WITH their third win in five games – and one of the biggest possible scalps into the bargain – Sunderland moved up into third place in the NEPL Premier Division table on Saturday.
Champions South North looked to be in the ascendancy at the Ashbrooke interval after Joe Coyne (5-30) and Lee Crozier (5-63) combined to bowl Sunderland out for 120 in 41 overs, but after that the Bulls batting blew up in the face of some hostile bowling, the top eight batsmen making just 22 runs between them.
After staring into the abyss of 30-8 some face saving runs from nine, ten, jack brought a slightly better look to the final score of 89, but the match-winning plaudits belonged to Mitch Claydon (4-29) and Kieran Waterson (5-15) as a jubilant Sunderland celebrated a famous victory.
It was also a good day for Hetton Lyons, who beat Durham Academy to move from fourth bottom to fourth from the top of the league.
Lal Kumar was their man-of-the-match as he hit an unbeaten 77 following 16 overs as opening bowler in which he took three wickets.
The Academy were bowled out for 195 in 61 overs with Graham Clark (78 from 112 balls) and James Weighell ( 32 from 34 balls) showing their outstanding ability.
Two wickets apiece for Ryan Pringle and Jon Malkin played their part along with Kumar (3-52).
The overseas star’s batting display was even more effective as he carefully saw the Lyons over the winning line after they had lost their first five wickets for 92, his winning runs coming in an unbroken partnership of 104 with Malkin (48 not out).
Kumar hit 13 fours as he faced 134 balls and Malkin saw the ball cross the rope five times in a 96 ball unbeaten knock of 48 for Hetton to win by five wickets.
Chester-le-Street are starting to flex their muscles, victory at Denefield representing their best league result to date. Blaydon found few home comforts when entertaining the Cestrians and fell to an 86 run defeat after crumbling to 113 all out when set a target of 199-9.
The Cestrians built their 60.4 over total around Simon Birtwisle, who hit eight fours and two sixes in his 98-ball innings of 71 as Chris Varley (4-31) and Graeme Bridge (3-57) showed that spin could prosper.
And that was all the encouragement Chester’s David Foster needed as he bagged 5-36 after Jon Kean (3-32) had made the early breakthroughs.
The crunch relegation battle looked to be going in South Shields favour after a brilliant bowling display from Shields skipper Mattie Muchall.
He bagged an impressive return of 7-25 from his 15 overs to leave his team requiring just 137 to win, but the Shields batters couldn’t solve the Morse code and slumped to 97 all out as Phil Morse (6-24) and David Hymers (4-37) ran riot.
Victory took Tynemouth out of the bottom two as Gateshead Fell’s five-wicket defeat at Stockton left them locked on 25 points with Shields at the foot of the table.
The Teessiders’ latest success liftedthem 33 points clear at the top of the table as the surprise early leaders.