BACKWORTH grabbed the NTSL headlines with a sensational performance in their Division A2 game against Morpeth, their record-breaking victory bringing the added bonus of moving them into one of the two promotion slots.
Morpeth’s annus horribilis, which began with them relinquishing their top-flight status, took another turn for the worse when their attack was given an almighty pummelling by the Backworth openers as the record books were rewritten.
Alan Robson hit 31 fours and one six in an unbeaten 196, a club best, and shared a partnership worth 392 runs, the highest stand in league history.
His partner, Ravi Teja, hit 21 fours and two sixes in his 169 and, with Morpeth contributing to their own pain with a generous helping of 53 extras, Backworth made a monstrous 424-2, the highest ever league total, and eventually won by 289 runs.
In the top division it was business as usual for Swalwell, the one-horse race continuing with a 102-run canter against Lanchester in which Chris Hewison added another 96 runs to his burgeoning portfolio.
Three weeks ago Leadgate were in trouble in the bottom two after a string of defeats. But all that seems a million miles away now after a four-wicket home win over Ryton made it three victories in a row and continued their climb away from the danger zone.
Aussie Luke Fitzner has started to fizz in recent weeks, and another four-wicket haul helped bundle Ryton out for 143. Ross Burdon (50) and Callum McCabe (47) then joined in a second-wicket stand that took the home team close to their victory target before each was run out to herald a mini-collapse that gave the margin of defeat a more comforting glow for Ryton.
The loss consigned Ryton to the bottom two as Consett pulled off a surprise victory at Tynedale after David Stewart and Callum Barnes combined brilliantly to bowl the home team out for 144.
Stewart took 5-43 in his 15 overs, while Barnes did even better with 5-34.
Gary Hunter then applied the coup de grace as he stroked 12 boundaries in an unbeaten 70 which took Consett to a great seven-wicket success.
Elsewhere, there was more misery for Lintz as they came within 13 runs of Ponteland only to lose for a seventh time. Peter Collingwood (81no) led by example to earn Shotley Bridge a second consecutive success at the expense of Annfield Plain, and Burnopfield strengthened their hold on second place with a 40-run win over Percy Main.
Talking of one-horse races, it’s also looking very much that way in the Northumberland League as Bedlington continue to march on in emphatic fashion.
Kirkley were looking for magical intervention to give them a chance, but the only wizardry came from Bedlington’s openers, Chris Younger (76) and Kevin Harnett (81), who lashed 22 boundaries between them to set up a mammoth first-innings total of 307-6. Kirkley had a go after that, but ended well short on 190 as Peter Finch took 4-35.
With Berwick going down to a surprise six-wicket home defeat at the hands of Bates Cottages, it looks like the only side who can possibly get anywhere near the Terriers are Blagdon Park. They stayed in the hunt with a 34-run win at Blyth.
A half-century from Nigel Clough gave Park something to play with, and they successfully defended a modest 147 as their five-man attack all got in on the wicket-taking act to blow Blyth away for 113.
The victory left Park 23 points behind the top dogs, and 42 points ahead of third-placed Berwick.