A SURPRISING combination of results on Saturday saw Hylton emerge as the new leaders in a title race that looks like being the most exciting for years.
Joint top before the start of play, Bill Quay could only limp to a draw at Silksworth and with their co-leaders Boldon CA crashing to a shock defeat at Washington, it was Hylton who took advantage with a desperately close home win over Easington to go two points clear.
Hylton are normally a free-scoring outfit, however they struggled against the Easington attack, with only Darren Walton (32) looking like breaking free.
Brian Fenwick senior picked up the best figures of 3-21, but the all-round qualities of the visitors’ attack had Hylton back in the pavilion for just 150.
Jason Moses then raised Easington’s hopes with six fours in a bright 30, but they were then shot down by 15-year-old Alan Davison (4-53) and Owen Williamson, who bowled a superb match-winning 12-over spell for 4-15. The visitors were bowled out for 141 in the 36th over.
Seaham Harbour, meanwhile, moved impressively up to third place with a 10-wicket victory over Peterlee, who were skittled for 104 as Jack Lacey bagged a brilliant haul of 6-26, backed by Anthony Watson’s 4-11. Adam Failey (57no) and Jeff Laws then steered Harbour home.
Boldon CA’s apparent air of invincibility took a knock at Washington where they went down for the first time this season, losing by 24 runs in a defeat that saw them drop to fourth.
All seemed fine at the interval after Washington had been restricted to 160-9 in 50 overs.
Mark Lee cracked three fours and two sixes in a 25-ball 33. However, this was just a cameo as Tommy Nixon (4-27) and Carl Watson (3-34) looked to have things under control.
But then Andy Ebdale (4-50) and Steve King (3-24) got to work, Boldon’s last wicket falling with just two balls of the match remaining.
Chris Pringle (66) and Paul Smailes (30) gave Silksworth an excellent platform in their home game against Bill Quay and even though Mark Cuskeran and Dave Brown shared eight wickets, the Silks were happy with their total of 185.
Bill Gardner (61) looked like unlocking the door for Quay, but Stevie Wright (3-38) and his colleagues in the home attack had other ideas, the visitors just glad to hold on with 152-8.
At Murton, Ryhope’s James Summerside skittled the home side for just 84 with a superb spell in which he took 6-10.
Graeme Robson stood firm amid the wickets with an unbeaten 47, but his efforts were in vain as the visitors cantered to an eight-wicket win, Lee Gilbert hitting 34.
An attritional derby ended honours more or less even, with Dawdon (156-5) making sure Seaham Park (189-3) didn’t have the last laugh.
Davey Hanson (80no) starred for the hosts, backed by Stewart Pattison’s half-century, with Jamie Greenwood top-scoring with an unbeaten 64 for the Green Drive visitors. Shoaib Akhtar added 25 and Amar Purewal added a handy, unbeaten 20 towards the close.
H Sacriston got their Northumberland and Tyneside Senior League title bandwagon back on the road as they hammered Annfield Plain by nine wickets.
Graham Hubber (4-28) and Aussie Kendal Ballard (3-36) dismissed Plain for 114. Melvyn Betts (56no) and Phil Peel (30) steered Sacriston home.