Blaydon blitz the Bulls
Sunderland eased into an early season lead at the top of the table with an emphatic derby thumping of Newcastle, but it was bubbly Blaydon who hogged the headlines after producing an amazing performance against champions South North.
In a game which held the attention from start to finish Blaydon blitzed the Bulls, bowling them out for just 49 to win by 80 runs.
There was little sign of what was to come when Blaydon produced an average batting performance in posting a modest 129, a total which South North would normally have little difficulty reaching. But Blaydon’s Martin Pollard (4-25) and Gary Stewart (3-10) brought them to their knees.
And it could have been even worse as the first seven wickets down for just 14 runs. Of scant consolation was the fact that this wasn’t the Bulls’ lowest score in the NEPL, that came back in 2004 when they were bowled out for 41 - by Blaydon.
The home team faced a few setbacks in their own innings, but Kiwi Cole McConchie settled their nerves with a crucial 45 runs after they had lost their first two wickets for just six.
Allan Worthy (22) shared the partnership which lifted them into a more respectable position. Lee Crozier (4-33) was one of the few visiting players on song as he gave his team a head start – only to see that head lopped off in dramatic fashion.
Sunderland’s move to the top of the table came when they won the Ashbrooke derby encounter with Newcastle.
Kieran Waterson (6-27) and Chris Rushworth (4-24) whipped through their Tyne rivals in just 18 overs and left them in tatters, all out for a paltry 54 runs. The Wearsiders swept to an impressive eight wicket success.
Stockton were involved in another bowling drama when they visited Hetton Lyons, taking the last seven wickets for just eight runs with Richard Waite grabbing four of them.
He came on to bowl as fourth change and his first victim was top scorer Jarvis Clay (45).
The Lyons slumped dramatically from 93 for three to 101 all out, but in the end it was more than enough to beat the Teessiders who made a terrible start to the run chase as they lost their first four wickets for 12 runs.
There was no way back and despite a defiant 46 from James Ward the final curtain came down with the score on 76. Lyons’ new signing Anthony Watson (6-24) and the ever reliable Ryan Pringle (4-20) were Hetton’s all-star pairing.
Chester-le-Street made up for last week’s defeat by romping to a massive win over Gateshead Fell. Andrew Smith was the inspiration for the team as he hit a majestic 94 from just 96 balls with ten fours and a six.
The Cestrians declared after 57 overs on 270-8 after Fraser Campbell added a half century and then they began a successful demolition of their opponents.
Andrew Bell (5-32) ran the Fell batting ragged after Graeme Cessford had taken the first two wickets and set up a collapse which saw them on 34 for six and all out for a paltry 93.
In the day’s other games Durham Academy enjoyed their first win of the season at Tynemouth.
The home team posted 157 with Josh Bousfield (3-20) and Andrew Ireland (4-28) again showing star quality, and young Adam Hickey making an unbeaten 48 as he played the key role in the three wickets victory.
And South Shields were happy with their winning performance at Benwell Hill where Gordon Muchall was unbeaten on 47 after sharing six wickets with his brother Mattie.