It remains tight at the top despite Benwell Hill falling to their first defeat of the season in this round of fixtures. At the bottom promoted Felling are struggling to convince they can stay up after a fourth straight defeat.
Eppleton were the higher scorers in a draw with Hetton Lyons.
A second consecutive losing draw for Hetton began with Eppleton putting on 250-9. Captain Dean Musther was the top scorer with 70 and Joseph Coyne also added 62 in what would turn out to be an excellent all round performance. For Hetton Josh Coughlin did not bowl, it is unclear why but one would suspect Durham are looking to manage his workload as the Second XI championship gets into full swing. In reply to 250 Hetton managed 206-8 with Matthew Whaley and Josh Coughlin scoring 45 and 42 respectively. Eppleton’s South African overseas player Jandre Erasmus was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 3 wickets for 44 runs, and Joseph Coyne also picked up three wickets for 57.
Chester-le-Street beat Felling by 100 runs.
Last year’s champions cruised to a comfortable win against the newly promoted side. George Harrison scored 47, Andrew Smith, 45 and wicket keeper Christopher Carter scored 43 as Chester-le-Street finished with 217-5. Five Chester-le-Street bowlers picked up two wickets in an allround team effort with the ball as Felling were bowled out for 117 in reply. Stephen Cantwell’s 4-2 and Ollie Barrett’s 7-2 were the best figures.
South Northumberland were the higher scorers in a draw with Newcastle.
South Northumberland failed to win for the first time this season which meant they could only open up a 7 point gap over Benwell Hill. South North were 224 all out with Simon Birtwisle getting 54 and Calum MacLeod managing 45 in the top order. The team were in a little bit of bother at 161 for 8 but James Ruddick’s 45 from number 9 came as part of a crucial partnership worth 63 to push the score to 224. Jacques Du Toit was the pick of the bowlers for Newcastle with 13-3. Newcastle came close in their chase but the match was called a draw with the side on 211-9. No Newcastle batsman registered a 50 but Alasdair Appleby, Oliver McGee, Joshua Phillipe and Jacques Du Toit were all out in the 30s.
South Shields beat Durham Academy by 77 runs.
Durham Acadamy coach John Windows played in this game but could not prevent his side losing convincingly to South Shields in a match dominated by the bowlers. South Shields were 161 all out but scoring was not easy as Salman Ahmed top scored with 41 from 80 balls and Alex Combe managed 37 from 105 balls. Matthew Potts (29-3) and Scott Steel (21-3) were the pick of the bowlers for Durham. In reply Matthew Muchall led South Shields to c comfortable win by bowling Durham out for 84. The scoring rate was similarly slow with captain Christopher McBride scoring 15 (53) and Matthew Potts managing 12 (42). Muchall bowled 13.1 overs, 7 of which were maidens, as he took 6 wickets for 12 runs.
Tynemouth beat Stockton by 2 runs.
In what was definitely the match of the round the two sides were separated by a lower order collapse from the Teessiders. Nick Armstong and Tahir Khan hit 50s as Tynemouth scored 218. In reply Stockton captain Kevin Ward scored 48 as his side were at one point 140-4. Then a mini collapse left Stocketon on 141-7 as Andrew Smith and Tahir Khan took crucial wickets for Tynemouth. Joe Hewison led a recovery with the bat but was stranded on 62*, taking Stockton within one shot of victory, a partnership of 17 for the final wicket not quite enough.
Whitburn beat Benwell Hill by 30 runs.
While Tynemouth-Stockton was the match of the round Whitburn’s win over Benwell Hill would have to go down as the biggest upset. Gary Burlinson was the main contributor for Whitburn as his 56 helped his side to 157. Anthony Hunter took 42-3 for Benwell Hill and Max Williamson also continued his wicket taking form with 40-3. At this stage Benwell Hill would still have been favourites but Kieran Waterson’s 52-4, including the key wicket of Kyle Coetzer bowlerd for 4, as well as James Thompson 21-4 saw Whitburn claim a big win. Benwell Hill all out for 127.