IN a day of highlights in the Readers Durham County League, a sensational batting display by Langley Park and a vital victory for Willington stood out.
However, topping the lot was a brilliant performance by Brandon as they recorded their fourth consecutive victory to go clear at the top of the table.
Stephen Ball was class personified as he carried his bat through the Brandon innings to finish with 136 not out.
With youngster Lewis Newby adding a half-century, it looked like the home team had batted Evenwood out of the match.
So it proved, the visitors being sent crashing to their first defeat of the campaign by 77 runs, Jamie Robinson picking up four wickets for the table- toppers.
Crook were fancied to be among the title challengers this time around.
However, Willington had too much power for them, pinning them to a score of 148-5 in 45 overs and then winning with seven wickets and 11 overs to spare, Aaron Proud leading the chase with an unbeaten 53.
Marsden just could not contain Langley Park who put on an 324-4 first up, Chris Winn smashing 122.
Brother Jamie then picked up four wickets, and even though Ryan Dowens hit a century for Marsden they were 115 runs short.
The other individual star of the day was Tudhoe’s West Indian Shawn Findlay, with seven wickets and 33 runs in his side’s two-wicket victory over Ushaw Moor, while Esh Winning trounced Etherley by ten wickets and Mainsforth defeated Shildon by 87 runs.
With rain about in the 3d Sports Durham Coast League again four of the six matches ended in stalemate, so Boldon CA’s win at Murton put them top of the table.
It was a relatively routine effort from the champions as they pegged the home team back to 152-7 before David Tate (48) anchored the winning reply, CA victorious by four wickets.
The day’s other winners were Seaham Harbour – and what a win as it came against fierce local rivals Seaham Park. Peter Hambleton’s sensational spell of 5-16 effectively ended the contest, the Park closed down for just 80 and Harbour coasting home by eight wickets.
A super game of cricket at Ryhope ended all square, and rightly so as neither side deserved to lose.
Bill Quay recovered from a dreadful start to log a score of 219, thanks mainly to number eight bat Neil Cuskeran (91).
However, the home side very nearly pulled off a great victory before having to settle for a share of the spoils on 216-7 after Chris Lawrence (73) had given them the perfect opening.
In the day’s other highlights, Silksworth skipper Paul Smailes hit a ton in his side’s draw at Dawdon and 15-year-old James Thompson fell just five runs short of a century for Washington.
The Durham Senior League double- header witnessed only two wins on Saturday, Boldon beating Felling by seven wickets and Eppleton toppling Burnmoor by the same margin.
Nick Sampson-Barnes was the boy for Boldon, four wickets and an unbeaten 72 proving too good for a below-par Felling, who dropped to the foot of the table following their third consecutive defeat.
Eppleton run machine Graham Hoban’s season stats stood at 268 not out after another unbeaten knock, this time worth 68, ensured Eppleton’s first win of the campaign against a strangely lethargic Burnmoor.
Yesterday Eppleton added a second win of the weekend to pile more misery on Felling, who have now fallen 12 points behind the rest at the foot of the table.
Veteran Dave Kennedy took four wickets as Felling were held to 194.
Then his son Joe top-scored with 53 as Eppleton won by six wickets to leap up to third in the table, just four points behind Boldon who had to content themselves with a draw – and might even have lost at Durham in a high-scoring game.