With the 1sts and 2nds fixtures cancelled on the first weekend of the season being played on Sunday both teams faced a busy weekend.
The 1sts had the short journey to Darlington on Sunday and were pleased to welcome back Gary Pratt, recovering from his broken arm a little sooner than anticipated.
He was straight into action as Darlington put Richmondshire into bat. As has become the pattern in recent weeks the openers Bob Carr and Gary got off to a good start only for both to be out within a few runs. They had put on 68 when Bob was out, only for Gary to follow two runs later. A stand of 79 between Mike Layfield (40) and Dan Hodgson (87*) then brought the total to 149 for three.
There was a rare failure for Connor Blaxall-Hill, who only added eight to his mounting run tally. Matty Price hit a quick 18 from 20 balls, then when Sam Wood was out cheaply it was then left for Jake Percival to partner Dan Hodgson in the final few overs. Although only scoring four he played a vital role in giving Dan the strike allowing him to add thirty in the last three overs. That took the score to a healthy looking 234 for six.
The Richmondshire bowlers struggled to make an impact until a late burst of wickets from Josh Dowson (three for 40) briefly raised hopes of pulling off a win. By this stage Darlington were content to hold on for the draw restricting Richmondshire to 14 points.
Sadly, it was a rather similar story on Sunday. Again, put into bat Richmondshire found themselves on 26 for three before a partnership of 272 between Mike Layfield (112) and Connor Blaxall-Hill (104) took them to 197 for 4. After Connor was out Mike then went on the attack, peppering the boundary with fours and sixes, to add another 40 to the total of 256 for five.
After an early wicket for Josh Dowson, former Richmondshire player Matty Cowling led the way in a stand of 62 before his partner was run out. Another 33 was added before Joe White claimed his first Premier league wicket bowling Matty for 41.
Richmondshire’s bowling attack was restricted as they suffered yet another injury blow when Harvey Websdale fell heavily while fielding. This resulted in a delay to the match of 30 minutes and Harvey was unable to bowl again and may be out of action for a while.
Connor Blaxall-Hills (three for 43) spin claimed three wickets and Josh Dowson (three for 59) returned to claim two more but Bishop Auckland held on for the draw at 197 for 8. 15 points keeping Richmondshire seventh in the table.
The struggles of the 2nds continued with two more tough fixtures. In Saturday’s home game they lost to Wolviston 1sts by 118 runs. Having restricted Wolviston to 179, with Tom Stockton taking four for 41 and Joe White three for 49 they were skittled out for 61 in 22.4 overs.
In Sunday’s game at Billingham Synthonia 1sts they lost by 106, with Billingham batting first to set a target of 263 for eight declared. Jamie Stead made 58 not out and John Clark 33 but Richmondshire were all out for 157.
The 4ths also suffered a heavy defeat at Sedgefield 2nds. Put in to bat they could only manage 55 which Sedgefield knocked off with the loss of just one wicket.
The only Richmondshire team with a win this weekend were the 5ths who had a narrow three run victory over Middleton in Teesdale. Batting first they made 156, in his first game for several years James Irving making 39. Three wickets each for John Bewell, Tyler Spence and Will Fudali saw Middleton dismissed for 153. 20 points putting Richmondshire up to third in the table.