RABY CASTLE toppled Middleton St George to throw a huge spanner into their title works, and with Rockliffe Park winning again the reigning champions now hold a 28-point advantage at the top of the table.

A few weeks ago Simon Lee was celebrating a double century, but he endured the agony of falling one run short of another ton when he was bowled for 99. His innings included 14 fours and one six, and with Joseph Dent adding an unbeaten 32 Raby were able to post 238-6 in their 40 overs, helped by a generous donation of 32 extras.

Brothers Steven (14 fours in 91) and Paul Rogers (6 fours in 53) then raised hopes of a Middleton win as they put on 120 in a fourth wicket partnership, but Chris Parker turned the game with a spell of 5-38, and with the irrepressible Lee picking up three wickets the George challenge faded when they lost their last wicket on 216 with five balls remaining.

Tom Stockton stood between Rockliffe Park and success at Richmondshire, the youngster hitting 9 fours and 3 sixes in an excellent 75. But he couldn’t find too much support as Ian Potts and Mark Swanwick shared six cheap wickets and the Dalesmen were pegged back to 140-9 from their 40 overs. There were few scares for Park in the run chase, an unbeaten 39 from Shaun Farrow the top score as the leaders won by eight wickets with 14 overs to spare.

A sensational innings from Rob Stanwix lifted Barningham to a mammoth 299-8 and set up a 128 run victory over Spennymoor.

Stanwix smashed 13 fours and 13 sixes – a total of 120 in boundaries – in a bruising innings of 159, and with Peter May adding 46 and Nick Wright 31 the hapless Moor attack were once again on the receiving end of some big hitting. The did responded with spirit however, Alan Cowen hitting 39 before the end came on 171 after 37 overs.

Brompton lifted themselves out of the bottom two with a nerve tingling two wicket victory over Cliffe.

Adam Baldwin hit 10 fours and a six in a good looking 76 that gave Cliffe the edge as they posted 192-5, but James Lain’s 62, along with Stephen Porter’s 44, just tipped the scales in the home team’s favour as they won with three balls to spare.

The day’s other games saw Haughton (211) defeat Middleton in Teesdale (176) by 35 runs, Mark Dobinson’s 70 from 67 balls proving the difference, and Barton had four wickets to spare when beating Aldbrough St John, Tony Millar’s spell of 4-30 ensuring the winners only had 154 to chase for victory.