Dukes ECB NEPL Division One
DIVISION One leaders South Shields sank at the Harbour as hosts Seaham pulled of an outstanding one-wicket win with just six balls of the match remaining.
Shields put on 200-9 before declaring as soon as the double century came up.
The evergreen Mike Fishwick was top man with 60 from 80 balls, while Peter Hambleton took 4-46 for the home team who were given 55 overs to knock off the runs.
Sixteen fours from Ian Pattison in a rousing 108-ball 92 turned the Harbour lights on, and despite a brilliant spell from Chris Stewart (5-27) it was the experience and nerve of Jeff Laws, with an unbeaten 31, that saw Seaham to a thrilling one-wicket success which threatened to blow the title race wide open.
But amazingly that threat never materialized as second-placed Washington also crashed to defeat, while third-placed Sacriston could only garner a modest return from a stalemate at Eppleton.
The net result for Shields was that, despite losing, they actually increased their lead over the chasing pack from 31 to 35 points, and with just five games to go time is fast running out for the rest.
Boldon were the team lowering Washington’s colours. Skipper Chris Ellison led from the front, his 61 from 130 balls defining the fighting spirit needed in bowler friendly conditions, and despite Andrew Ebdale’s four wickets the home team managed to scrape together a decent enough 183-8 from their 55 overs occupation of the crease.
Washington never got going in their reply, slumping to 43-4 before Ashley Thorpe did his best to restore flagging confidence with an unbeaten 52. Two run outs didn’t help the visitors cause as they tried to at least claim a draw, and with Neil Johnson (3-44) on song, along with Murtuza Hussain (2-31) and Phil Shakespeare (2-20), it was Boldon who triumphed by 53 runs as the visitors were bowled out for 130.
It wasn’t too different a story at Eppleton where the home team managed to make 210 against Sacriston, losing their last wicket on the final ball of the 55th over. Kyle Davis (52 from 115 balls) top scored, with four other batsmen making 27 each, while Callum Appleby (4-25) and Jonathan Rudolf (3-38) helped put the brakes on when a higher total was threatened when the home team stood on 163-4.
Mo Ali (56 from 99 balls) gave the visitors run chase some early hope, but then a 13 over spell from Craig Scurr, in which he claimed 5-47, completely took the wind out of Sacriston sails, and when their eighth wicket went down on 131 they were just pleased to salvage a draw as Phil Peel and Jack Keall held firm to take their team through to the safety of 152-8 at the close.
South Hetton remain firmly anchored to the foot of the table after losing out to second-bottom Willington by two wickets.
Only two Hetton players, Kamran Shah (25) and Omar Shahid (33), made it to double figures as their team slid from 55-1 to 130 all out, and despite four wickets from Shahid and three from Talab Ramzan, Willington managed to scrape home with their ninth wicket pair sharing an unbroken match winning stand worth 22 runs.
Despite a pretty abysmal run of form Brandon will feel they’re in with a title shout again after their 73-run victory at Felling lifted them to fourth, just 43 points behind the leaders.
A 37-ball half century from number seven Eddie Watson boosted his side from a parlous 76-6 to an all out 160, and that proved far too many for the home team who were bowled out for 87 in a helter skelter 23 overs, that man Watson (4-51) being given brilliant assistance by Jamie Robinson, who took 5-17 in nine overs.