In front of a packed crowd Richmondshire went down to a nine-wicket defeat to Cuckney CC.
The National Club Cup semi-final had drawn the biggest crowd seen at Richmondshire’s Hurgill Road ground for many years, including a coach load of Cuckney supporters who had made the long journey from Nottinghamshire.
It was a day when nothing quite went right for Richmond. Without leading batsmen and wicket keeper Dan Hodgson who was attending a family wedding in Australia, they then lost the toss and were put into bat.
Bob Carr made a confident start with a boundary but was then caught attempting a cut. Gary Pratt was playing with his usual calm assurance and along with partner Mike Layfield took the score for 49. With tight bowling and good fielding Richmond were finding it difficult to penetrate the field and were forced to attempt hitting “over the top”. This resulted in Mike being caught on the boundary for 14.
With the score 49 for two and 13 of the 40 overs gone Richmond’s hopes lay with a big partnership between Gary and Connor Blaxall-Hill but after scoring 18 Connor was also caught on the boundary. With the score at 83 for three Gary felt the need to push the scoring along but was leg before attempting a sweep.
After that Sam Winter was the only batsmen to reach double figure with ten and the innings folded tamely with 10 from 38.1 overs.
With Cuckney requiring only three an over Richmond’s bowlers faced a mammoth task. Hopes were briefly raised in the first over when the Cuckney opener skyed a ball but the Richmond fielder couldn’t take the catch.
Connor Blaxall-Hill did claim a wicket in the seventh over with the score at 37 for one but that was the sole success and cockney progressed largely untroubled to win in the twenty second over.
Richmond were disappointed not to have made a better show but will admit they were outplayed by a very good side. Cuckney now progress to the final at Lords against last year’s winners Bexley. The overjoyed Cuckney supporters stayed to party on the pitch for a couple of hours before starting their journey home.
The weekend had started very well for Richmond with a big 25-point win at Hartlepool. Choosing to bat Richmond made 250 for two before declaring after 47 overs. Gary Pratt made 100 not out, Connor Blaxall-Hill 79 not out and Mike Layfield 48.
After reaching 89 for three the Hartlepool batting collapsed with Jonny Carr taking four for 12 and Sam Wood three for 18 to be all out for 110.
The 25 points puts Richmond up to third and only seven points behind Hartlepool with a game in hand. Saltburn, who looked uncatchable a few weeks back, lost for the second week running. They remain top 27 points ahead of Richmond and of their three games left to play two are against the bottom teams.
The 2nds desperately needed a win against Rockcliffe Park if they were to avoid relegation and they almost managed it. After making 133 with 47 from captain Brad Elsworth’ seven for 41 from Vittal Raj had Rockcliffe with nine wickets down before completing the win.
The fourth team’s game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch and the fifths were forced to concede due to holiday commitments leaving them short of players. The 3rds had hoped to have their game on Sunday postponed so they could support the first team but Norton didn’t agree.
They probably wished they had, having being bowled out for 3, with Jack Platt taking three for four, Raam Raj four for 13, Andy Dade two for one and James Cox one for four.
Richmon lost no time in knocking off the runs with 27 not out from Brad Elsworth. 25 points puts them just one behind second place Norton and 21 behind leaders Wolviston with a game in hand over both.