INSPIRATIONAL Lal Kumar led Hetton Lyons to another impressive Dukes North East Premier League Premier Division victory on Saturday.
The Lilywhite Terrace outfit remain among the championship hopefuls in fourth place, even though they are well behind in the chase for honours.
Lyons hosted Newcastle and knocked off an impressive 263-6 in 56.3 overs after their visitors had declared.
A run-a-ball partnership between Jacques du Toit, who hit an unbeaten 105, and Durham’s Michael Richardson (73) looked set to push the Tynesiders towards victory, but Kumar had other ideas.
A magnificent innings of 95 from 94 balls, with 13 fours and two sixes, together with a half-century from Jarvis Clay and an unbeaten 48 from Jonny Malkin, took Lyons to a six-wicket win in sensational style.
Kumar and Malkin featured in a stand of 92. Earlier, Richardson, who just the day before contributed an invaluable half-century in Durham’s County Championship win over Warwickshire, must have thought he was on a winner again as he shared the honours in a stand of 109 with du Toit.
Chester-le-Street grabbed their fourth win to move a point closer to leaders Stockton, having made second place their own, 18 points clear of the chasing pack.
Tynemouth were the victims, with their bowlers unable to contain an impressive trio of run-makers as the Cestrians declared on 286-6 after 60 overs.
Skipper Quentin Hughes got the show on the road with 61 as opener – he hit 10 fours – to be followed by a superb ton from Liam Simpson and an unbeaten half-century from Chris Martin.
Simpson fell for 107 on the last ball of the 60 overs, having hit 16 fours and two sixes, and then struck with a wicket in his first over.
He went on to claim the undisputed man-of-the-match rating with 3-33. With David Foster picking up 5-31, Tynemouth were bundled out for 141 in just 34.2 overs.
Ruhan Pretorius did his best to inspire the losers by taking three wickets and hitting 60, but the Cestrians’ win by 145 runs showed real glimpses of their old power.
Sunderland enjoyed a narrow win over Durham Academy to move up a place to sixth.
The students were bowled out for 157, with James Thompson’s 27 runs the highest individual score. Ian Stephenson (3-54), Matthew Dowell (2-10) and James Davies (2-11) all gave the Academy batters problems.
But there were equally good performances with the ball for the hosts from Ollie Ashford (3-25) and Andrew Ireland (2-29) before Simon Brown, unbeaten on 89, got Sunderland over the line with just two wickets to spare.
New Zealand international Tom Latham has lifted the gloom around South Shields since his arrival 10 days ago.
He hit his second successive century as Shields, previously struggling for points, almost pulled off their first victory of the season.
Latham’s 107, and an equally attractive knock of 124 from Gordon Muchall, shattered the normally powerful South North attack, who then found it became a struggle for their batsmen to fight back.
They hung on for a draw, with Shields getting the bigger share of the points.
Table-toppers Stockton remain 28 points ahead of their nearest rivals after beating powerful Blaydon, their sixth win in eight games, while Gateshead Fell’s plight deepened as their defeat by Benwell Hill left them pointless and now 21 points adrift of rejuvenated South Shields.