Dazzler Danny leads Sunderland to the top

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SUPER Sunderland trounced Tynemouth on Saturday, with captain fantastic Danny Shurben leading from the front to take his team top of the Dukes North East Premier League.

Just one week ago, the Wearsiders thought they had taken the lead in the championship race, but when they revisited their points tally for the win over Newcastle it had proved to be a false dawn.

But there’s no mistake this time after an emphatic win at Preston Avenue propelled them into a 19-point advantage.

With three games failing to start because of heavily waterlogged grounds, it was all plain sailing for Sunderland, who rattled up an impressive 205-1 in the 34 overs available to them in their truncated game.

Their one wicket fell with the score on just 10, but then it was just a case of sitting back and admiring Shurben’s skills.

The skipper faced 101 balls, and hit 11 fours and nine sixes to finish with 144 runs. His unbroken second-wicket partnership with Michael Turns was worth 195, with Turns (45no in 89 balls) happy to play the supporting role and enjoy the spectacle from close quarters.

A shell-shocked Tynemouth were up against it immediately in their reply as their first four wickets mustered just five runs. Even though skipper Ben Debnam (39) tried to hold things together, the dynamic duo of Chris Rushworth (4-23) and Kieran Waterson (3-25) had the bit between their teeth and the home team subsided to 108 all out.

South Shields won just three games in 2011, but victory over Hetton Lyons on Saturday made it two in a row this time around and pushed them up into third place in the table.

There was little trouble in identifying the man-of-the-match as skipper Mattie Muchall caused havoc to dent the Lyons’ pride.

He sent down 18.5 overs, including seven maidens, and took out six Hetton batters for just 41 runs. With Kris McShane picking up 3-29 in his 11 overs, the visitors were dismissed for 112.

An opening stand of 47 then set Shields on their way, and when they were 84-2 shortly after, it looked like a stroll over the finishing line beckoned.

But with three wickets crashing for just two runs, including that of top scorer Chris Watson (40), there was a bit of late dressing room panic before victory was eventually achieved with three wickets to spare.

In the only other game played, neutral observers suggested Jimmy Miller’s century for South North was a masterclass in the art of batting.

Coming in at 64-4, Miller’s innings of 102 not out transformed the match with Benwell Hill. The fifth-wicket partnership with John Graham (71) was worth 160, with Miller reaching his 50 off 60 balls, and his century off only 23 more.

Set a target of 229-5, Hill were never in trouble after an opening stand of 68 between Phil Nicholson (31) and Ali Maiden (56), but they were never quite up with the rate and settled for an honourable draw on 181-5 in 52 overs.

H Sunderland progressed to the second round of the Kingfisher Beer National Club Cup yesterday, beating Benwell Hill in a bowl-out after Ashbrooke unfit for play.

H Graham Clark’s fine 88 and 43 from Cole Pearce helped Durham Academy (212-8) outgun Newcastle by 62 runs in the Justsport Trophy yesterday.