Bowlers take Richmondshire teams to the top of the table

Shafiqullah Ghafari.

Four outstanding bowling performances took both the first and second teams to the top of their respective divisions over the weekend.

Richmondshire 1sts travelled to Darlington with high hopes of staying top of the table after Darlington had suffered a demoralising 222-run defeat at Barnard Castle last week.

Winning the toss, Richmondshire decided to bat with a changed opening combination of Gary Pratt and Mike Layfield.

They had reached 22 when Mike was out for seven. Two runs later new recruit Adam McAukey was out for a duck. Gary was then out for 21 with the score 36 for three.  A partnership between Dan Hodgson (63) and Sam Wood (18) moved the score on to 75 for four.

Matty Price (24) joined Dan to add a further 35 and push up the scoring rate. Shafiqullah Ghafari then scored 26 from 31 balls and Josh Dowson 16 from nine. A final flourish of 14 from the last over taking the score to 187 for eight

Josh Dowson (four for 23) struck early with two wickets in the third over to have Darlington seven for two. Two further wickets from Josh took the score to four for 46.

Shafi then joined the attack to remove James Sutton (30), the only Darlington batsmen to look threatening. He then ran through the rest of the batting lineup to take six for four in a remarkable spell of spin bowling.

A win by 123 runs earned Richmondshire 25 points to remain top of the table. Hartlepool also earnt 25 points by defeating Bishop Auckland, staying just a point behind.

The 2nds also had a big win against Shildon Railway, who had started the day top of the table. Shaun Charlton took seven for 29 as Shildon were dismissed for 83. These were knocked off in just 11 overs. With 29 from John Clark, 29 not out from Alex Percival and 17 not out from Raam Raj.

A 25-point win meant Richmondshire replaced Shildon at the top of Division two.

The 4ths went down to a ten-wicket defeat against Norton 2nds. Batting first Richmondshire made 110 for eight with Isaac Bottomley top scorer with 52. Norton had no trouble in reaching the target in 12.5 overs.

The 5ths playing at Middleton St. George were put into bat. A partnership of 106 between Mike White (64 not out) and Harrison Girot (51) got the innings off to a good start and Jonny Walker added 34 to take the final score to 185 for six.

Midleton St George had looked on top until junior Bobby Walker removed their top scorer. Bobby went on to take four for 13 and Harry Saunders four for 33 to seal a 26-run win.

On Sunday the 3rds suffered another washout, the third out of four games. They stay level with Hartlepool at the top of the table.

On Bank Holiday Monday the 2nds played at Middlesbrough 2nds, with another outstanding bowling performance, this time from Tom Stockton taking five for 32. This was backed up by three for 19 from Jake Percival and two for 27 for Joe White, dismissing Middlesbrough for 135.

In reply, Alex Percival made 30 before being run out but with the score 89 for five victory didn’t look assured. Any concern was dispelled by a stand of 47 between the experienced pairing of Jamie Stead and John Clark.

A five-wicket win leaves them clear second division leaders.