‘Ell’ of a blow for struggling Sunderland

Sunderland bowl against visitors Whitburn on Saturday. Picture by David Allan
Sunderland bowl against visitors Whitburn on Saturday. Picture by David Allan
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Dukes North East Premier League Premier Division by Chris West

SUNDERLAND’S woes continued as they crashed to a 93-run derby defeat at the hands of Whitburn on Saturday.

The Ashbrooke defeat leaves them looking over their shoulders at bottom club Gateshead Fell.

The second-bottom Wearsiders had three bowlers in form at Ashbrooke, Arsalan Rahim (4-58), David Hill (3-35) and Imran Shah (3-25) all doing their bit in helping bowl Whitburn out for 207 in just 40.3 overs.

Neil Ayre (41 from 41 balls) and then Michael Turns (73 not out from 84 balls) were the decisive contributions for the Villagers, before Sunderland’s run chase fell apart in dramatic fashion.

The home team had eased their way to 48-2 before Mark Elliott was introduced to the attack. The middle order then ran for the hills as Elliott sparked a collapse that saw the next five wickets go down for just six runs.

Despite some late defiance, the home team slid to 114 all out, with Elliott ending with 6-24 from 16 devastating overs.

Hetton Lyons have it all to do after failing to win their crucial top-of-the-table encounter at South Northumberland.

There wasn’t too much of the unexpected, an attritional game of cricket between the two leading sides ending all square and providing a stalemate which pleased South North far more than Hetton Lyons.

This looked to be the big opportunity for Lyons to make up some of the significant ground between themselves and the Bulls, but instead they ended the day a further four points adrift and now South North head into the last seven games of the summer with a handsome 44-point lead.

Careful is probably the word best used to describe the home team’s first innings.

They eased their way through 65 overs to finish on 214-8, Karl Turner unusually restrained before being run out for 49 from 110 balls, and skipper John Graham providing solidity with 49 from 105 balls before he became one of Lal Kumar’s five victims.

David Edwards then added some late impetus with an unbeaten 49 from just 47 balls.

A solid start by the visitors, with Allan Worthy making 36 from 87 balls, looked to be setting the Lyons up for an assault on the target, but the introduction of Dave Rutherford completely blew any victory notions apart as he took 5-21 in an opening 14-over burst, and went on to finish with 6-23 from 17 as Hetton looked for salvation rather than success to end on 151-8 from their 55 overs.

Chester-le-Street took champions Stockton apart at Ropery Lane, the Cestrians piling on 300-6 in 58.4 overs before rolling the Teessiders over for 208 to secure a 92-run victory.

Youngster George Harrison took the main batting plaudits, hitting 21 fours in an immaculate 123 scored from 165 balls, although the evergreen Quentin Hughes was not that far behind, his 96 coming from 117 balls as the pair shared in a memorable third-wicket partnership worth 156 runs. A half-century from the in-form Andrew Smith rounded things off.

Stockton were immediately holed below the water line in their reply, Callum Thorp causing them to slump to 40-4. After that, it seemed only a matter of time although the visitors’ lower order did put up some fight before Thorp (6-52) returned to finish them off.

Benwell Hill and Blaydon both won to narrow the gap on the leading pair, Hill’s Zohaib Khan having one of his dominant games to unseat Tynemouth and Blaydon scrambling over the line against Gateshead Fell with just three wickets to spare.

Newcastle picked up only their third win of the summer, bowling Durham Academy out for 165 courtesy of a five-wicket haul from Jacques du Toit. Graham Clark then cracked 48 from 36 balls to set up a six-wicket win.