SUNDERLAND recovered from one of their worst Dukes North East Premier League Premier Division performances to record one of their best all in the space of a week.
Defeat against bottom club Gateshead Fell last weekend was quickly put out of mind on Saturday as the Wearsiders beat Blaydon, although they had a few scares on the way.
Sunderland bowled out their visitors for just 131 with Greg Davison (3-24), Arsalan Rahim (3-24) and Kieran Waterson (3-45) all hitting form.
Between them, they sent down 30 of the 43 overs the Ashbrooke men required to polish off their opponents, whose batsmen never got going.
But the Wearsiders also found batting difficult and it needed a special effort from Michael Dunn, coming to the crease when the first wicket fell, to get them over the winning line.
He faced 122 balls in making just 32 runs, finishing as top scorer but showing the concentration needed to grab the victory. Dan Shurben (28) and Greg Applegarth (25) helped towards the success which bagged Sunderland 21 points and kept them firmly in mid-table.
The biggest shock of the day was suffered by South Shields, who were bowled out by leaders Stockton for just 27 runs, the lowest since the Premier League was formed (the previous lowest score was Gateshead Fell’s 30 against Durham Academy in 2004).
County stars Jamie Harrison (5-13) and Keaton Jennings (3-2) were in devastating form as they ran through a team which included Tom Latham, returning from New Zealand’s T20 series against England.
Not one of the Shields batsmen reached double figures as they lasted just 18.2 overs.
Previously, Stockton had made an impressive 255-9 from 53 overs, with Kevin Ward (67) making the biggest contribution. Shields’ opening attack of John Hutton (4-60 from 17 overs) and Matty Muchall (4-99 from 20 overs) did their job efficiently but without any sign things would turn so sour when the roles were reversed.
Chester-le-Street got back to winning form against Gateshead Fell, who remained in bottom place after being bowled out cheaply in reply to 247-3.
A superb century from Simon Birtwisle and 89 from Quentin Hughes included an opening partnership of 203 which enabled the Cestrians to declare after just 53 overs. Birtwisle’s 102 came from 159 balls and included 13 fours, while Hughes failed by just 11 runs to emulate his team-mate after facing 120 balls.
Hosts Fell had no answer to the pace of Liam Simpson (6-28) and they managed just 82 runs in reply, falling in 26.4 overs.
Hetton Lyons suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Tynemouth, who have struggled for much of the season.
Lyons managed just 140 when batting first, with Jon Malkin (35), Lal Kumar (27) and Sean Tindale (20) their top scorers, Ruhan Pretorius bagging six of the wickets to fall and David Hymers the other four. Tynemouth went on to win by eight wickets, only their third victory in 10 games, with Greg Hallam (80 not out) hitting his season’s best.
Durham Academy continue to find life hard and they suffered a third successive defeat against a revitalised Newcastle.
Coach John Windows hit an unbeaten 31 and shared in a defiant 52-run last-wicket stand to get the students to a challenging score of 136. He finished as top scorer after former Academy stars Ben Raine (3-30) and Martin Fearon (3-36) caused the most problems. Newcastle went on to win by four wickets.
Elsewhere, Benwell Hill rocked South North, skittled for 129, with a 16-run success.