BARNARD CASTLE are back at the summit of the Darlington Building Society NYSD ECB Premier League, after a convincing and determined 67 run win at Hartlepool. Asked to bat first, they made a decent score of 189-8, against some very tight bowling from Doug Mulholland and Mark Davies.

Opener Alasdair Appleby scored 57 runs from 96 balls, which included only five fours and Giles Creedon was 44 not out, from 44 balls at the end, as he glued the innings together, allowing Richard Watson to make 31 quick runs off 27 balls, near the end of the innings.

Pools never recovered from a poor start and were 34-4 and 46-6, as Josh Bousfield with 3-22 and Robert Dixon 2-20, took out the top order batting. Doug Mulholland scored 32 but Tom Merryweather and Richard Watson each took two wickets, to earn their side the win and claim 25 crucial points.

Great Ayton dropped to second place, as they had to settle for a draw at Darlington, as the home side totalled 191-8, with Nathan Wright scoring 61, Liam Coates 30 and Callum Lethbridge who made 60 from 69 balls, including eight fours. Pitigala Jeewantha was the pick of the bowling, returning figures of 4-58.

When Ayton batted, Thomas Leng made 34, while Mitchell Davis scored 43, but then Grant Sowerby stopped them in their tracks, with an excellent 5-56, to earn his side the draw, as Ayton scored 173-8.

Richmondshire remain third, after a convincing win at Stokesley. The home side were asked to bat first and made 162 all out, with opener Jonny Weighell scoring 44 and Andrew Weighell helped himself to 64 from 90 balls, but wickets fell on a regular basis through the middle order, with Dale Marshall taking 3-15 and Craig Marshall, Sam Wood and Josh Marshall, all taking two wickets each.

The Dalesmen were positive from the start, with skipper Gary Pratt making 47 from 52 balls, which included nine fours, as he and fellow opener Steven Mather (35), put on 85 runs for the first wicket. Sam Winter then cracked 46 not out off 39 balls, which included five fours and three sixes, to see his side home to victory.

Thornaby are fourth, as they racked up 283-3 at Seaton Carew, after been put into bat, with openers Neil Coverdale (95) and Jonathan Rickard (78), putting on 123 runs for the first wicket. Jeremy Boyle then added 45 not out and Lewis Harper chipped in with 47, while Paul Braithwaite was the pick of the bowling, taking 2-58.

When Seaton batted, Lewis Harper (2-27) and Liam Crooks (3-30), struck early blows and although David Braithwaite hammered 44, Danny Wade with 3-15 and Tharindu Rathnayake 2-22, ensured 25 points for the visitors.

At the bottom end of the table, Marton won their ‘derby match’ at home to Middlesbrough, giving them a much-needed win and collect 25 points at the same time. Asked to bat first, they made 157 all out with opener Jonathan Spillane scoring 42 from 55 balls, which included six fours and two sixes, while Chris Allinson made 52 from 87 balls, which included seven fours and a six. The rest of the batting collapsed though, as Leigh Beaumont ripped out the middle order, taking 4-19 after the ever-reliable Steven Reeves had returned 3-52.

Boro then lost early wickets, as skipper Alex Wardell tore into the top order, taking 4-42. Adam Beaumont made a quick-fire 37 from 32 balls, which included eight fours, but once Muhammed Zahid (3-38), had him removed they too collapsed to 120 all out, handing Marton a crucial win from the game.

Bishop Auckland are off the bottom spot, as they also gained 25 points from their relegation battle with Marske, at Kingsway. Bishops made 142 all out, with Nimesh Vimukthi top scoring with 29 from 33 balls. Marske bowled well, led by Jonathan Pickard who took 3-25 and there were two wickets apiece for Benjamin Van Rensburg, Lee Hodgson and Sam Berry.

The Seasiders however, lost early wickets, as Ryan Nicholson took 4-60, to reduce the visitors to 39-3 and 68-6 and Marske were eventually all out for 117, to lose by 25 runs and now drop to bottom place.