A remarkable bowling performance by Lal Kumar gave the championship ambitions of Hetton Lyons an extra boost but left their beaten opponents, the Durham Academy, examining why they now hold a record in the league they would rather not have achieved.
Bowled out for 16, with Kumar taking eight wickets for only four runs, the Academy took over the record held by South Shields of having the lowest total in the league’s 15-year history. Shields shed the unwanted marker of 27 set last season.
Lyons earlier posted 180-9 with the runs spread evenly, but with Jonny Malkin (27) top scorer. Three others got into the lower 20’s before Kumar got to work with seven overs of devastating pace. All ten Academy wickets fell for seven runs after their first batter went with the score at nine. Seven of his colleagues collected ducks.
Another impressive win for South North kept them on target to grab back the championship silverware from Stockton, who are third. The Gosforth-based club made 198-8 against Tynemouth who had beaten them the previous night in a T20 game. But Johnny Wightman (6-27) was too good for the home team who collapsed to 86 all out. Bulls skipper John Graham made 94 and Adam Craggs hit 66 as the leaders recovered from a shaky start.
Stockton’s Richard Waite was in magnificent form as they beat Sunderland comfortably in the Wear-Tees derby.
After making an unbeaten century he rolled he captured five wickets to see the Ashbrooke side totally outplayed. His 101 came out of 279-4, which included 77 from Matty Brown and 47 from opener Jimmy Ward. On another day Ward’s four wickets for four runs would have given him the man-of-the-match billing, but Waite claimed that indisputable honour as the Wearsiders sank to 134 all out to lose by 145 runs.
Chester-le-Street moved two places up the league to fifth as they overran Newcastle, who they bowled out for 99 after a Simon Birtwisle century out of a mammoth 307-7 had put the Cestrians in an unbeatable position.
Gateshead Fell’s fifth defeat in seven games has left them stranded at the foot of the table and their latest reverse helped Benwell Hill’s cause in getting closer to the top.
The day’s other winners, Blaydon, lifted themselves away from the drop zone but the team they defeated, Whitburn, should probably have won. They had the home team struggling on 72-6 chasing 166, but an unbroken stand of 94 by Geoff Stewart (55no) and Craig Burke (43no) broke their hearts.
In the first division two of the teams tipped for silverware found themselves outmaneouvred, Washington beaten by Eppleton and Brandon humbled by Boldon.
Eppleton’s success was the result of a last-wicket partnership after they had slumped to 56 for 9 chasing 86 for the win.
Jak Gaff (4-20) and Melvyn Betts (3-30) looked like keeping Washington in the top three but Zaheer Shahbaz and David Wilkinson had other ideas as they added the 33 runs needed by Eppleton to overtake them in the league placings. Brandon’s demise came as they were skittled for 54 by Boldon.