Rain ruins day for frustrated North side

THE rain hit several games in the Foster’s Durham Senior League and while the two title contenders came out of the afternoon with the same points return, it was Burnmoor who were the happier on Saturday night with their 24-point lead intact and four games left to play.

THE rain hit several games in the Foster’s Durham Senior League and while the two title contenders came out of the afternoon with the same points return, it was Burnmoor who were the happier on Saturday night with their 24-point lead intact and four games left to play.

South Hetton hit a useful-looking 177 and Burnmoor found themselves two wickets down almost immediately. But with the game evenly balanced as the home team stood on 29-2 the weather closed in.

Whitburn were off to a great start at Philadelphia and hit 201-6. Phili then showed that it was not going to be one-way traffic and had progressed to 56-2 when the closure came.

At the other end of the table Seaham Harbour were going great guns when the rain hit against Horden while their rivals for bottom spot, Felling looked to have wrapped up a win when they routed visitors Marsden for just 76. However, they were on 27-7 before the weather handed merciful relief to the batsmen.

Third-placed Boldon were given a run for their money before scraping home by three wickets against hosts Durham City and Eppleton pulled off a victory at home to Hetton Lyons by knocking off 203 to win by three wickets.

There were more weather woes in the 3D Durham Coast League with all four scheduled matches finishing in draws. With Murton not having a game they were the only ones smiling on Saturday night.

Leaders Castle Eden knew they faced a tough encounter at home to Boldon CA and so it proved with skipper Gary Critchley batting beautifully for the visitors as he carried his bat for 72.

Washington looked in control of their home game with Dawdon when the rain came and Seaham Park also looked well set at one stage of their home game with Easington.

Silksworth’s hopes were even more severely affected than the rest with their match at Ryhope called off without a ball being bowled which left them level with Boldon in second. While both have a game in hand on the leaders the 35-point gap may now be too much to make up with just a few games remaining.

With the whole Foster’s NTSL programme rescheduled for Bank Holiday Monday, Tynedale had hoped to have the place to themselves for their Foster’s Trophy Final against Leadgate but the showpiece game didn’t see the light of day.

The rain also had a big say in proceedings in The Three Counties Northumberland League with only one game managing to reach a conclusion in the Premier Division. And what a vital game it proved to be as it gave leaders Cowgate a massive shoulder up in their bid for the championship.

Alnmouth harboured their own title ambitions a few weeks ago and when Tom Vickers (30) and R Tudor (45) were together in a third wicket stand it looked as though they were going to take their side to a commanding score.

But a late-order rout left them with 127 to show for their efforts. Cowgate got away to a good start and then K Mansoor took charge with an unbeaten 61 that handed the leaders a six-wicket victory and 22 invaluable points – 10 more than any other side on the rain ravaged day.

Just seven days earlier Stocksfield had been odds on favourites for the title.

But their match at Belsay, an almost nailed-on win in normal circumstances, was the only one not to see a ball bowled and left them with only an outside chance of honours. Blue Flames now look to be Cowgate’s only realistic challengers.

They hit 259-3 and had Warkworth at 10-2, before the rains started to halt their march to seemingly victory.

Chopwell found Corbridge in resilient mood and the nine points they took from the game means they are now 23 adrift of the leaders with just four to play.

With Belsay relegated, interest at the bottom now revolves around Clara Vale’s last ditch efforts to escape the drop, but the writing appears to be on the wall despite a heavily-depleted side putting up a spirited show at Blyth before the weather intervened.

In Division One Civil Service conceded their home match with Bates Cottages which gift-wrapped the 22 points for the leaders which assured them of promotion. Bedlington look best placed to accompany them.

CHRIS WEST

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