Second-top Seaham Park maintained their impressive start to the Second Division season on Saturday, handing out a 99-run defeat to Murton – to stay on the coat-tails of leaders Ryhope.
There was contrast in the Park innings, with John Sample (52 in 94 balls) sedate in comparison to Mark Race, who blasted five fours and four sixes in his 50-ball 77, but both were equally valuable as the promotion chasers declared after 44.2 overs on 204-7.
Kit Allan added 32, with Watson and Spinks each bagging three wickets.
Ian King (46 from 44 balls) then showed derby defiance as Murton responded, but Alex Ludlow was not to be denied as he blasted out five batsmen for just 22 runs, the visitors crumbling to 105 all out in 29.3 overs.
Ryhope beat battling Littletown by seven wickets, while third-placed Burnopfield had 40 runs to spare in their success at Langley Park. Ushaw Moor are also gathering pace after their second maximum points haul in succession.
Ryhope look to have found a gem in their South African, Dylan Buckthorp (3-36), and he was at the heart of their latest success as he and Josh Dick (3-23) combined to share six wickets as Littletown were bowled out for 126, skipper Gregg Arundel leading the way with 45.
Buckthorp then joined with Mickey Thorpe (51 not out), hitting an unbeaten 42 as Ryhope coasted home with plenty to spare, despite a three-wicket haul from Shashikant Kadam.
Liam Chaytor plundered 4-73 for Houghton, but Ushaw Moor made a daunting 223-7, with Dean Storey’s 81 not out leading the way. Mark Messer and Scott Nattrass both reached the 30s. Houghton were bowled out for 74 as Stephen Hancock (4-19) and Billy Teesdale (3-30) ran the show. Craig Nield (13) topped Houghton’s scoring.
Marsden pulled off a much-needed win over Peterlee, Aussie Isaac Conway rushing his side to a four-wicket win with 11 boundaries in an unbeaten 72. Aaron Shellie fired 48 for Peterlee, with Kelly taking 3-19.
Whiteleas were thankful to Dave Gilbert (4-40) for removing an impressive Aniket Redkar after the Indian had hit 17 fours and a six in an innings of 109 that threatened to allow Evenwood to overtake the target of 194-4. They finished 15 short, bowled out for 179.