NE Premier League Div One: Swashbuckling skipper Applegarth leads Sunderland home in mammoth run chase at Boldon

Eppleton bowler Joe Dodd powers in to deliver to Washington batsman Mel Betts
Eppleton bowler Joe Dodd powers in to deliver to Washington batsman Mel Betts
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A sensational innings from Sunderland skipper Greg Applegarth stunned Boldon as they failed to defend a formidable total of 276-2 in a run-fest.

The home team raced to their impressive score in just 49.2 overs, an opening stand of 148 only ended when Nick Sampson-Barnes fell for a swashbuckling 70 which included eight fours and three sixes and used up only 54 balls.

Joe Coyne was then joined by Chris Ellison and the pair continued to plunder the bowling, putting on another 128 before captain Coyne fell for 106, with Ellison left on 74 not out as his skipper declared as soon as his own fun was over.

But, amazingly, the target was to prove woefully inadequate as Sunderland hammered out a brilliant response to win by seven wickets with more than eight overs left unused.

Skipper Applegarth led the blitz, smashing 15 fours and nine sixes before seventh change bowler Ellison eventually called a halt to the carnage by trapping the opener for an amazing 158 made from just 112 balls.

By then, the openers had put on 232 and the race was all but run. Michael Nunn, with a relatively lethargic 85 not out from 143 balls in the context of the game, saw the job through as Sunderland continued their steady climb away from the danger zone.

Rain swept into Washington to wipe away the last 14 overs of an intriguing top-of-the-table contest with Eppleton, but Burnmoor weren’t complaining as victory over Sacriston took them into joint second spot, and seemingly poised for one of their famous second half of the season surges.

It was a vigorously contested Vigo Lane encounter between second-placed Washington and leaders Eppleton.

It was just a shame it didn’t get the ending it deserved as the deteriorating weather lopped a chunk off the day’s play, although the visitors may well see that as a positive as they were looking a little shaky on 105-6, still some 77 runs short of victory.

Washington themselves had been in a spot of bother on 129-8 before a ninth-wicket stand worth 52 runs brought them salvation, Andrew Ebdale (32) and Adam Randall (22) the men combining to thwart an Eppleton attack in which Joe Dodd and Zaheer Shahbaz shared eight wickets.

But then Eppleton had their backs to the wall from the off after Mel Betts and Martin Hubber took out their top four, and the Church Road side were not too unhappy at the early ending as it preserved their unbeaten record and also kept them 10 points ahead of their rivals.

The not unexpected stalemate allowed Burnmoor to spring out of nowhere and back into the title reckoning with an emphatic display against Sacriston.

The visitors trudged their way through 55 overs to end on 177-9, Ian Hunter hitting 52 from 85 balls with six boundaries, but there was little else of note as the home attack, led by a 15-over stint from Stephen Meek that produced figures of 4-33, kept the innings under wraps.

Meek wasn’t so mild with the bat in his hands, establishing the Burnmoor power base with a 59-ball 56, and sharing an opening stand of 84 with Paul Craig which essentially decided the contest.

Craig was then joined by Irosh Samarasooriya, whose name, on this occasion, was almost longer than his innings. The pair rattled up an unbroken partnership of 94 which took the Moor to victory with more than 15 overs to spare, Craig ending on 63 from 92 balls, and Samarasooriya 51 from 56 balls.

South Hetton (151-7) fought out a home draw with Felling (214-8) in a game ended prematurely by the weather, the points gained lifting them to within 13 of second-bottom Sacriston.

Alfred Mothoa and Nathan Adamson both struck twice for South Hetton, whose reply relied on Liam Irving (28), Tariq Aziz (26), Nathan Adamson (25no) and Ammar Mahfooz (19), with Liam Simpson grabbing 4-54.

Seaham Harbour (114-8) also held hosts Brandon (186-9), although the rain helped as it brought the game to a damp conclusion with 14 overs left to be bowled.

Dale Shaw plundered 3-47 for Harbour, backed by two wickets from Nathan Corkhill, as Jordan Grosert and Lewis Newby each hit 35 down the order to rescue Brandon, who had slipped to 52-5.

Shaun Hagan’s unbeaten 24 led Harbour to safety in their struggle of a reply, with Martin Stephenson and Jeff Laws firing 18 apiece.