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Stockton's win drought ends

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Stockton won the basement battle with Benwell to celebrate their second win of the season, and after six weeks without a successin the North East Premier League they lifted themselves out of the bottom four.

South African Keaton Jennings hit 54 with six boundaries as the Teessiders totalled 149 from 50.4 overs against the incisive Benwell attack of Zohaib Khan (5-44) and Saud Shinwari (4-45). Between them they bowled 32.4 overs with six maidens.

In reply, Phil Nicholson opened with seven boundaries in his 33, but after the Hill had reached 83 for the loss of just three wickets they collapsed spectacularly losing their next seven wickets for just 19 runs as youngster Tom Coulthard bagged four wickets in six balls in a sensational burst.

He eventually finished with figures of 5-33, and with Jimmy Ward picking up 3-15 Benwell were out for 102, beaten by 47 runs.

There was just as much joy for Hetton Lyons and Durham Academy who overcame the boredom of the previous weekend’s wipe-out by romping to runaway victories.

The Lyons mauled Tynemouth by 135 runs after bowling them out for a paltry 82 in reply to their splendid innings of 217 for nine. Shaun Birbeck, who top scored with 67, shared in an opening stand of 66 with Jarvis Clay (31) before Sean Tindale (34 not out) underlined their dominance.

Opening bowler Anthony Watson (6-32 in 11 overs) then shattered Tynemouth’s hopes of making a fighting finish, and with young Ben Whitehead mopping up the ‘tail’ with three wickets in 3.5 overs without conceding a single run, it was a humiliating collapse for the visitors.

And it proved to be a similar story in Durham Academy’s success over Newcastle at Jesmond, the Tynesiders dismissed for 88 in reply to 203 for seven declared. Openers, Jack Clark (59) and Graham Clark (48) featured in a partnership of 78 before Cole Pearce, with 41 from 47 balls, shared a rapid second wicket stand of 67 to cause Newcastle to struggle.

Then Grant Nicholson (4-22) finished off the good work of opening bowlers James Weighell and Ollie Ashford who shared identical figures of two wickets for 13 runs. Sameet Brar hung-in for a further two wickets costing just 20 runs and Newcastle were sunk by 115 runs.

League leaders Sunderland enjoyed their sixth win of the season when they overpowered bottom club Gateshead Fell by 165 runs at Ashbrooke. Mark Dale (76) and Dan Shurben (46) set the tone with an opening stand worth 118 as they headed for 252 for seven, the highest score of the day.

Chris Hooker added 39 before Ruel Brathwaite produced a double act – hitting 35 runs and taking five wickets. The Fell were skittled for 87 as Brathwaite bowled with real fire for 16 overs which cost just 28 runs.

Blaydon, who like Sunderland are in line for the league title, remain unbeaten and in second place after a low scoring but dramatic encounter with South Shields.

The hosts were dismissed for only 92 with Kris McShane (5-18) doing most of the damage, but Graeme Bridge (4-29) and Cole McConchie (4-19) hit back and Shields could only muster 76.

A close finish was the feature of the top game between Chester le Street and South North at the Lane. The Cestrians, needing 159 for victory, reached 132 for nine and settled for a draw largely thanks to opening bowler Graeme Cessford’s face-saving innings of 34 not out batting at number ten.

Bulls skipper John Graham (54) and Steven Humble (5-18) had been South North’s potential match winners.