Ashington seconds suffered a blow to their title aspirations as they went down to an eight wickets defeat against Shotley Bridge at Langwell Crescent on Saturday.
Michael Levison (47) led the run scoring stakes for the home side, assisted by knocks of 22 from Matty Collins and 20 from skipper Martin Thewlis, whilst Jamie Nesbit took 4-26 from 13 overs.
In reply, David Golightly hit an unbeaten 53 and Stefan Dabrowski an undefeated 39 in a century partnership for the third wicket as the Bridge wrapped up victory in the 42nd over.
Fourth placed Ashington – who handed a debut to 13-year-old George Collins – are now 30 points adrift of leaders Ponteland.
Martin Thewlis said: “This is a big setback because it obviously does not help us to close the gap at the top.
“It just means that we have got to try and make sure we don’t lose any more games.
“We only had three recognised bowlers and after the initial start could not put their batsmen under pressure.
“If one member of our side had produced a big score and if we’d had another frontline bowler then we may have done OK, but in the end, their batters applied themselves whilst ours did not.”