A one man exhibition of brilliance propelled Dawdon back to the top of the First Division as they became one of only two teams to win in a curtailed top-flight programme.
John Leslie moved to Dawdon in the close season, and he proved a valuable acquisition when he almost single-handedly dismantled Esh Winning.
There was no hint of the problems lying in wait when hosts Esh eased their way to 30 without loss, but then the introduction of Leslie and David Coates to the attack turned the game on its head as all ten wickets crashed for the addition of 47 more runs.
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Coates picked up 3-12 in eight overs, while Leslie claimed six victims, five of which were either bowled or lbw, to end with figures of 6-21 from 8.3 overs. The Esh innings lasted 47 torturous overs.
With rain threatening it was advisable to get a move on in the run chase, and Leslie shrugged off two Dawdon ducks without a run on the board to blast five fours and four sixes on his way to an unbeaten 54 which rushed his team to a seven-wicket win inside 16 overs. The manner of their victory earned Dawdon 29 points, enough to power them back to the top of the table with Burnmoor washed out.
Mainsforth were the other side to eke out victory, their success coming in a game where more than an hour was lost to the weather. This reduced the match equation to 37-33 in terms of the overs allocated, and hosts Mainsforth found batting a struggle against an accurate Hylton attack in which James Waller (4-41) and John Stokoe (3-12) caused problems.
The home team were indebted to Mohammed Nawaz (55 from 81 balls) and Gary Cummings (36 from 73 balls) for getting them up to a semi-decent total of 126-9, and the value of their contributions became increasingly evident as Hylton failed to get a real foothold in the run chase as wickets fell regularly.
Martin Lower (4-27) and Cummings (4-39) turned the screws and the visitors challenge ended when they were all out for 98 in the 29th over.
Horden felt a little short changed by the weather after posting 173-9 on the back of 46 from Lee Gilbert and 41 from Wayne Birks who shared an opening stand of 63. Visitors Marsden didn’t show too much inclination to chase down the target after losing early wickets and batted through 30 overs to end on 57-5, opener Connor Elliott providing a broad bat with an unbeaten 31 scored from 98 balls.
In Division Two, Langley Park took full advantage every other game being abandoned, and the 27 points they took from their five-wicket win over Silksworth lifted them to the top of the table alongside Durham.
But the visitors were left to wonder where it went wrong as they looked in control of their own destiny for large chunks.
Micky Waterson played a real captain’s innings, his 79 included nine fours and two sixes and alongside Paul Howe (34) he helped Silks raise a more than respectable 42-over total of 166-7. Then, when Park lost their top five batters for a paltry 23 runs as Kieran Laws (3-15) struck, the contest looked as good as over.
But the Park burst dramatically into life, veteran Keith Smith joining skipper Jamie Winn in a glorious match winning stand that knocked the stuffing out of their opponents. The pair took the game away from the visitors in breathtaking style, a flurry of boundaries rushing the hosts to their five-wicket win with just two balls remaining. Winn hit eight fours and a six to end on 55 not out, while Smith cracked eight fours and six sixes in a fabulous unbeaten 77.