TWO sensational individual performances ensured Middleton St George remained firmly in the hunt for the Cummins Darlington and District Division A championship.
Middleton dominated their home game against struggling Brompton on Swale from the off as opening bat Steven Rogers took a heavy toll on the visitors attack.
In a brilliant display he cracked six fours and eight sixes on his way to a rapid 113, and with Steven French adding a late 31, with two sixes included, George rattled along to a mammoth 252-6 in their 40 overs.
When Brompton batted they came completely unstuck against the bowling of Dave Glew who claimed eight wickets at a personal cost of just 11 runs in a devastating 7.3 over burst.
The one person to derive any pleasure in the batting collapse was opener Jack Heads who carried his bat through the innings to end undefeated with 21 to his name out of the eventual total of 33.
Champions Rockliffe Park don’t show any signs of flagging as they defend their title, an eight wicket thumping of Aldbrough St John keeping them 16 points clear of the chasing pack.
The Saints had no answer to the bowling of Gary Warr (3-29 from 10 overs) and Mark Swanwick (5-17 from 5.5 overs) and they slumped to 70 all out in 31.5 overs.
Shaun Farrow then grafted 70 balls for his unbeaten 33 which ensured Park eased to their victory with few alarms.
Barton stayed third with a comfortable 87-run away win at Raby Castle. Barton were in a little bit of bother when Dave Scaife came to the crease, having lost five batsmen for 35 runs between them, but he took the attack to the opposition, cracking six fours and six sixes in an aggressive 80 that lifted his side to a more than useful 186.
Dan Lee took 5-46 in the Raby attack. Castle tried to man the ramparts in their response, but their drawbridge was lowered by James Frankland (4-27 in 6.4 overs) and they slid to 99 all out in the 25th over.
In the big relegation battle Spennymoor toppled hosts Middleton in Teesdale by 45 runs to plunge their defeated opponents into the relegation zone. Paul Ross was the batting hero for Spenny, his unbeaten half century lifting his side to an all out total of 150, and then John Rovell senior took five wickets for ten runs to pull the rug from under Middleton’s feet.
In the other top flight games Clive Layfield’s unbeaten 72 eased Richmondshire to a five wicket success against Barningham, and Sam Bainbridge (82) and Dan McGuire (5-12) headlined as Haughton hammered Cliffe by 131 runs.