaten half century, and with Martin Thursfield (43no) and Paul Davidson (40) also in form their side’s total of 209-6 looked to be a good base from which to launch a victory charge.

But the home side batted with confidence to brush aside the challenge in great style. Stuart Walker laid the foundation with an opening 61 that included 11 boundaries, and then Ross Carty (62no) and Lee Henderson (68no) finished with a flourish to leave Burnmoor soundly beaten.

Yesterday, they sealed a five-wicket win at Philadelphia.

Craig Smith picked up four wickets as Phili struggled to 171 all out in 54 overs, and then Stuart Walker got to work with the bat, cracking 14 fours and two sixes in a match-winning 93.

Burnmoor bounced back from their Whitburn woes yesterday with a convincing seven-wicket victory on Teesside where hosts Norton were bowled out for 111, Paul Davidson collecting 3-31.

Jimmy Daley then grafted carefully for an unbeaten 64 after the loss of three early wickets, and Davidson ended a fine personal all-round effort with 30 not out to accompany Daley past the winning post.

Felling’s fall from the top of the ladder followed a home draw against Philadelphia on Saturday.

They used up the full 55 overs in posting 202-5, Chris Goudie (77no) and Paul Leonard (51) the main contributors, but Aussie Rob Johnston then made a half century for Phili and with Sean Hauxwell (49) providing stability at the top of the order the visitors settled for honours even as they closed on 182-7 from 43 overs.

Former leaders Felling slipped further back in the title race as they went down by two wickets at Kimblesworth.

Chris Goudie (45) and Mike Malthouse (31) helped lift Felling to a score of 145, and they looked in control when they then reduced their hosts to 119-8 after a four wicket burst from Ant Trotter.

But Adam Tinnion (20no), who had earlier taken three wickets, held his nerve in a match winning ninth wicket stand of 27 that shattered Felling’s hopes.

Norton handed out the shock of the day on Saturday, winning at Boldon by nine wickets.

The loss of three early wickets drained confidence and the home team crumbled to 99 all out, a total the Teessiders passed with some ease.

Horden’s early season fire has subsided and they couldn’t finish off hosts Durham City after setting a target of 182 with Palav Kumar notching a half century.

City were on the ropes when the first six batsmen mustered just eight runs between them, but Phil Parker (47no) and Jonny Middleton (29) came to the rescue in superbly defiant style and Durham eventually held on comfortably at 126-7.

Kimblesworth secured their first win of the season when they hammered hosts South Hetton by seven wickets.

Robbie Atherton was the only Hetton batsman to prosper, hitting seven fours and a six in his 41, but with Aussie Steven Tombsett bagging 4-20 in 11 overs, and Kevin Dixon Jr picking up 3-11, the home team were back in the pavilion for just 81.

Stephen Meek then cracked a quick-fire 40 to set the title-holders on the way to victory off the first ball of the 25th over.

Yesterday’s other two games ended in draws, with Horden (240-8 in 55 overs) being held by Eppleton (150-8 in 36 overs), and Durham (250-5) unable to dispose of Marsden (154-7).