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Guisborough go top after Nicholls record

A remarkable bowling display by Guisborough captain Chris Nicholls, who broke club records in taking eight wickets for just seven runs, lifted his team to the top of the Darlington Building Society North Yorkshire and South Durham ECB Premier League.Marton slipped for a second successive game, losing not only their 12 point advantage but finishing two points behind the new leaders.Guisborough’s local rivals Great Ayton were the team puncturing Marton’s hopes, although the former champions fought a lengthy rearguard action to prevent defeat, recovering from 62 for five to finish on 151 for eight.There were four magnificent centuries, one each at Stokesley and Redcar and two in the same match at Richmond, but none could outshine the sensational afternoon enjoyed by Nicholls against Barnard Castle at Fountains Garth.His eight-wicket haul came from 15.4 overs, 12 of them maidens; but while that was dramatic enough his first six wickets came while conceding just two runs from his first 72 balls.It proved a career best performance and the most outstanding individual bowling figures in the premier division for five seasons. Barney, who were skittled for just 50 runs, have now been out three times this season for low scores, 31 and 81 being the others. Not for the first time, Ben Usher, who made 25, was top scorer. For the jubilant Priory team Stu Lobb got the other two wickets.Guisborough showed the pitch had plenty of runs in it by reaching 176 for eight in their 50 overs with opener Martin Hood at the crease for all but four of those runs. He faced 130 balls for his 63 to be eighth out. James Finch and Simon Tennant shared six wickets as each completed the maximum 17 overs.Marton’s problems started when the formidable Great Ayton partnership of Nick Hendrie (97) and Chris Batchelor (94) featured in a second wicket stand worth 172 runs. Ayton went on to finish with 231 for six with four wickets falling to the host professional, Upul Indrasiri.Then the former league leaders slumped badly in reply with only Alex Wardell (22) holding up an end successfully. Happily for them Chris Veazey (23) steadied the side before Danny Wade (40 not out) and Ben Hutchinson took them to a face saving 151 for eight – a rescue act worth 89 runs lifting them from that abysmal 62 for five with just three further wickets falling. For Ayton former Marton player Lewis Harper (3-55) was the most successful.The season’s first premier division hat-trick helped sink Middlesbrough at Acklam Park where Doug Mulholland (6-60) was the star turn. Jon Barnes (2-22 from 17 overs) was in frugul form as Boro managed just 131 despite an unbeaten 68 from Paul Johnston.He batted through the innings, facing 129 balls and hitting five fours but getting support only from Brett Roberts, who made 27. Steve Lister (41 not out) led the Quakers to a comfortable five wicket win.Just short of 500 runs were scored again at Richmond where Gary Pratt hit a second century of the season and Saltburn’s Paul Allen hit his first. Pratt faced 149 balls for his 122 (17 fours and a six) and shared a stand of 145 with Shani Dissanayake (77 from 91 balls) as the hosts, with the added help of 50 in 40 balls from Mattie Cowling, reached 280 for four.The Seasiders replied with 200 for seven with Allen’s superb knock of 104 from 118 balls including 16 boundaries.The other centuries came from the Normanby Hall pro Sohaib Maqsood, who made a swashbuckling 131 from 110 balls with 11 sixes among 18 boundaries against Stokesley, and Redcar’s Tyler Easton who made 107 sharing in an unbeaten stand worth 146 with Sam Berry (66) against Sedgefield. It was enough for the Seasiders to exchange places with Sedgefield at the foot of the table.Stokesley also had to fight hard to earn a draw after Normanby made 219 for nine, the home side wondering how their opponents reached that total after struggling for 80 per cent of their innings before Maqsood’s late explosion. A half century for Jonny Weighell and an unbeaten 49 from Will Brown earned enough points to keep them in the top six.Hartlepool suffered an unexpected defeat against Thornaby, who won with three balls to spare after recovering from 97 for seven. Omar Shahid hit 20 from 11 balls and a partnership between Dale Metcalfe and Mattie Connolly swung the game.In Sunday’s match Guisborough had a golden opportunity to stretch their newly gained leadership beyond the reach of their rivals, but once again Normanby Hall put a spoke in the leading team’s wheels as they got much the better of a drawn game.Yorkshire’s Dan Hodgson hit his highest score since moving to the Hall, making 86 in 146 balls in an innings that spanned 48 overs and included 11 boundaries, and they were to prove vital runs for Normanby as they eased their way up to a total of 184 for nine.Guisborough knew victory would lift them 22 points clear of the chasing pack, but with Hall skipper Leigh Beaumont on song with 4-46 from 17 overs, and Dale Marshall claiming 3-53 from a similar stint only Martin Hood, with his second half century in as many days, was able to make any headway and the Priorymen’s challenge fizzled out on 143 for eight with just 8 points resulting.And that was to cost them dear as Darlington went top in the bank holiday Monday games, doing so in the grand style by hammering visitors Thornaby by ten wickets, victory taking them nine points clear of overnight leaders Guisborough at the same time as dumping their beaten opponents on the bottom of the table.Thornaby’s hopes of clawing their way clear of the danger zone following Saturday’s exciting win evaporated in the Feethams sunshine as the lethal Darlington attack struck gold once more. Doug Mulholland (5-49) and Peter Armstrong (3-34) combined to dismiss the Teessiders for just 112, a total the Quakers passed in 24 overs as Harry Linton (49no) and John Watson (53no) rushed their side to the summit.Marton suffered another bad day at the office, going down to neighbours Middlesbrough by 22 runs in a game dominated by the class of Boro skipper James Lowe.Lowe hit the high spots with a 91-ball knock of 73 which lifted the home team to a total of 180 for seven, and then he grabbed five wickets as Marton slumped to 158 all out, defeat dropping them to third in a table they had headed three days earlier.In another derby battle Great Ayton leapfrogged Stokesley into fifth place with a home win inspired by South African pro Nick Hendrie. Stokesley set a target of 186 for seven, but then failed to contain the home batters as Steve Pennock (5 fours and 3 sixes in 60) and Hendrie (5 fours and 3 sixes in 71no) won the game with seven overs and six wickets to spare, Hendrie taking his league season aggregate to 346 at an average of 115.Redcar and Sedgefield won for the first time to ease their concerns near the foot of the table, the Seasiders defeating local rivals Saltburn by three wickets with one ball to spare  and Sedgefield toppling a weakened Hartlepool, while champions Richmondshire went fourth with a comfortable win over neighbours Barnard Castle.