WEST Indian Test star Nelon Pascal enjoyed a successful relaunch of his Boldon career by taking six wickets on his second coming, but it wasn’t enough to earn his team victory as Willington hadn’t read the script and spoilt the homecoming party in the Dukes ECB NEPL First Division.
Pascal struck in his very first over and then added three more victims in quick succession to leave Willington tottering on 45-5 in a rain-reduced game.
But Ross Hodgson (36) stood firm to allow the visitors to partially recover, and though Pascal ended with 6-49 the target had been edged up to 130.
This would normally have been well within Boldon’s compass, but they also suffered a jittery start losing their first three wickets with only 25 on the board. Zaheer Shahbaz was the thorn in the side, and the match almost turned into a personal duel between him and Michael Walker.
Walker won his particular battle, ending unbeaten with 67 to his name, but Shahbaz had the rest under the cosh and he took out the lower order with minimum fuss to end with 6-35, Boldon subsiding from 81-5 to 114 all out.
The only other winners were Washington.
A delayed start saw the game at Seaham Harbour reduced to 71 overs, but a 119-run opening partnership between Andrew Stephenson (59) and Shaun McKenna (50) got the Harbour away to a great start, and they went on to post a respectable 198-6 in 38 overs as Jack Lacey brought the innings to a rousing conclusion with an unbeaten 33 scored from just six balls faced.
With 33 overs to get the runs, Washington succeeded with two balls to spare as Ashley Thorpe (57) and Lee Rushworth (48) gave them the necessary impetus.
Sacriston and Brandon had to settle for a share of the spoils in their game, but the home side will be rueing their inability to dislodge Brandon’s last pair who survived five overs.
Sacriston used up their full quota of 55 overs in posting a challenging 228-9, Ben Hall hitting five fours and three sixes in his top scoring 62, and Bryan Potts, Ian Hunter and Mo Ali all contributing scores in the 30’s.
And it was “Moh the pro” who put Brandon on the rack when they replied, sending down 13 overs to pick up figures of 4-47.
Number eight Eddie Watson decided valour was the better part of discretion and launched four sixes in a defiant 37, and when he went the last pair repelled all efforts to dislodge them in the last five frantic fovers, Brandon clinging on at 182-9.
Whitburn managed to squeeze 12 points out of their rain-affected game at South Hetton, a return that keeps them on top of the early-season table.
Stuart Walker was yet again the main man, hitting 11 fours and two sixes in his 64 which was the mainstay of Whitburn’s 40 over total of 181-9.
He then took 3-16 in eight overs to dampen South Hetton’s hopes of a successful run chase, and the home team settled for the draw long before the end when they were 121-6.
In the day’s final game, Kyle Davis (53) and Liam Mallaburn (55) got Eppleton away well at Felling, and with Neil Young adding 47 the visitors were able to declare on 224-7, but the home team were never really in with a chance of victory after losing early wickets and settled for a draw on 189-7.