Eppleton endured derby day disappointment as they crashed to a 52-run defeat at Hetton Lyons in the first ever duel between the sides at the summit of the NEPL.
It was almost inevitably going to be a day for bowlers given the wretched weather in the run-up to the match, and so it proved as the ball dominated the bat.
Somewhat surprisingly, Lyons decided to take first dig when winning the toss, and at 59-5 they were possibly regretting such bravado, but first Chris Martin (22), and then Adam Shaw (37 not out), dug in and edged the hosts up to 140-7.
Liam Dixon, who bowled superbly in a 20-over stint, then wrapped up the innings for 143 in the space of a few deliveries, ending with an impressive 5-39.
Eppleton’s run chase never got off the ground as Eddie Watson (3-21) undermined the top order, and Ben Whitehead then put the visitors in a tailspin as they crumbled to 91 all out, the only redeeming feature being a battling 97-ball 48 from 19-year-old Jamaican Abhijai Mansingh.
Whitburn, bubbling after their emphatic opening win against Durham Academy , came a bit of a cropper at Newcastle, who made all the running after winning the toss.
The Jesmond side never took their foot off the Whitburn throat, making full use of the early juice in the pitch, Callum Harding (3-33), Jacques du Toit (4-30) and Ollie McGee (2-12) proving a terrific trio as the visitors struggled through 35.3 overs before their final wicket fell on 112. Paul Shields (29) top-scored.
Sean Tindale (59 not out) and Aussie Nick Hobson (49 not out) then shared five sixes and 14 boundaries as Newcastle raced to a 10-wicket win in 19.1 overs.
Chester-le-Street suffered another frustrating day, unable to prise out hosts South Shields as 114 overs ended in stalemate.
The batsmen did their bit, after slipping to 24-3, a fourth-wicket stand of 120 restoring confidence, and a late flourish took the Cestrians to a 241-5 declared after 56 overs.
Experience did the trick for Chester, Richard Waite (60 in 87 balls) and Quentin Hughes (91 in 121 balls) repairing the early damage in admirable fashion.
Shields’ response was measured at first, 69-1 reached before the telling blow when Tim David went for an 88-ball 40.
His departure heralded a collapse that threatened defeat, with six wickets going down for just 31 runs, but the home batsmen had long since given up the victory ghost and resisted defiantly, particularly Mark Appleton whose 14 runs absorbed 83 balls.
The innings closed on 107-7 after 58 overs, 19 of which, sent down by Gurman Randhawa, told the story – 14 were maidens and his final figures were 3-13.
Durham Academy succumbed by 67 runs to South North.
Josh Coughlin could take the most pleasure from the defeat, his splendid figures of 5-37 from 14.4 overs managing to rein in the champions to 196-9 after they had threatened many more when advancing to 122-1.
He also made 22 runs in Academy’s reply, but Lee Crozier extended his record-breaking league career haul of wickets by seven as South North moved 17 points clear at the top of the table.
Gateshead Fell crashed to a dispiriting 15-run home defeat to Tynemouth despite only being set a target of 99, while the weather was the only winner at Denton Bank where only 57 overs of play were possible between Benwell Hill and Stockton.