Tynemouth just one wicket away from win
Tynemouth club professional Tahir Khan had six deliveries at Stockton's last man in a bid to earn a deserved victory for the Tynesiders.
However, former Durham County player Ryan Buckley stood firm and Tynemouth had to settle for a winning draw and 14 points on a day when they produced some terrific cricket once again.
Tynemouth skipper Ben Debnam won the toss on a fine day at the Grangefield ground and elected to bat first on a wicket that looked good but lacked pace and bounce.
With openers Ben Debnam and Nick Armstrong back in the pavilion with the score at just 17-2, Stockton must have had high hopes, however, Matthew Brown joined the prolific Stuart Poynter and they began to take the game to the home side.
Poynter seemed in a hurry and carried some good fortune as he made 59 valuable runs and dominated a partnership of 69 before taking one chance too many and was caught in the deep off the bowling of Buckley.
Khan joined Brown and played confidently before hitting a high full toss to deep mid-wicket and was out to a fine catch by Tom Hewison off the bowling of Haider Shafiq.
Only 17 , Shafiq looks quite a prospect and found turn and bounce in his 19-over spell, ending up with figures of 4-70.
Brown and Smith were watchful, though, and built another good partnership before Brown was bowled by Shafiq for 69 with the score at 175-5.
The away side then looked a bit unsure whether to stick or twist, and despite 31 from Andrew Smith and 21 from Sam Robson, they continued to lose wickets and rather lost their way and denied skipper Debnam the opportunity of an early declaration, something that was to later come back and haunt the skipper.
Instead Debnam batted on and allowed Stockton just 57 overs to make 230, or for his in-form side to bowl the opposition out.
David Hymers struck early, getting the valuable wicket of veteran Alan Worthy, and when Finn Lonnberg had skipper Kev Ward and Matthew Brown marching to the pavilion, Stockton were reeling at 34-3.
Then when the experienced Hooker was dismissed by Smith for just nine, the home side decided any chance of a win was over and focused on securing a draw.
Outstanding fielding and determined bowling saw Tynemouth close to victory, however, lengthy stints at the crease by Hewison, 41 off 105 balls, and Matthew Gill, 29 off 58 balls, proved vital and left Khan with just those six deliveries to force a win.
News that South Northumberland had suffered a loss at South Shields meant that the hard earned 14 points were enough to keep Tynemouth top of the North East Premier League for at least another week.
On Saturday the team faces Hetton Lyons at home with an 11.30am start. Spectators are welcome.
The day before their trip to Stockton, Debnam’s men convincingly beat South Northumberland in their first T20 game of the season in front of a bumper crowd at Preston Avenue.
Former Aussie test player Marcus North top scored for the visitors with 14, but 80-9 was never going to be enough and Poynter with 41 not out and Brown with 21 made light work of the job, passing the target with six overs to spare.
Some tight bowling and outstanding catching from the home side was appreciated by teammates and spectators alike.
The second team hosted Stockton and elected to bat first on a superb track. They posted 235-3 declared from only 48 overs.
Openers Graeme Hallam and Marcus Turner put on 71 for the first wicket before Turner was caught and bowled for 25.
He was replaced by Niall Piper and the score moved on to 98 before Hallam was adjudged lbw only two short of an impressive half century.
Piper and Andrew Lineham then had an impressive partnership in the sun, taking the score to 233 before Lineham was bowled for 68. Piper was still there at the close on 72.
Stockton had been stretched in the field all afternoon but only used four bowlers with Michael Rushforth dismissing both openers for 77 runs off 15 overs.
After two wickets went down for 34, the Stockton reply saw a stand of 117 for the third wicket with Joe Hewison 63 and Robert Peregrine 42 in dogged response as the overs ticked along.
Young Owen Gourley dismissed three of the first four batsmen with an impressive 3-39 in ten overs including breaking this major stand.
The rest of the innings was pure resistance, but Tynemouth could only take eight wickets as Stockton moved on to 202-8 in 57 overs. A winning draw was secured.
The third team were hosts to neighbours Whitley Bay, who won the toss and elected to field.
Tynemouth had a strong batting line-up but Bay skipper Hugh Thompson made steady in-roads, claiming 6-40 in a full ten overs spell.
He was aided by all later wickets by James Custance with 4-9 off only 3.2 overs.
Tynemouth only totalled 89 in 25.2 overs and tea was left until the end of the game.
Whitley were immediately rocked back on their heels as Tynemouth’s bowlers struck back in earnest. Richie Hay took 2-27 off ten overs and Ed Snelders 2-16 off six.
A resisting stand involving Biren Shah (21) and Dave Sproat (9) was broken with the introduction of Don Catley, thanks to a reassuring catch by Dave Mahan in the deep.
Further wickets then fell quickly as Bay capitulated to Catley, 3-9 off six overs, and Neil Bennett, 3-1 off 2.3 overs.
Tynemouth still won by 34 runs, despite the poor target score, to claim full bragging rights.
Fixtures - Friday, June 3: 1sts v Blaydon, away, 6pm, NEPL T20.
Saturday, June 4: 1sts v Hetton Lyons, home, 11.30am, NEPL Premier Division; 2nds v Hetton Lyons 2nds, away, 1pm, NEPL Div 2; 3rds v Bomarsund 2nds, home, 1.30pm, NCL Div 2.
Sunday, June 5: 2nds v Mainsforth, home, 1.30pm, Banks Bowl; Academy v South North, away, 1.30pm, NEPL Sunday Div 1; U13s v Stocksfield, home, 10am, league and cup double header; U11s v Blue Flames, away, 10am, NJL.
Monday, June 6: U15s v Bomarsund, away, 6pm, NJL.
Wednesday, June 8: 1sts v Bates v Cottages, home, 6pm, Tyneside Charity Bowl.