THE honeymoon is over for NTSL top flight new boys Ashington and Alnmouth. The pair of promoted sides stood proudly at the top of the table at the start of play on Saturday, but by the close they had both been soundly beaten with Tynedale now the leaders of the pack.
The Colliers looked to have done the hard part up at Tynedale by bowling their hosts out for 146, Callum Storey once again their key man with the ball as he claimed 4-23 from 12 overs. But young Callum Barnes had shown his more experienced colleagues the way after an early clatter of wickets had seen the top six make just 38 between them. Barnes batted beautifully, hitting four fours and two sixes to close with 65 not out to his name made from just 70 balls.
With something to defend the Tynedale bolwers ripped into the visitors, skittling them for 48 inside 17 overs, Richard Darling bagging 5-18 and David Newton 4-4, including a hat-trick which rubbed further salt into an already gaping wound.
Alnmouth found life just as tough at Annfield Plain. They went into the game unbeaten and in second place, but were swept aside in just 20.3 overs for 71. Neil Killeen started the rot with two quick wickets before Micky Allen (3-9 from 6 overs) and Shane Oliver (3-8) cleaned up. The run chase wasn’t Plain sailing for the home team as Ben Oliver fought back with 3-25, but Phil Shield steadied the rocking boat with six boundaries in an unbeaten 32 as Annfield eased to a five wicket win in the 23rd over.
With Tynedale top, five points ahead of Plain and Ashington, Shotley Bridge drew level in second spot with a 99-run humbling of Lanchester.
The Bridge were in trouble on 42-4, then Graeme Brinton took over, smashing 20 fours and a six in a 96-ball innings of 114. With Stuart Graham adding an unbeaten 66 as he shared in a match turning partnership of 173 with Brinton, Shotley shot to 262-7. Lanchester never got themselves into a position where they could challenge that target and subsided to 163 all out.
After much hard work Burnopfield did manage to get their first home game on, but Swalwell didn’t make it the happiest of occasions by bundling their hosts out for just 64 and then knocking off the runs for the loss of two wickets. There was a first win of the season for Consett, Gareth Breese (4-21 and 59 not out) their inspiration in a six wicket defeat of Leadgate, and Ponteland overcame Ryton by 70 runs as Wayne Ritzema (64 and 4-32) dominated.