BOLDON could be revving up for their usual second-half-of-the-season charge, with victory at Seaham Harbour lifting them above their beaten opponents and into sixth place of the Dukes North East Premier League First Division.
Michael Walker’s 72-ball innings of 66, which included 11 boundaries, came at just the right time for Boldon, and they eventually totalled 232 in 49.4 overs, backed by Neil Mulvaney (32), Chris Ellison (26), James Carroll (22) and Murtuza Hussain (21).
Stewart Pattison took the bowling honours with 4-33 from 15 overs, while Craig Stephenson and Jack Lacey both struck twice.
Harbour struggled to keep afloat when the run chase set sail, and the persistence of Hussain and Lawrence Wood paid off as they shared eight wickets as the hosts slumped to 160 all out. Nathan Newton top-scored with 36, supported by Andrew Stephenson (20), Craig Stephenson and Dale Shaw (19 apiece).
Washington endured late heartache as, for the second week in succession, South Shields held their nerve to win a desperately close contest to remain top of the pile.
Sacriston, meanwhile, sent out a clear message of intent as they overwhelmed South Hetton to go second as Eppleton slipped to defeat at Brandon.
Shields’ wisdom of signing a second Durham player last midweek was amply demonstrated by Michael Richardson’s top-scoring 65 which, along with a late 49 from Ollie Stedman gave Shields a total of 182 to defend.
And defend it they did, but only just as the visitors got to within five runs before losing their final wicket to the splendid Andrew Elliott, who finished with figures of 4-38.
Sacriston turned in the almost perfect display in disposing of South Hetton by 146 runs.
Mo Ali hit 14 fours and a six on his way to 93 from 125 balls, and while he and Martin Hubber (56 in 97 balls) were sharing an expansive second-wicket partnership it looked like the home team were destined for a mammoth total.
But South Hetton pulled it back a little as Talab Ramzan claimed three wickets, although his efforts proved to be in vain as a three-pronged home attack whistled through the visiting batting line-up in just 23.2 overs.
Ian Hunter (4-21), Callum Appleby (3-30) and Martin Hubber (3-18) were the deadly trio as South Hetton were skittled for 91, Ramzan (23), Kamran Shah (19) and Nathan Walton (11no) the only batters to reach double figures.
With Eppleton going down by 34 runs at Brandon, Sacriston’s 30-point success took them into second spot, just 13 points behind Shields, but 24 points clear of the chasing pack.
Brandon had plenty of input at the top of their order as John Carmedy top-scored with 47, and Lewis Newby added 36, and they felt confident enough to declare after 50 overs on 193-8, Garry Purcell picking up the best return of 3-17 in the Eppleton attack, while Craig Scurr returned 2-35.
The chase did not start well for the visitors as they slipped to 47-5, and it took a defiant 41 from Liam Irving, alongside an unbeaten 29 from Purcell, to give their team a chance of salvaging at least a draw before that hope was dashed as the last two wickets quickly fell on 159. Jamie Robinson snatched 5-49 and Chris Winn 3-36.
In the day’s final game, Felling secured their first win of the season, scraping home by two wickets at Willington, who are now 32 points adrift of second bottom South Hetton at the foot of the table.
Ant Trotter (5-36) and Paul Leonard (3-36) combined to bowl Willington out for 158, and then Leonard held his nerve, with his unbeaten 37 easing Felling to victory despite their seventh wicket going down with 33 still needed.