Eppleton live to fight another day and will resume next season still in the Premier Division, even though they lost their final-day game at South Northumberland.
South North decided to field first and the visitors made a reasonable, but cautious 178 all out, after losing Kyle Davis without scoring.
Fellow opener Abhilaj Mansingh, with three fours in 35 off 73 balls, and Dean Musther (55, with seven fours off 123 balls) then produced a 73-run partnership.
Musther then put on 41 with Gary Burlinson (29), before he got out. Jack McBeth added 24 down the order as Kyle Coetzer impressed with the ball to end with 5-57 and David Rutherford returned 4-52, taking out the important wickets of Musther, Burlinson and Marcus Brown.
However, any thoughts of Eppleton winning the game soon passed, as South North opener Adam Heather made 71 not out, including 10 fours, and skipper Marcus North hit 47 not out, off 55 balls, in a match-winning partnership of 81.
Eppleton secured only three points, so the relief was huge, when the result came through from Lilywhite Terrace that bottom club Gateshead Fell had also lost and been relegated.
Hetton Lyons did neighbours Eppleton a huge favour when they beat Fell by four wickets.
The visitors batted first after winning the toss and struggled to get partnerships going, before declaring on 142-9, led by Robert Stacey (40) and Thomas Pinkney (32)
Ben Whitehead was outstanding for Lyons, taking 5-60 in 15.3 overs, while Eddie Watson and Cameron Grimwood both struck twice.
Lyons were in deep trouble at one stage on 116-5 and Fell must have thought they had a great opportunity to win and escape the dreaded drop.
But opener Jonathan Malkin held it all together, to score 65 off 99 balls, including nine fours, to seal Gateshead’s relegation.
Andrew Lormor saw them home with an unbeaten 26, with two wickets apiece for Sam Roseby and Andrew Porter not enough for Fell.
Champions Chester-le-Street, drew their match at Newcastle when bad light stopped play at Osbourne Avenue, but the home side were on top at the end.
The title winners posted 232, with skipper John Coxon making 49 and John Harrison 35 not out, batting at nine. Richard Stanyon, Oliver McGee and Jacques Du Toit each took two wickets.
In reply, Newcastle were 213-4 when the umpires called it a day, with Oliver McGee 47 not out and Jacques Du Toit with a blistering 109 not out, including eight sixes. They duly had to settle for a draw and finished a very creditable runner-up.
Durham Academy hammered lacklustre Stockton, who have finished the season very poorly.
A Ross Greenwell century (105) set them on their way and then Asher Hart scored 56 not out after Liam Trevaskis made 41, when opening the batting with Greenwell, in the youngsters’ 226-3.
Stockton were then skittled for just 39, with only skipper Kevin Ward making double figures (12). At one stage they were 4-4 and 16-5, with Hart (4-12) the main bowler, while Josh Coughlin, George Harrison and Oliver Gibson each took two wickets.
Tynemouth finished third after securing a win at Whitburn by six wickets.
David Hymers took 4-70 in the home side’s total of 188, with Ross Carty making 44, opener Dan Shurben 38, Paul Shields 31 and Lee Henderson 22.
Then a century partnership of 101 eased Tynemouth home, with Ben Debnam hitting 89 not out and Matty Brown scoring 41. Kieran Waterson grabbed 3-57 for Whitburn.
South Shields held on for a three-run victory in an exciting game at Benwell Hill.
Needless to say, bowlers were on top and Shields, batting first, only managed 101, with Sameet Brar (5-22) and Max Williamson (3-31) impressing.
Opener Luke Henderson’s 23 and a patient 21 from Gary Dunn proved invaluable.
Chris Stewart returned 5-30 and Tim David 3-18 to seal Shields’ success as Benwell Hill fell for 98, skipper Mark Dale top-scoring (21).