Cricket: Northumberland Leagues review.
THE top four teams in the Foster's Northumberland and Tyneside Senior League all won as the battle for the title continued, with three points separating the sides with five games to go.
Tynedale retained their lead as they heaped more misery on Sacriston. Stuart Graham (4-50) was among the wickets as the home side were 180-8 batting first. Harry Hubber top-scored for Sacriston with 39, and was on the mark with the ball claiming 4-42. But Scott Kay's 70 was the telling contribution as Tynedale won with five wickets to spare.
Leadgate are second after a five-wicket win at Shotley Bridge where the home side made 129, Neil Broome and Dave McCabe picking up three wickets each. Lee Innes made the crucial batting contribution in a game of low scores, his 57 proving the key to the 20 points for his team.
Swalwell were many people's preseason favourites and they have as good a chance as any going into the last lap.
Their latest win came by eight wickets as Annfield Plain were dismissed for just 104, Dave Rutherford (4-18) and Stuart Pattison (3-34) doing the damage.
Lintz look to have ended Ashington's hopes with their nerve-shredding two-wicket win. The Colliers' 184 owed much to Mark Levinson's unbeaten 63 but then Tim Hughes (30) and Paul Lumley (49) steadied the ship in the Lintz response and with contributions right down the order the home side managed to scrape in by a whisker.
There was a remarkable knock at Percy Main where Anarud Singh scored an amazing 125 out of Benwell and Walbottle's all out total of 150 - a sensational innings in the circumstances and with Naz Rashid (5-43) joining Singh (3-23) in taking out Main for just 112, Benwell recorded a great victory to lift them out of the bottom two.
In the day's remaining game Am it Uniyal added to his reputation as first he took 5-19 as Morpeth fell for 143.
He then led the Newcastle City charge to a seven-wicket victory with an undefeated 74.
The battle of the leading sides in The Three Counties Northumberland League proved to be a thriller as leaders Stocksfield were toppled from their perch by visiting Blue Flames.
The two sides went into the game with much-vaunted batting line-ups but it was the bowlers who held sway throughout the day.
Saleem Akhtar (4-24) and Ali Zia (4-38) had Stocksfield on the ropes and but for a late half century from Peter Watson the eventual total of 123 would have been much poorer.
Home skipper Alex Brown (6-34) then looked to have tipped the game back in his side's favour as he had Flames flickering with nine wickets down and still plenty needed.
But came the final twist as Andy Horner (23no) and Bob Tulip (6no) put on a last wicket stand of 22 to secure a one-wicket success.
With their title rivals trying to cut each other's throats, Cowgate took full advantage as they overpowered Heaton Park by six wickets.
Mustanza Ahmed's 70 and Naeem Feroz's 38 looked to be sending Park on the way to a big total but then Bilal Hadir (4-41) and Shabir Choudhry (3-18) stepped in to have the home team all out for 143.
Alan Anderson got the reply off on the right foot with an opening 59 as Cowgate ran out comfortable winners.
Chopwell helped themselves to a vital win which maintained their title ambitions but consigned Clara Vale to an uphill battle to retain their Premier status.
Alex Herbert (75), Chris Mee (55) and Ben Twizell (45) sent Vale on the way to an imposing 222, but Dave McCormack (48) and Paul Veitch (53no) ensured it was a Vale of tears as Chopwell ran out winners by four wickets.
Elsewhere, Corbridge did their survival hopes the power of good as they defeated bottom side Belsay by 10 wickets.
Aaron Payne (4-15) and Dave Newton (3-14) set up the victory, while 87 from David Dent took Blyth to a four-wicket win over Kirkley.