ESH Winning emerged as the major threat to the promotion ambitions of the clubs ahead of them when a thrashing of Crook Town earned them maximum points.
A couple of days earlier Esh had been boosted by the news that their outstanding game at Boldon CA would be played later in the season rather than be counted as a draw.
That gave extra purpose to their efforts at the Town, and the win took them to within nine points of a top two slot.
Jalat Khan was the allround star of the Esh success, cracking five fours and four sixes on his way to a 56-ball 70, and then taking 3-6 in 5.3 overs. John Hodgson joined Khan in the run spree, hitting 3 fours and 4 sixes in a 50-ball 67 as Esh recorded 224-7 before declaring after 45 overs, and then Ryan Moralee (4-12 from 10 overs) did the early damage before Khan wiped out the tail to skittle the home team for 69.
Meanwhile Burnmoor owed a debt of gratitude to Owen Lancaster. After losing six wickets cheaply Lancaster rebuilt the Moor’s innings, his unbeaten 60 being primarily responsible for the leaders scrambling up to 143-8 in 48 overs, and then with hosts Easington challenging that target, Lancaster claimed five wickets for 12 runs in 8.2 match defining overs.
Dawdon’s downfall came at Mainsforth where the home team enjoyed the best of starts as their top three batters piled on the runs. Martin Lower (55), Gary Cummings (42) and Mohammed Nawaz (55 from 53 balls) ensured the hosts could post a challenging 196-8, and then Lower (4-17) and Nawaz (3-32) combined once more to leave Dawdon deflated on 107 all out.
Castle Eden’s performance against Tudhoe was even more comprehensive, Dean Langridge’s half century giving the home team the confidence to pile on 213-5 in 46 overs, and then Richard Ede (5-10) blowing the visitors away for 79 in 21.3 overs.
At the other end of the table Hylton’s win lifted them out of the bottom two. Meanwhile Marsden bowled out Evenwood out for 111.
B oldon CA r em a i ne d unbeaten as they defeated Horden by five wickets, with Shashank Singh the main man again.