Tynedale became the first team to ‘stop’ Swalwell from winning as they held on to claim a timed out draw, but even then the six times NTSL champions still managed to increase their imposing lead over the chasing pack by a further seven points when second-placed Burnopfield suffered a narrow defeat.
Ian Pattison smashed a majestic unbeaten 131 for Swalwell, and with Malcolm Clarke contributing 76 to an eventual total of 272-5 the champions looked bang on course for another win despite time lost. They had their hosts eight down when number nine, Jack Palmer (32no), and number ten, Will Dagg (38no), put up the ultimate rearguard action.
Burnopfield fluffed their lines by ending on 199-8 when set a target of 206-6 at Lanchester, and while they held on to second spot in the table they are now 38 points adrift of the runaway leaders.
Paul Underwood’s 69 was the backbone of the home innings, and then Michael Lukic and Kieran Taylor shared eight wickets between them as Burnopfield were pinned down seven runs short, even though Russell Hughes carried his bat for an unbeaten 86.
Lintz put on one of their best showings of the summer but couldn’t quite get past a target of 261-6 set by hosts Annfield Plain. Kieron Gohery (77) led the Plain run charge, but then Anthony Ward hit six fours and three sixes on his way to a bright 63 that raised Lintz hopes, only for those to be dashed by Neil Killeen (4-75) and Shane Oliver (3-51), the visitors ending just 14 runs short on 247-9.
The most emphatic performance of the day came from Ponteland, who swamped Ryton by 161 runs, although it was a bitter sweet day for skipper Wayne Ritzema when he was out lbw just one run short of a pulsating century. Set an eye-watering 275-7, Ryton crumbled to 114 all out as the five-man visiting attack ensured the hosts stayed locked in the bottom two.
Shotley Bridge made it three wins from three matches, quite a transformation for a side who had won just once in the previous six.
A rousing 64, which included five fours and two sixes, from Lewis Hall proved the perfect riposte after the Bridge had faltered when set a target of 175 by Percy Main, and with skipper Peter Collingwood batting through the innings for an unbeaten 57 the Bridge won with five wickets and almost four overs to spare.
What a signing Ravi Teja has been for Backworth. After the previous week’s record breaking exploits he added another 140 to take his aggregate in just three knocks to 378 – and he’s only been out once. At the same time he led his A2 colleagues to a 130-run thumping of Alnmouth and took his side to top of the table.
Just as Swalwell are dominating in the NTSL, so too are Bedlington in the Northumberland League, and it looks increasingly likely that only Blagdon Park have any chance of stopping them winning the title.
The Terriers latest success came at Warkworth, where a Dan Younger half century was followed by a superb 12.4 over spell from Paul Rutherford in which he took 7-17 to shatter home resistance 72 runs short of the 188 target.
Blagdon were given a real run for their money before overcoming Clara Vale, Nigel Clough the undoubted star of a 16-run win with a brilliant 140, and they remained 22 points behind the leaders.
But it’s now a further 50 points back to third place, where Tillside sit after a 12-run success at Bates Cottages in which Luke Dixon’s five wickets proved crucial, their win seeing them overtake Berwick and Blyth, who both lost.