By bowling out their opponents for just 60 and 80 in the double weekend programme, Murton took a firm grip on the leadership.

Following a delayed start they hurried to 180 for the loss of just one wicket in yesterday's game with Boldon as Richard Lowes carried his bat for 53 and Calvin Stephenson produced a wonderful innings of 93 not out which included no fewer than ten sixes.

Boldon were then despatched in just 23.2 overs for 60 as Joe Dodd claimed six wickets for 26 runs.

Peterlee slipped back in the race for the championship when they could only draw with Seaham Park who defiantly held on at 69-7 following 41 overs. When they made first use of the wicket Peterlee quickly hurried to 184 for the loss of one wicket in just 33 overs. Min Mahil struck 81 not out, Stuart Wilson ended unbeaten on 46 and Chris Ford added 52.

Murton made light of their task against fellow title-contenders Hylton on Saturday, who mustered just 80 all out as Calvin Stephenson claimed four wickets for only 22 runs and Keith Chapman took 3-20.

Peterlee moved into second position, their highest rating for several years, when their bowlers also struck top form against Bill Quay.

A late 39 from David Brown added a measure of respectability, but even so, the Quay managed just 80 all out as the Hewson brothers dominated. Keith returned 6-35 and Neil 4-25. When they batted first, Peterlee ended on 147 of which David Cross scored 37 and Min Mahil 33 not out.

Ryhope moved into the top half of the table with a seven-wicket win at Houghton. Alan Dick had the home batsmen struggling when he claimed five wickets for 32 runs and the target of 110 quickly evaporated when Gary Braithwaite hit a quickfire unbeaten 80.

Seaham Park earned a draw against Castle Eden when they reached 176-9. Graham Jobes opened the innings scoring 58 and David Morton contributed 41 while for the visitors, Allan Unsworth bowled a lengthy spell taking 4-80 and Richard Ede returned 4-25.

Unsworth (49) gave Castle Eden hope but despite 32 from David Evans and an unbroken partnership between the Spellmans - father John and his son John junior - Castle Eden were 21 runs short of the target with six wickets remaining.

The Stephensons were in super form for Dawdon in their game with Easington when, following an exciting finale, the home side won by just two runs. Andrew carried his bat for 63 and Bobby struck 86 in a total of 180-2. Despite 45 from Robbie Atherton and 42 by Mark Race Easington were all out for 178.

No play was possible at Silksworth where Boldon CA were due to be the visitors.