THE top three in the NTSL all won to forge on at the top of the table.
Shotley Bridge bossed their game at Ashington from the off as they claimed two wickets in the first over of the day. A stoic rearguard action from Greg Williams (33) and Simon Prudhoe (28) brought respectability in a third-wicket stand of 61, but Stuart Graham (5-34) returned to wrap the Colliers up for 102.
Phil Brown (33) and Peter Collingwood (31) then raced out of the blocks with an opening stand of 52 in just 10 overs, before Martin Hubber completed the eight-wicket success with an unbeaten 30.
Main had made the title stakes a four-horse race with some good displays in recent weeks, but they found their match at Sacriston as the home team pinned them down to 186-6 and then eased past that target with five wickets to spare.
Mike Phillips (69) and Anirudh Singh (60) had to repair a bit of damage when Main lost four early wickets, but the six-man home attack kept the run-scoring in check sufficiently for Aussie Kendal Ballard (60no) to provide the winning flourish.
The wins for Bridge and Sacriston left them trailing leaders Swalwell by just two points as the champions eased to a four-wicket victory at Morpeth after being set a challenging 222 to win.
Jonny Foster (65) and Ben Maxted (44) raised Morpeth hopes as they put on 221-7, but then Lloyd Anderson (58) and Ian Pattison (99) took the game away from the home team in a match-winning second- wicket partnership.
Annfield Plain made hard work of their two-wicket win at Chopwell, while Burnopfield had Mike Jones (5-43 and 52) to thank for their impressive five-wicket home win over Lanchester, and Tynedale added to Newcastle City’s woes as Ross Laidlaw (5-21) set up a five-wicket victory.