THE weather dealt a severe blow to the Darlington & District League Division A title race when Rockliffe Park were able to rush through a victory over Middleton-in-Teesdale in double-quick time whilst every other game was being washed out.
The end result was that the Park increased their lead at the top to 64 points, and with just six games to go they could well have the championship sewn up by mid-August.
Middleton were blown away in just 18.1 overs of batting, only three players reaching double figures as Ian Potts and Dion Wood went on a weatherbeating rampage.
Potts sent down nine overs, striking two early crucial blows before going on to register figures of 3-20, whilst Wood proved virtually unplayable as he bagged six wickets for 30 runs in his unbroken stint.
Remarkably, there was not a single extra to give some succour to the visitors as they were bowled out for a paltry 50. With further storm clouds on the not too distant horizon the leaders didn’t muck about in the run chase, Wood leading the charge with an unbeaten 25 as an eight-wicket victory was secured in just 7.3 overs of batting.
News of Park’s good fortune came as a real body blow to Middleton St George as they were handily placed on 134-3 after 27 overs at Spennymoor before the ground was swamped.
Paul Rogers was in freeflowing form, hitting 8 boundaries on his way to a good looking 64, and with Dale Johnson just about to take off after lashing 3 sixes on his way to 36 not out the George were only able to muster four points from the aborted encounter – enough to move them into second, but not enough to keep interest in the title race.
In Division B Oxbridge were the only winners, victory over Witton-le-Wear lifting them to within ten points of a promotion place.
Witton looked in a good place after Adam Nelson (45) had given them the perfect start, but the introduction of Barry Whitton to the Oxbridge attack brought about a dramatic change, and from a position of strength the last seven wickets crashed for just 10 runs to leave the hosts with just 143 to their name. Whitton finished Wear off with 7-19 and Chris McCabe then hit an unbeaten 78 to earn Oxbridge their crucial win.