Seaham Harbour’s hopes of taking a significant stride towards safety after being handed a surprise lifeline in their relegation battle suffered a setback as they went down by 95 runs to promotion-chasing Felling on Saturday.
Harbour started the week at the foot of the table, but then the NEPL Match Play committee awarded them 23 points for the game at Washington on April 23, which had been washed out when all others were played – the 23 points being 15 for a win plus the average bonus points (eight) gained by other sides on that day.
This surprise bonus lifted Harbour’s heads above the relegation waters, but a six-point return from the defeat at Felling means they are going to have to continue looking over their shoulders for the time being.
Felling began the season as one of the promotion favourites, and they are now gathering a head of steam.
Their performance was pretty impressive as they pounded out a total of 237-8 in 43 overs.
Ian Hunter made 88, Stuart Walker 41 and Bryan Potts 50, and then the Tynesiders bundled Harbour out for 142 inside 33 overs, only Mark Marwood showing any real defiance with 55, though Umar Akhtar added 32.
Anthony Trotter bagged 4-36, with Paul Leonard and Mark Turner each taking three wickets.
Craig Stephenson and Martin Stephenson both struck twice for Harbour.
The win took Felling to level top with Willington, who defeated Blaydon easily enough but dropped some points in the process despite a virtuoso performance by Will Phillips (5-47 and 72 not out) in a five wicket success.
Sacriston are the team chasing the leading pair, but Boldon have also arrived in the picture after picking up a maximum points return from their thrashing of a Tudhoe team who are now all on their own at the foot of the table.
Sacriston’s third victory of the summer came at home against Brandon, but it was an attritional rather than absorbing display.
The visitors were bowled out for 124 in 44 overs , Nathan Adamson (26) and Ryan Nicholson (220 top-scoring, and Sacriston then eased their way to a five-wicket success after initially getting into a spot of bother in the chase.
The Hubber boys, Graham and Martin, shared six wickets as the visitors were held in check, and it was Martin who Sacriston turned to in their hour of need with the bat.
Moin Ashraf (3-37) had caused some panic in the home dressing room as four wickets were lost with just 43 on the board, but Hubber’s stubborn 39 not out from 83 balls, accompanied by a more attacking 39 from Mel Betts, gradually lifted concerns.
Great work by Danny Thexton and Ian Grainger, who both scored half-centuries, suggested Tudhoe were in line for a big score at Boldon.
But then a sensational spell of bowling by Durham’s Calum MacLeod (with five wickets for just eight runs) meant the visitors’ last six batsmen contributed the grand total of one run between them.
With just 165 to chase, MacLeod then rubbed salt into the gaping wound as he crashed seven fours and five sixes in a quickfire 80 not out from 50 balls, joining Umar Waheed (73 not out) in rattling off the home win inside 32 overs.
The loss of 13 overs to the rain was probably costly for Burnmoor (218-3 declared from 43 overs) as they were unable to squeeze out a win over lowly Sunderland (180-8 in 49 overs).
The outcome proved a disappointment for Stephen Meek (95 from 72 balls), who shared a first-wicket partnership of 110 with Matthew Whaley (53) which went a long way to making up for the lost time. Paul Craig added 39 not out.
Chris Dorothy (35) and Zaheer Shahbaz (44no) top-scored in Sunderland’s reply, Karl Bellerby plundering 3-25.
Following Seaham Harbour’s points uplift, Sunderland are now second bottom, 10 points above Tudhoe.