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Champs find the winning way again.

Byline: By Malcolm Pratt

League champions South Northumberland are back in business.

Following a lean spell they made a triumphant return to winning form at Tynemouth on Saturday where they had more than 100 runs to spare in recording their fifth win of the season. It keeps them in touch with leaders Sunderland and second-top Gateshead Fell.

A team effort by the batsmen brought a total of 199-9 declared and, replying, Tynemouth struggled to 97 as Kerry Jeremy and John Graham shared seven wickets at little cost.

Sunderland had not beaten Blaydon at Ashbrooke during the first five years of the competition but they finally came out on top to maintain pole position.

Marlon Black, with 5-46, and a 4-31 return from former Durham County paceman Simon Brown had Blaydon in trouble. But late contributions from Nick Hillman (32) and Gary Stewart (28 not out) enabled the more respectable total of 176 to be achieved.

Blaydon must have thought they were in with a chance when Graeme Onions returning from injury, sent back Sunderland skipper Simon Old without scoring and Freddie Napier went cheaply to Stewart.

But there was little success for the Blaydon attack after that. Alan Mustard found a partner in Durham's Gary Scott and when the latter contributed 60, Sunderland reached their third consecutive victory.

Gateshead Fell enjoyed a seven-wicket romp over Philadelphia at Bunkerhill. Nicky Phillips (4-22) and man-of-the-match Callum Ferguson had the home side back in the pavilion for only 104. Although Ian Potter celebrated taking his 100th wicket in the league, the Fell were rarely troubled. Ferguson also hit an unbeaten 73 out of his team's total of 105-3.

For the second successive game, Chester-le-Street's Allan Worthy declared only to see his side lose.

It appeared that he had amassed at the very least a defendable total when 284 runs were on the board for the loss of just four wickets in 56 overs at Stockton.

Wayne Ritzema struck a century and Quentin Hughes was only four runs short of three wickets.

Undaunted by their task, Stockton won with five wickets and nine balls remaining. James Lowe (78), Richard Waite with 68 and Chris Hooker (57 not out) dominated an understrength Cestrian attack.

Benwell Hill conceded the last unbeaten record when they were all out for just 111 at Norton. Their problems started early when Taufeeq Umar, who has been in blistering form, went without scoring.

Jonathan Kean and Marc Symington both took three wickets before Symington and his brother Craig both made 32 not out as Norton, who failed to win in their first six matches, chalked up a third consecutive victory.

Ben Harmison was in splendid form as Durham Academy defeated Newcastle by seven wickets at Maiden Castle.

He was undefeated on 94 and the former Burnopfield youngster Mark Stoneman added 41 to the match-winning reply of 208-3.

Andrew Pratt and Joel Hughes both scored half centuries for Newcastle but generally the batsmen were well contained by Paul Cummins whose six wickets were taken for 61 runs.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2005
Words:505
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