NE Premier League: Four-wicket Ralston leads the way as Lyons roar to victory against Benwell Hill
Hetton Lyons skittled Benwell Hill for 115 to clinch a convincing 41-run Premier Division success at Lilywhite Terrace.
Lyons opted to bat and found life difficult, slipping to 26-2 before Chris Martin’s 45 off 89 balls, with three fours and a six, steadied the ship.
Ben Whitehead hit an unbeaten 21, Stuart Walker made 15 and last-man Victor Spencer added a valuable 16 not out as Lyons ended on 156-9 after 58 overs.
Jacques Snyman (3-33 in 15 overs) took three of the top four wickets, backed by Anthony Hunter (2-28).
Snyman fired three fours and four sixes in a 49-ball 50 as Benwell Hill replied, but he had little support and the Tynesiders were bowled out for 115 in 39 overs.
Chris Ralston enjoyed his day, snaffling 4-30 in 13 overs, while Whitehead (2-39), Jack Burnham (2-16) and Jonny Malkin (2-9) offered excellent support.
Whitburn’s superb start to the season continued with a seven-wicket defeat of Felling at High Heworth Lane.
The home side were asked to make first use of the track and close-season signing Dale Shaw top-scored with 26 in Felling’s 124 all out, with Sean Rowell adding 15, Josh Eaton 14, Joe Carroll 13 and Chris Goudie 12.
Craig Smith was outstanding with the ball for the Villagers, taking 4-29 in 13 overs, with Matthew Muchall bagging 2-26 and Chris Stewart 2-18.
Whitburn lost both openers cheaply, but Chris McBride’s 37 off 88 balls, with four boundaries, and Phillip Bell’s excellent 54 off 74, with seven fours, hurried them home, victory coming after 38 overs. Jackson Edmondstone and Paul Shields both made 10.
Almost 500 runs were piled up at Church Road, but Eppleton came out on the wrong end of an entertaining battle.
The hosts roared to a 176-run first-wicket partnership between Marcus Brown (66, with eight fours, off 122 balls) and Luke Henderson (84, with 12 boundaries, off 145 balls).
The pair fell in quick succession, but Dean Musther’s 45no, with four fours and two sixes, and Joe Coyne’s quickfire 20no helped them declare on a daunting total of 246-4 after 54 overs. Matthew Gill grabbed 2-59.
Unfortunately for Eppleton, Stockton battled well, too, and they got home on 247-7 in 54 overs, led by Tom Hewison’s 80, with 16 boundaries, Gill (53), George Harding (28) and Chris Hooker (22).
Connor Whitelock took 3-68 in vain for Eppleton, while Dom Stuart grabbed 2-55.
Chester-le-Street regained winning ways after their defeat at Whitburn, but they were made to fight for a three-wicket success against Newcastle at Ropery Lane to climb into second place.
The Tynesiders struggled to 138 all out in 53.4 overs, led by Oliver McGee (35), Jacques Du Toit (29) and Callum Harding (28).
Quentin Hughes was the pick of Chester’s bowlers, grabbing 4-34 in 15 overs, while Liam Burgess took 2-26 in 11 and Andrew Smith 2-15.
Smith’s 51-ball 49, featuring three fours and three sixes, guided Chester towards victory, which came, for the loss of seven wickets, in the 39th overs.
Kyle Davis made 18, Jacob McCann 13 and Liam Simpson a vital 25 at No 7. Ben Quirk grabbed 3-50 and McGee 2-41.
Durham Academy defied South Northumberland in forcing a draw at the home of the champions.
The first six batsmen all had good knocks as South North declared on 258-9 after 53 overs.
Adam Cragg and Durham’s Liam Trevaskis each made 40, while Sean Tindale had three fours and a six in 39, John Graham hit 38 and Rob Peyton had eight boundaries in 36.
Adam Ahmed was the pick of the bowlers, with 3-66, while Ryan Davies took 2-27.
The Academy youngsters showed their grit to clinch a draw, with spirited efforts throughout the side. Ross Greenwell hit five fours in 34, while Matthew Oswell made 24, Luke Doneathy 17no and 16 apiece from Davies and Ahmed. Tindale snatched 3-38.
Sacriston went down by six wickets to visitors Tynemouth after being bowled out for 147.
Graeme Bridge top-scored with 10 fours in 47, supported by Daniel Anderson (28), Melvyn Betts (23) and James Thompson (19) as Martin Lee Pollard grabbed 4-3, Andrew Smith 3-29 and Mark Watt 2-10. The last six wickets fell in a real hurry, for the loss of just five runs.
Tynemouth were reduced to 5-2, but Mike Jones (53, with six fours and a six), Watt (54, with five fours and four sixes) and Matthew Brown saw them home in the 37th over.