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Sunderland surrender lead

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A second successive defeat cost Sunderland their place as leaders which they have held since the opening weeks of the season.

And with Blaydon and South North now ahead of them they face a hard fight to move back to the top in their bid to carry off the championship for the second time in 12 years.

Surprisingly the Wearsiders have lost their way against teams struggling among the bottom three in the table. Following the loss of their unbeaten record to Newcastle the week before Tynemouth were the latest to cause them problems.

Blaydon, by contrast, defeated title rivals Chester-le-Street, to move out in front and head South North, who romped to victory over Benwell Hill, by eight points.

Sunderland’s indifferent batting has suddenly become a major headache and against their Tynemouth opponents they managed just 72 runs with only three batsmen reaching double figures. Of these Michael Turns and Dan Shurben finished just one run short of scoring half the team’s total between them.

But, as with their colleagues, they found the Tynemouth trio of David Hymers (3-17), Mark Wood (3-22) and Patrick Botha (2-6) ultimately too hot to handle.

Ruel Brathwaite (4-31) and Kieran Waterson (2-35) offered hope to the leaders but they didn’t have enough runs to gamble and defeat by four wickets saw them fall from their pedestal.

A powerful batting display saw the resistance of the Cestrians broken by new leaders Blaydon who topped 250 for the loss of just five wickets thanks to Graeme Bridge (66 not out), Cole McConchie (57), Allan Worthy (34) and Geoff Stewart (34 not out).

Then McConchie (5-43) and Bridge (3-35) got to work with the ball to dismiss their visitors for 172, a winning margin of 81 runs. Andrew Smith (52) and opener George Harrison (35) gave fighting displays but the absence of several key players proved too much for them.

South North had another maiden century maker to celebrate as they defeated Benwell by 108 runs. Young Sam Jobson hit 17 fours and two sixes from 111 balls and finished unbeaten on 118 as his side totalled 249 for two.

Adam Cragg (66 not out) shared a power packed undefeated third wicket stand after opener, Adam Heather (48) had set the pace. Only Dan Young (60 with 11 boundaries) showed any real resistance as Benwell crumbled for 141.

Keaton Jennings was the day’s other top batsman, but the century he scored against his former teammates didn’t give Stockton a win against Durham Academy as an hour’s play was lost through rain.
The Teessiders made 228-4 with Richard Waite (70) also giving the students a hard time in the field.

The loss of early wickets to Jennings (3-21) and Waite (3-30) then held back the Academy in reply and Adam Hickey finished as top scorer on 39 out of 117 for eight. Stockton took the bulk of the draw points.

An impressive six wicket victory for Hetton Lyons against South Shields, who they bowled out for just 89 runs, was another highlight of the day. Ryan Pringle was unbeaten on 61 with ten fours and a six to complete a special afternoon during which he also took four wickets for just ten runs.

Shields started their innings disastrously losing their first four wickets for four runs before a 55 run partnership between Gareth Dunn (29) and James Hill produced a face saving fight back.

A first win of the season came as a welcome relief for bottom club Gateshead Fell (165 for nine), but it was a close one wicket call against fellow strugglers Newcastle (164 all out).