South Shields secured a five-wicket victory against lowly Eppleton in the Dukes ECB NEPL Premier Division, but only after suffering a fright mid-innings.
Eppleton, who are second bottom and 25 points adrift of safety, were in all sorts of trouble at 11-4, with Matthew Muchall (4-6) and Chris Stewart (4-42) ripping through the home side’s batting.
Stubborn Gary Burlinson (41) helped get Eppleton up to 81 all out with a good innings.
However, it was never going to be enough and although a great spell of bowling from Liam Dixon (3-32) had Shields in trouble at 68-5, the visitors moved up to fifth, winning by five wickets.
The two teams above Eppleton trying to avoid the dreaded drop, Whitburn and Benwell Hill, met at The Village Ground and probably both teams would be glad of the draw that emerged from the game.
The visitors were asked to bat first and they made a credible 263-9, with Adam Hickey hitting 91, Joe Moore 46 and Mark Dale with 36 not out, with Craig Smith the pick of the bowling with 4-47.
In reply, Whitburn scored 205-7, but that was not the full story.
At one stage defeat loomed as they were 81-6, but skipper Ross Carty with 49 not out and Mark Elliott’s 48, steered the ship back on course with a 91-run partnership, with Joe Kilpatrick claiming 4-39.
Meanwhile, Marsden were the main movers on the day and are certainly not out of the Readers Durham Cricket League Division Two promotion race.
With teams all around them either drawing or losing, their win at home to Peterlee has immersed them right into the thickening.
They bowled out the visitors for just 101, with Jacques Porter (4-18) and Sura Malinga (3-15) creating the damage.
It took a calm 34 from Malinga with the bat and a useful 21 from opener Christopher Mann, when wickets were tumbling all around him, to ensure the two wicket victory.
Boldon’s Dukes ECB NEPL First Division title hopes probably ended when they lost at home to a resurgent Sunderland side.
The Ashbrooke outfit have now won their last two games and have moved away from the relegation area.
In a low scoring game, the visitors batted first, with only some late blows from Louis Dinsdale with 40 not out, making the 136 scoreline fairly respectable in the circumstances.
However, opening bowlers Zaheer Shahbaz (3-36) and Elliot Smith (4-46), blew the home side’s batting away and they ended up with just 113, to lose by 23 runs, with only Umar Waheed resisting with 35.