Sunderland’s plight at the foot of the First Division table deepened on Saturday after they were soundly beaten by rock-bottom Tudhoe, who leap-frogged their defeated opponents to leave the Ashbrooke club in the relegation slot.
Tudhoe had not won prior to the weekend, but there again neither had Sunderland, so the manner of the loss was particularly concerning, with the home team emerging triumphant by 108 runs after making 234 in 51 overs.
Kamran Hussain (4-61) and Jaspreet Singh (4-37) shared eight wickets for Sunderland, but they came at a cost as the Tudhoe twosome of Yaspal Singh and Ian Grainger both made scores in the 60s, with nine boundaries apiece, aided by 29 from Jamie Kirkbride.
The run chase wasn’t too edifying, the only bit of resistance coming when Usman Arshad (54 from 106 balls) shared a stand of 43 with Jonny Shurben (23) which took the visitors from 57-5 to 100-6.
Once the pair were parted, the end was relatively swift as the five-man Tudhoe attack all claimed at least one wicket. Grainger led the way with 3-33 in 12.5 overs.
The defeat left Sunderland nine points behind their conquerors, and a further five behind Washington, who became Sacriston’s latest victims.
Washington made a decent enough start when they took first dig at Harraton, reaching 40 before the first wicket fell, but then it became a procession as Mel Betts (15 overs 5-18) and Graeme Bridge (3-44) turned the screw with the home team fading to 139-9 in their full 55 overs.
Ashley Thorpe made a useful 44 down the order, with five fours and a six, but only the openers, Daniel Anderson (24) and Adam Khan (28) topped 20.
Sacriston’s chase did not get off to the best of starts, with two down and only seven runs on the board, but an unbeaten 64 from Martin Hubber, with 13 boundaries, settled nerves with the game won inside 30 overs.
Craig Burke made 33, with Reece Carr unbeaten on 23. Trent Mais took two of the wickets to fall.
The victory lifted Sacriston above Felling and into second spot, just a point behind Willington, who had to settle for a modest draw at Brandon, for whom Chris Peareth made 93, with 12 boundaries.
Willington hit back to draw after being reduced to 15-4 as Moin Ashraf grabbed three of his four-wicket haul.
Felling’s demise was even more surprising as they went down by four wickets at Blaydon, who had not won a game before then.
Burnmoor notched up their third win of the summer, but only just as they defeated hosts Mainsforth by the slender margin of 10 runs.
The visitors laboured through 54.3 overs before losing their last wicket on 108, Jonny Barnes the main thorn in their sides in a 15-over stint in which he conceded just eight runs and claimed four wickets.
But Aussie Liam Purdy was to become the main man for Burnmoor – after top scoring with 39 he went on to claim five wickets as the home side crumbled to 98 all out.
Boldon stayed in touch with the leaders, but not by as much as they would have liked after finding Seaham Harbour to be stubborn opponents who were no prepared to give an inch.
Chris Ellison was in superb touch for Boldon, stroking 12 fours and three sixes as he carried his bat through the 48-over innings to end with 120 to his name from 138 balls faced.
The skipper shared in two century stands, firstly with Nick Sampson-Barnes (37) as 108 was put on for the first wicket, and then 120 with Umar Waheed, who cracked 60 from 58 balls.
Calum MacLeod weighed in with 30, while Andrew Boal grabbed 2-53.
Set a daunting 265-3, Harbour decided to dig in, with Dale Shaw (38) and Craig Stephenson (36, off just 34 balls) sharing an unbroken partnership of exactly 50 which took Seaham from a wobbly 110-5 to the sanctuary of 160-5 at the close of 57 overs.
Opener Michael Nunn contributed a patient 34 from 94 balls, with seven boundaries, while Ian Pattison added 31. Waheed was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4-33.