Three draw clear at top of A division
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
Darlington and District Cricket League
A GAP has appeared between the top three clubs in the A division and the rest after Saturday's round of matches.
Leaders Haughton were involved in an absolute thriller against Aldbrough St John which went down to the last ball at Great Burdon.
Batting first, Aldbrough compiled steadily to reach 158-9, Michael Priestley top scoring with 35 and 20s for the other four top order batsmen.
Mark Little was again the pick of the bowlers with 3-26, while Mark Dobinson chipped in with 4-44.
With Sam Bainbridge (35) and Craig Edwards (43) going well, Haughton looked to be well placed for the win.
Enter Jason Williams whose ten overs earned him 7-40 to bring Aldbrough right back into the game.
With one ball of the game remaining and the scores level, Haughton’s Mahendra Singh Yadev hit the winning single.
By contrast, second placed Raby Castle enjoyed a more straightforward win at Spennymoor. Simon Lee hit 105 and opening partner Matt Dent made 48 as Raby closed on 253-5.
Then James Forster’s 4-23 and Gareth Walton’s 3-18 helped send Spennymoor back for just 109.
Richmondshire’s Clive Layfield hit his obligatory half century against Barningham, whose bowlers did well to restrict their hosts to 137-9.
Robbie Walker, who has impressed since returning to the team this season, was the best, claiming 5-26.
Colin Blackburn then made an excellent unbeaten 62, aided by 20s from Rob Stanwix and Gary Walker, to steer Barningham home.
Fourth placed Nunthorpe slipped up against improving West Park RA, who defended 133 by bowling out their hosts for just 77.
Sam Biker hit exactly 100 for Barton in a high scoring win at home to Cliffe. Sam Gibb added 45 as Barton piled on 235-5 in their 40 overs.
Despite the best efforts of Richard Mallender (42), Bailey Besford (32), James Bendle (36no) an Dave Earle (40no), Cliffe were unable to keep up with the run rate and closed on 195-4.
Middleton St George hit the top score of the day – 270-3 – thanks to an unbeaten 114 from Stephen French and Chris Peacock’s 91. In reply, shell shocked East Cowton stumbled to 87 as Martin Clark remained 50 not out.
In the B division, Barton’s Neil Kearney enjoyed an early birthday present smashing 60 off 31 balls in an all out total of 237 against Raby Castle II.
In reply, Raby came up just short, closing on 215, with Paul Waldock hitting 52.
Oliver Usher scored 88 for Middleton-in-Teesdale who travelled to Cliffe II and made 225. Anth Coatsworth, who had earlier scored 35, then took 4-32 as Cliffe were all out for 196.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Catterick Village at home to Witton le Wear and Haughton II at Oxbridge.
In the C division, Etherley made 255-4 at Aldbrough St John II, who could only reply with 78 all out – 34 of which came in extras.
At the top, Lands march ever upward and onward thanks to an eight wicket win at Eryholme.
Craig Talbot took 3-3 as the hosts crawled to 87-8 in their 40 overs. Lands, by contrast, reached the target in just 10.2 overs, Lewis Leng smashing 59 not out.
King James also won, knocking off Cockerton II 112 for just three wickets down. Jamie Abbott top scored with 42.