The Chester-le-Street juggernaut keeps rolling on and they are now just one win away from claiming the Premier Division title.
Chester’s superb run of form, now eight wins in nine games, continued with victory over defending champions South North, by seven wickets, at Roseworth Terrace on Saturday.
The Ropery Lane outfit’s last two games are at home to Durham Academy, this Saturday, and away to second-top Newcastle on the last day of the season.
South North decided to bat first, needing to win the game to make up some ground on the leaders, and scored 207-7, John Graham unbeaten on 69 and Marcus North making 46
They would have posted a much higher total, but for left-arm spinner Gurman Randhawa, who took 3-58 in his 20 overs. Richard Waite bagged 2-59.
South North found the Cestrians in formidable form with the bat, in particular Andrew Smith, who hit eight fours and a six in his 80 not out, holding the innings together like glue.
He enjoyed excellent partnerships of 83 with George Harrison (32, with three boundaries) and 58 with Quentin Hughes (34no, with three fours) to put another crucial 28 points in the bag.
Waite added 26 and James Thompson 22.
Gateshead Fell boosted their survival hopes with a thrilling tie against Durham Academy.
The 15 points which Fell gleaned from the game allowed them to make up 10 points on Eppleton in their relegation dogfight.
The Academy posted 219-9 declared in 58,2 overs to win after some excellent batting from Josh Coughlin (67no, with five fours and a six) and Asher Hart (45), with Fell’s Sam Roseby taking 3-24 and two wickets apiece for Graham Onions, Adam Whatley and Andrew Porter.
Malik Javed (35) and Adam Whatley (57, with four fours and five sixes), set about the run chase and laid some solid grounding, but left-arm spinner George Harding, with a magnificent 20-over haul of 6-87 saw Fell losing their last six wickets for 51 runs.
That included a dramatic over from Alasdair Appleby, with two wickets in his first and last over, meant the game was tied with Fell all out for 219, a single run away from a precious victory.
Eppleton could only manage five points from their defeat at the hands of Tynemouth, but it could have been many more.
They sensationally bowled out Tynemouth for just 73, Graeme Hallam top-scoring with 13, with Liam Dixon claiming a brilliant 6-22. Abhijai Mansingh took 202 in three overs.
However, the Church Road side could only score 60 in reply,bowled out in 22.2 overs. with Andrew Smith taking 6-37 and Tahir Khan (3-22) as Tynemouth kept their very slim title chances alive.
Dean Musther top-scored with 20 for Eppleton, with three boundaries.
Hetton Lyons outgunned Benwell Hill, who needed points to ensure their safety from relegation.
They only managed one point after been bowled out for just 113, with Peter Halliday (33) top-scoring. Eddie Watson (5-27, taking the first five batsmen) and Ben Whitehead (3-29) tore into their batting.
In reply, Jonathan Malkin blasted 10 boundaries in 60 not out to ease Lyons home for the loss of just three wickets. Brydon Carse added an unbeaten 27.
Whitburn leap-frogged their opponents Stockton thanks to a three-wicket home win.
The visitors made 155, when Christopher Hooker top-scored with 35. Ian Eliott with (5-19 in 7,5 overs) and Craig Smith (4-68 in 12 overs), were too hot to handle.
Paul Shields (44, with six fours) and Ross Carty (40no, with six fours) steered their team home, after being in trouble at 11-3 and 71-5. Joe Coyne hit two sixes and three fours in 28.
Stockton’s Mitchell Gardner grabbed 5-35 with the new ball.