Brandon take full advantage with win

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Dukes ECB NEPL First Division

WITH four matches completely washed out, the only games left standing in the First Division were at Brandon and Boldon, the two clubs who started the day in first and second positions in the table.

And Brandon took full advantage of the golden opportunity handed to them with their fourth win in four outings, as a result of which they were able to extend their lead over Boldon, who had to settle for the bigger share of the spoils in a stalemate with not enough time to force a victory.

Boldon tried to force the issue as best they could when batting first against Sacriston, Stewart Poynter demonstrating his class with five fours and two sixes in an attacking innings of 76.

Tommy Nixon then continued his great start to his time at Boldon, an unbeaten 31 providing the home team with the chance to close their innings after 35 overs on 172-6, and leaving themselves 31 overs to have a crack at bowling Sacriston out.

For the visitors, Graham Hubber and Ian Hunter picked up a couple of wickets each.

Sacriston were never in the hunt when the run chase began, Ian Male delivering a first-class eight-over spell in which he picked up 3-21.

Phil Peel’s 32, which included three boundaries, was comfortably the best, and it took the steadying influence of Bryan Potts (20 not out) and Hubber (10 not out) to ensure

There were no late alarms as Sacriston settled in for the draw on 101-6.

Sacriston’s six points kept them comfortably in mid-table, while Boldon’s 12 strengthened their grip on second spot – they are now 16 points ahead of Washington – but left them a further eight behind Brandon, who picked up 20 for their home win over Tudhoe.

Tudhoe came into the league with high hopes of challenging for the title, but after Saturday’s hammering – bowled out for 44 – their immediate priority will be to concentrate on extricating themselves from the danger zone. They are now third bottom, just six points above the relegation slot.

Eddie Watson (2-24) and Sairaj Raghavan (2-1) were proven accomplices in a murder, but the main culprit was Jamie Robinson, who took six wickets for 14 runs in nine devastating overs.

At one time, Tudhoe were tootling along at 28 without loss, but then three wickets fell on that score, the roof caved in and all 10 went down for 16 runs, the last five for just three.

Patrick Stephenson did claim a couple of consolation wickets for traumatised Tudhoe, but Brandon had the game won and 20 points in the bag inside 14 overs, with Ryan Nicholson 19 not out.

They now enjoy a healthy 20-point lead in the hunt for promotion, with many of the teams expected to challenge them now some way in their wake after suffering badly at the hands of the weather.