TWO of the three remaining unbeaten records went to the wall on Saturday, and one of those in the most surprising result of the day as lowly Silksworth won for the very first time in the Durham Cricket League.
Philadelphia began the day with six wins and ten draws from their 16 matches, and with winless Silksworth visiting Bunker Hill they looked nailed on to add another victory to that tally.
And there was no reason to suspect that wouldn’t be the case as Phili raced along to a total of 208-3 before declaring early to give themselves plenty of time to bowl the Silks out.
Lee Innes was the main driving force, hitting 13 fours and two sixes on his way to a rapid 87, and with David Baxter including three sixes and six other boundaries in his 61 Phili looked firmly in the driving seat.
But Silksworth got runs out of all their top four to give themselves a real chance, Paul Bradford leading the chase with six fours and three sixes in his 58, and Paul Howe (38), Michael Nicholson (26) and Chris Pringle (21) all making vital contributions.
Stephen Robinson (3-49) and Dan Foggin (3-48) kept the home team interested, but it was to be Silksworth’s day as Ian Laverick’s late 19, allied to 32 extras, claimed a two- wicket victory for the ecstatic visitors.
Castle Eden were the other team losing their unblemished record.
The Castle’s defences were breached by in-form Horden who extended their own unbeaten run to 11 matches by knocking off a target of 195 with six wickets to spare as Adrian Hedley hit 93, although Castle will no doubt be considering the part they played in their own downfall as they conceded 41 extras.
That left just one team yet to taste defeat, and the way things are going it could be a while before that happens as high-flying Burnmoor continue to churn out the results.
Marsden were expected to present a threat, but it didn’t turn out that way as the table-toppers pulled off a routine victory after bowling their visitors out for just 106.
Ian Conn (6-32) and Brandon Scullard (3-22) rushed Marsden to their doom in just 28.4 overs, and then Dave Lowther ensured there would be no slip ups with an unbeaten 45 which included eight fours and a six.
That six-wicket win kept Burnmoor 20 points ahead of Esh Winning, who dumped Easington on the seat of their pants by bowling them out for just 36 runs.
Having earlier been set an apparently gettable target of 179-9, Easington’s collapse was all the more painful as Paul Chivers blew them away with a spell of 7-10.
With Castle Eden losing for the first time, and fourth-placed Easington crushed so convincingly, it now looks to be a straight two way shoot out between the Moor and Esh for the inaugural title as Saturday’s results left Castle in a distant third, trailing the leaders by 68 points with just eight games left to play.
Boldon CA have joined Horden as one of the form teams, their seventh consecutive victory coming at Whiteleas where the home team lost by six wickets to now make it ten games since their last success, a run which has seen hopes of a top 14 finish evaporate.
CA skipper Tommy Nixon (4-35) set up the victory as the hosts were bowled out for 138 in 42 overs.
Durham City are on the fringe of that crucial top 14 ‘cut’ after defeating Seaham Park by five wickets.
Park’s James Ferguson saw his chances of a century disappear when he was left high and dry on 98 not out when the overs ran out, and then he had the additional frustration of watching as City cruised to their win with almost nine overs to spare as Aussie Jake McCann cracked 14 boundaries in his 88
Run scoring was the order of the day elsewhere, and nowhere more so than at Kimblesworth where Stephen Meek (109 from 113 balls) and Paul Craig (104 from 107 balls) rattled the boundary boards 30 times between them in an opening stand of 212 against Langley Park. Set 289-4 the Park were closed down for just 63 as Meek proved anything but mild with 7-18.
Hylton hit the day’s highest total – 305-3 in 40 overs – against Ryhope as skipper Alan Mustard cracked 13 fours and five sixes in his 109, and fellow opener Chris Allan joined in the carnage with 14 fours and six sixes in 112.
But hosts Ryhope clung on at 213-9 as Dan Douglas (104) became the third centurion in the match.
Murton’s horrible run of form continued as they slumped to a seventh consecutive defeat at Dawdon, and their chances of making the top 14 have now all but gone.
John Sample’s half century was the one bright spot in Murton’s total of 169, but when they claimed six wickets with Dawdon not yet half way to their target it was a bitter pill when James Dent (37no) and Ant Watson (43no) pulled the rug from under them.