LEADERS Guisborough had the best of a drawn game at defending North Yorkshire and South Durham League champions Saltburn after batting first and amassing 287 for the loss of only three wickets.

Opener Graham Shaw carried his bat for 139 and was ably supported by Richard Dunn (46), Gary Bolton (52) and Paul Goodchild (26 not out).

By close of play, the home side had reached 176 for the loss of six wickets, with Mauhtashim Rashid top-scoring on 49 after openers Simon Walker and John Elliott had made 35 and 30 respectively. John Bond contributed 31.

Second-placed Blackhall maintained their challenge with a win over Darlington RA at Brinkburn Road.

The home side batted first and totalled 153 for the loss of seven wickets, Dave Eckels making 59 as brothers Gavin and Richard Watts shared five wickets.

The visitors reached their target with only four wickets down as Marc Hopkinson made 62 and Tony Booth added 39.

Honours were even in a drawn game at Middlesbrough, where the home side batted first against Northallerton and put 250 on the board for the loss of seven wickets.

Skipper Danny Evans was in excellent form, making 104 and sharing good partnerships with Rashid (48) and Richie Storr (64). Visiting professional Jonathan Barnes claimed 3-52 and David Mulholland took 3-56.

At stumps, Northallerton had also lost seven wickets in reaching 206, with Barnes making the top score of 72 and captain Ian Gill adding 42 as Umer Rashid took 4-40.

Hartlepool moved into fourth place after bowling out home side Bishop Auckland for 123.

Andy Carter was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets in one over on the way to figures of 5-26, while Aaley Haider top-scored with 58 for the Bishops.

The visitors then cruised to a seven-wicket success as John Cannon made an unbeaten 52 and Steve Chapman added 41.

Darlington had the better of their drawn away match at Marske after scoring 231-8 batting first. Gary Moody made 73 and Danny Morgans 46, while Marske's Tim Hood claimed 4-78.

By the close, the home side had reached 177-7 with Stuart McKay and Graeme Lambton still together on 32 and 30 respectively. Nav Sidhu took 3-66 for the visitors.

The points were shared in a very high scoring match at Normanby Hall, where the home side posted 270-6 against Richmondshire.

Lee Sykes had ten boundaries in his 81, while Craig Addison made an unbeaten 45 and Mark Croft contributed 40.

The visitors also conceded 43 extras, but Ben Biker removed three home batsmen at a cost of 84 runs.

Biker then came close to producing an unlikely victory for Richmondshire, hitting 90 not out as the visitors ended just three runs short with two wickets left.

Openers David Fitzgerald (52) and Andy Mollitt (33) had got the innings off to a solid start.

At Redcar, visitors Thornaby were bowled out for 178 after Geoff Love made 59 and Mick McCabe captured 7-44.

Love then completed a fine all-round performance by taking 5-82 as the home side were dismissed for 155.

Ryan Lazenby top-scored with 39, while Colin Vaulks also took five wickets in conceding 62 runs for Thornaby.

Division One

Leaders Seaton Carew proved too strong for sixth-placed Bedale, winning by seven wickets after restricting the visitors to 151-9.

Dave Alsop took 7-66 for Seaton, while A Smith top-scored for Bedale with 35. Paul Gough steered the home side to victory with an unbeaten 92.

Second-placed Wolviston maintained their strong promotion challenge with a four-wicket win over visitors Barnard Castle, who made 161-7 batting first.

Duncan Coates made an unbeaten 59, while George Sayers took 5-52 for the home side.

Opener Jimmy Jones then made 33 and Geoff Peacock added 36 as Wolviston reached their target, Richard Eastwood claiming three of the six wickets to fall for 44 runs.

Hartlepool finished ten runs short of victory with their last pair at the wicket after visitors Great Ayton had been shot out for 166.

David Grainge made 56 and Dave Pennock 33 for Ayton, while Smith and Ahmed each claimed four wickets for the home side.

Kevin Peak then added 36 batting at number seven, while Marshall took 4-27.

Stokesley took first knock at home to Yarm and put 228 on the board for the loss of nine wickets after David Fall made 67 and Johnson 50.

A Wilson took 6-63 for the visitors and opener C Wilson then almost propelled them to victory with an unbeaten 80, but Morton took 4-53 as the innings closed with Yarm nine runs short at 220-6.

Billingham Synthonia batted first at Guisborough and declared at 186-7 with Phil Wood unbeaten on 52. Will MacDougal (3-45) and Steve Donlon (4-62) shared the wickets.

The home side had reached 162-7 at stumps, with Chris Norminton hitting 72 and Keith Martin claiming 5-70 for the visitors.

Darlington seconds were bowled out for 136 by visitors Marske seconds, with Flannaghan and Barratt each taking three wickets as Lee Craggs remained unbeaten on 31.

Marske then lost only three wickets in achieving their target, Briggs and Barratt guiding them home with 40 and 43 respectively.

Marton won by four wickets after visitors Middlesbrough totalled 204-9 with runs by Fazil (60), S Yaqub (40) and Ian Blewitt (31).

Conway took 4-37 and Mark Foster picked up two wickets before contributing 68 towards Marton's successful run chase.