Chester-le-Street could have shaken off the attentions of Blaydon at the top of the NEPL after beating them by 66 runs, but now they have South North to worry about after the Bulls lopped another seven points off their lead.

Andrew Smith (79) and Richard Waite (5-44) swayed a keenly contested game at Denefield in their teams favour as Blaydon were bowled out for 147 chasing the Cestrians 213, while Chris Hewison (67) and Adam Cragg (65) set up South North's comprehensive 100-run hammering of South Shields.

A low-scoring game at Eppleton saw Durham Senior League leaders Kimblesworth rescue a dramatic victory after slumping to 39-7 when set just 78 to win. In a game that only the bowlers enjoyed, Stephen Meek (5-47) and Mark Woodhead (5-26) rattled through the home line-up, only for Sura Malinga (4-30) and Liam Mallaburn (3-26) to bite back. Kevin Dixon (28no) and Woodhead (10no) then put together a last ditch match-winning stand of 42 that could prove priceless.

Loading article content

But reigning champions Boldon moved to within seven points of Kimblesworth as they notched up a maximum in a 38-run home win over Philadelphia, who slipped to the bottom of the league. Phil Shakespeare wrote the 30-point script with three fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 43 to propel Boldon to a declaration on 248-5, and then he bagged five wickets as Phili folded for 210.

Esh Winning are just one victory away from being crowned Durham County League champions after a 72-run success over Ushaw Moor took them 22 points clear of Brandon with just two matches left to play.

John Carmedy hit eight fours and two sixes in his 53 as Esh set a target of 198-9, but he had to hand centre stage to Eddie Watson who added five wickets to his own unbeaten half century as Esh won with ease.

Seaham Park successfully negotiated one of their most difficult remaining hurdles to move 15 points clear at the top of the Durham Coast League.

Stuart Pattison was once again central to their success over Washington with 3-22 and 45 runs, but it was 15 year-old Dale Shaw who was the real star, arriving at the wicket with Park looking done for on 14-3 chasing 167 to win. The youngster struck a half century to inspire his team-mates to a crucial three wicket win.

Swalwell saw off Shotley Bridge in the NSTL, Gary Johnson (5-42) the catalyst as the Bridge were bowled out for 163 in reply to 182, but Sacriston remain right on their case after easing past Annfield Plain by six wickets to remain three points behind the leaders.