Hylton threw themselves their expected lifeline in the Division One relegation stakes on Saturday as they completed the regulation 30-point victory over already doomed Boldon CA.
Gary Braithwaite led the charge with 11 fours and two sixes in an undefeated 104 as the Wearsiders clocked up 216-5 in 41 overs.
Bowlers Adam Bewick (6-34) and Alan Mustard (3-9) then filled their boots as CA succumbed for 120 in 30 overs of attacking strokeplay.
Relegation-threatened Bill Quay gave champions elect Esh Winning a real run for their money, and weren’t that far from causing a major upset, needing just 23 more runs for victory with three wickets standing when stumps were drawn.
It wasn’t so much a case of a game of two halves, but a game of two professionals.
Esh’s Bangladeshi international, Suhrawadi Shuvo, was the driving force behind his team’s 45-over declared total of 214-9, with nine fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 90 scored from 85 deliveries.
Quay’s Indian star, Usman Malvi, replied with 63 not out from 64 balls as the home team ended on 192-7 from 41 overs. Each also took four wickets in dominant individual displays.
The 11 points Quay took from the game left them just 12 ahead of Hylton, and they are scheduled to meet each other on August 29 in a meeting which could go a long way to determining their respective fates.
But two other teams are also in the mire.
Just 17 points now separate Hylton, Bill Quay, Easington and Horden, who thought their worries were over but fell back into troubled waters following a 99-run hammering at Durham City.
A half-century from Jake McCann, supported by Cameron Fyfe (30) and Nick Maiolo (31), helped lift the home team to a 50-over total of 205-7, and then a 12-over spell of 4-17 from England women’s international Danni Hazell put the skids under Horden.
The Colliers lost their last wicket on 106 with just three balls of the match remaining. Akshay Jambhekar (33) top-scored, after taking 3-53.
Easington’s descent into the danger zone has been gradual.
Seven games without a win, the last five of which have been draws, have caused the slide, and they were hanging on at Dawdon on Saturday, their last pair surviving several balls to close out on 102-9 in response to their hosts’ 174.
Nathan Newton (70) and Jack Dent (52) top-scored for Dawdon, with Vinit Dhulap (4-32) and Dane Wilson (3-37) best with the ball. Dhulap (42) led Easington’s reply as Mark Ewart bagged 3-19.
It won’t be too long now before Esh Winning are crowned champions despite that draw at Bill Quay as, coupled with Dawdon’s draw, the previously unbeaten Mainsforth lost for the first time this summer making it entirely likely that Esh will be crowned before August is out.
Philadelphia were the team virtually ending Mainsforth’s dream, the Bunker Hill boys successfully chasing down a target of 205-5, victory achieved with just one ball of the match remaining.
Phili needed seven going into the last over, but a six from Ian Hauxwell (36no) relieved the pressure. Earlier, Aussie Ashley Chilcott’s 84-ball 68, plus David Baxter’s 46, had laid the foundations for success. Phili’s Paul Hollinshead grabbed 3-38.
Castle Eden secured a last-ball home win over Crook Town, Richard McGlasham’s 80 being the bedrock of their 151, and then Aat Lindeque (6-25) coming up trumps with the final delivery.