Richmondshire 1sts had mixed fortunes in a season defining four-game bank holiday weekend.
They started with a victory at home to Stokesley in the league, winning by 6 wickets.
Steve Reeves (4-23) and Gary Pratt (4-20) kept the visitors to 120 all out, which Richmondshire knocked off in 29.3 overs, Steve Reeves making 44 not out.
Second placed Marton also had a comfortable victory bowling Hartlepool out for 60, making up five points on Richmondshire as a result having batted first.
The league programme continued on the bank holiday Monday with the traditional derby fixture at Barnard Castle.
Winning the toss and batting first, Gary Pratt and Steve Reeves shared a century partnership for the third wicket to set up a late innings assault. When Gary fell for 69, Matty Cowling took over, smashing 5 sixes in a 27-ball 48 to provide the impetus. Steve Reeves fell just 4 runs short of a first Richmondshire hundred, the innings closing on 258/9
From a promising enough platform, Barney fell away and having put a spoke in the wheels of Marton’s title ambitions last week, they were unable to prevent their local rivals taking all 25 points, the last 4 wickets falling for 2 runs in the space of 35 balls. Barney were bowled out with 2 balls to spare for 164, the extra 8 points gained from that final wicket potentially crucial in the final reckoning.
Sam Wood, Steve Reeves and Craig Marshall all collected 3 wickets for a Richmondshire side looking to secure their first NYSD title since 2015, whilst Giles Creedon made 66 for the outgoing Champions.
Marton also had another twenty five point win, so with two games remaining Richmondshire head the table by fourteen points. On Saturday Richmondshire entertain Hartlepool, while Marton visit bottom of the table Seaton Carew. Then on the final Saturday Richmondshire travel to Marton for what could well be the decider.
On Sunday Richmondshire’s cup successes left them facing two games in one day. Bank Holiday Sunday is traditionally the fifteens (now Hundred) final day in which Richmondshire had qualified to play Billingham Synthonia. The League has made a commitment to helping our clubs in National competitions, and with Richmondshire’s National Quarter Final having been washed out a fortnight ago, the replay also had to be completed tie on Sunday.
Normally the Premier final would be the last game around teatime so to make this possible the Richmondshire v Billingham game was switched to start the programme at nine thirty. After which Richmondshire would race back from Saltburn to play Ormskirk.
Billingham Synthonia are the kings of the short-form game in the NYSD in 2019. One player can be the difference between victory and defeat in the shorter forms of the game, and Billingham Pakistani pro Tayyab Tahir had already shown Richmondshire in previous meetings this season that he could score quickly.
Tahir got to work on the Richmondshire attack to devastating effect making 115 from 54 balls to send Billingham to an insurmountable 162/8 from their 100 balls. Tahir hit 13 fours and eight sixes in his knock that only came to an end from the 94th ball of the Billingham innings, as Gary Pratt picked up three wickets in the last 10-ball segment of play.
Faced with such a large target, Richmondshire needed to go all out from the start, but the loss of early wickets increased the pressure with little time for consolidation when the asking rate is so high. off. When Richmondshire slipped to 36/7 just after halfway, the game was up Richmondshire slumped to 68 all out.
Richmondshire’s Sunday didn’t improve, their reign as National Champions ended at the Quarter Final stage by Ormskirk. In a repeat of last year’s quarter, played in front of one of the biggest crowds at Hurgill Road for many years, the visitors came out on top by 11 runs.
Put into bat, Ormskirk were pinned down by some tight Richmondshire bowling and were 26 for 2 when skipper Gary Knight came to the crease. He played what proved to be a matching winning innings with 79 not out in a final total of 194/6 from 40 overs.
It was Knight’s assault on the bowling of Steve Reeves in the final over of the innings that was to prove the difference. Reaching the boundary four times and a total of 23 runs meaning that Richmondshire faced roughly 5 an over if they were to manage an unprecedented retention of the national trophy.
Gary Pratt and Rob Carr made a solid start, adding 54 from 10 overs before Rob was bowled for 35. Mike Layfield fell for a duck and Steve Reeves made just 4 and with Ormskirk’s bowling tight and fielding keen the required rate climbed.
Gary Pratt remained calm and pushed the ball about to score mainly in singles so with nine overs to go Richmondshire required 63 to win with the skipper unbeaten on 57. That target had been reduced to 40 from 4, and then 25 from the final over as Ormskirk kept the pressure firmly on, preventing Gary from finding the boundary and restricting the lower order batsmen.
The Richmondshire captain was caught from the first ball of the final over, out for a valiant 73 from 118 balls and, whilst Craig Swainston was able to find the boundary a couple of times, it was too big a task for Richmondshire, who ended on 183/9.
It was also a disappointing weekend for the teams in the lower leagues. Richmondshire 2nds look in danger of losing 2nd team salver which they have won for the last six seasons. Visiting top of the table Saltburn, who batted first and piled up 267/6, Richmondshire could only manage eighty eight all out. This leaves them thirteen points behind Darlington with two games remaining.
The 4th team lost to Middleton St George by five wickets, having been bowled out for sixty five on a tricky Richmond School wicket.
The 5ths had scented a possible victory at Witton-le-Wear after a strong bowling performance had dismissed Witton for seventy three. Adam Heseltine taking 4 for 7 from eight overs and Ted While 3 for 11 from six.
Unfortunately only Mike White(18) could reach double figures as they were bowled out for thirty eight.
The 3rds were without a game in the Sunday Premier so with three games left trail Wolviston by sixteen points with a game in hand.