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Annfield Plain’s title challenge took a hit as they slipped to a surprise 14-run home defeat against Consett that left them trailing leaders Tynedale by 16 points.

Gareth Breese was the thorn in Plain’s side, the Durham man coming in at number three with 32 on the board and then batting through the rest of the innings to end on 74 not out from 97 balls. His former county colleague, Neil Killeen (3-29), along with Micky Allen (4-43) and Shane Oliver (3-45), whittled through the rest of the Consett line-up, but the total of 199 was too big a hurdle for the hosts.

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The Annfield reply was also all about one man, Andrew Donnelly cracking seven fours and three sixes in a 147-ball century, but when he was dismissed as time ran out Rob Hassan (4-34) applied the finishing touches to a great Consett display, the home team subsiding from 177-6 to 185 all out with just two balls of the game remaining.

Consett’s joy in victory was matched by Burnopfield’s who secured their much-needed first win of the season in a thrilling game against Ashington.

Rain reduced the match to 40 overs per side, and the Colliers looked to have set a stretching target as Anirudh Singh cracked nine fours and seven sixes in a superb 105-ball 113 that lifted his team to 218-4. But Burnopfield had the measure of the task as virtually everyone chipped in with runs before South African Josh Bent smashed seven fours and three sixes in a 51-ball unbeaten 58 that won the game with four balls remaining.

Tynedale retained top spot with a 41-run win at Ponteland, this despite being bowled out for a modest 140 when Tom Seymour (4-8 from 6.4 overs) brought their innings to a rapid conclusion. Aussie Akash Fotedar undid the home team as he claimed 5-29 from 10.3 overs, and with David Newton picking up 3-23 the home side finished well back on 99 all out.

It was back into the old routine for Chris Hewison as he inspired champions Swalwell to a thumping 115-run win up at Alnmouth. Hewison smashed 11 fours and five sixes, carrying his bat for an unbeaten 163 out of the Swalwell 50-over total of 263-3. Guy Saxton (4-38) and Nicky Phillips (3-43) then mopped up the home resistance which ended on 148 after 42.3 overs.

Shotley Bridge (237-7) had too much in the locker for Leadgate (70), while Lanchester plunged Ryton to the foot of the table with a six-wicket home win.

The highlight in Division A2 was a masterclass from ex-Durham all-rounder Ben Harmison, who hit 172 and took 3-23 as he inspired Bedlington to a 122-run home win over Cowgate.