Hetton Lyons secured a crushing victory to end Durham Academy’s good run of form in stunning fashion on Saturday.
The Academy youngsters managed to make just 133, with youngster Scott Steel top-scoring with 46, with three fours and a six, while Sol Bell added 26 and Chris McBridge 19.
Ben Whitehead was the pick of the Lyons’ bowlers, retuning splendid figures of 4-42, off 19.4 overs.
In reply, the Lyons knocked off the runs for just one wicket, with Jonathan Malkin (45no, with six boundaries) and Chris Martin (87no, with 12 fours and three sixes) impressing.
Eppleton stayed 36 points clear of bottom club Gateshead Fell after avoiding defeat in their crunch clash at Eastwood Gardens.
Fell decided to bat first and made 238-6 in 60 overs, with Richard Smith (95) and Thomas Pinkney (63) leading the way, with Sam Roseby adding 30. Paul Davidson took 2-47
Eppleton replied with an outstanding, unbeaten century from opener Kyle Davis (102), with 11 fours off 158 balls, helping them to a score of 216-7, which was just 23 runs short of victory, with Andrew Porter returning 4-61.
Abhijal Mansingh made 26, with Jack McBeth adding 22 and Liam Dixon 16 not out.
Despite a brilliant century from South Shields opener Tim David (126no), and carrying his bat, his team still lost at home to neighbours Whitburn by two wickets.
The total of 179 was not enough, with Kieran Waterson taking 5-41 and Jeremy Benton 3-61.
When the visitors batted, opener Daniel Shurben’s fine 70 included 13 fours to give them a positive start. With Joseph Coyne adding 39, with six boundaries, they won the game, despite been in trouble at 136-6. Ross Carty and Luke Smith put on 36 for the seventh wicket for the win.
Sam Embleton took 3-35 for Shields.
Chester-le-Street are still leading the way at the top and in fact increased their lead to 22 points after their 172-run home win over Stockton, their sixth on the trot.
The Cestrians’ sensational run continued as they powered to 284-6 declared, with Andrew Smith (92), John Coxon (40) and Liam Simpson (52no) on song.
That gave their bowlers plenty of runs to defend. Quentin Hughes (3-23) and Gurman Randhawa (3-33) did the damage as the visitors were skittled for just 112.
Benwell Hill skipper Kyle Coetzer (134no) hit his third century of the season as they gained nine points in their fight for survival, with a valuable draw at home to South North, who are up into second place.
The home side now have a 24-point cushion over second-bottom Eppleton.
South North batted first and declared on 236-7.
John Graham led the way with 66 off 81 balls and opener Simon Birtwisle added 43. Peter Jones took a creditable 4-61 for the hosts.
Coetzer was at his very best, with 16 fours and one maximum off 139 balls and kept his team in the game, despite losing wickets all around him, in a final total of 192-9.
Newcastle, without a win in three games now, fell further behind the leaders after losing at home to Tynemouth.
Incredibly, they were reduced to 10-5, with Finn Lonnberg removing both openers without troubling the scorers. With Andrew Smith taking a brilliant 6-65, it was left to skipper Jacques Du Toit (49) to set to a modest total of 155.
The visitors were well set at 101-3, but then collapsed to 117-7, due to the bowling of Oliver McGee (3-57) and Michael Allan (3-34). However, a solid 28-run partnership between late-order batsmen Andrew Smith and David Hymers eased their team to victory.