Determined to put the disappointment of last season, when rain on the final day thwarted the 1st XI title bid, the club is determined to put in an even stronger challenge for the title this season.
With West Indian professional Alston Bobb unable to get a visa due to having played insufficient first-class games, Richmondshire have turned to a second English professional.
New signing Matthew McKiernan played alongside Richmondshire captain Gary Pratt for Cumbria in the minor counties last season.
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Born in 1994, Mattie is a leg spin bowler and right-hand batsman and has played 2nd XI’s cricket for Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Durham, Leicestershire, Hampshire and the Unicorns.
Last season his best performance with the bat for Cumbria was 100 and 86 not out against Northumberland and took 4/64 against Northants 2nds.
He comes to us from his previous club side Leigh who play in the Liverpool Competition.
The club are also delighted to have retained captain Gary Pratt for another season.
Gary is most famous for running out Ricky Ponting in the Trent Bridge Test on 2005, his direct hit leading to a four-letter tirade against substitute fielders from Ponting and earning Gary a place on the open-top bus which took the victorious England side through London that September.
In 2003 he passed 1,000 runs, including 150 against Northants for Durham in first class cricket.
Since then Gary has played for and captained Cumbria in the minor counties competition with great success.
Gary has an outstanding record at the club, last season he scored 1,370 runs, with a highest score of 125, at an average of 65.24. He remains an outstanding fielder and takes some vital wickets with his off-spin.
It is expected that most if not all last year’s first team will be available again and that despite attempts by other clubs to lure them away NYSD leading amateur wicket taker Craig Marshall and key batsman Mike Layfield have remained loyal to the club.
There are likely to be one or two faces competing for places, including Craig’s brother Dale, who is moving across from Darlington.
Second team captain Shaun Charlton is confident that they can retain the trophy for top second team again this year and hopes for a higher overall league position.
A big miss will be batsman Richie Carruthers, who is recovering from serious illness.
We wish him well and hope to see him back playing soon. With most of the same blend of youth and experience available thirds captain Dave Moffat is hopeful they can retain the title they won convincingly last year.
In the Darlington District Leagues the 4th and 5th teams will again be a blend of youth and experience and while not expecting to challenge for trophies they are hopeful of respectable league positions.
In the junior section there is quiet confidence that there will be more trophies for the cabinet this season.
The under 17 team who made a clean sweep of the available trophies last year have virtually all the same squad eligible again but will expect a strong challenge again from local rivals Barnard Castle.
With strong squads in all the junior age groups the club will competing across the full age range and to give all juniors a chance to experience competitive cricket will enter teams in two leagues in the Under 11 and Under 13 age groups.
The leagues entered are as follows:
Under 9 in Hambleton League (midweek)
Under 11 in Hambleton (midweek) and NYACC (Sunday am) Leagues
Under 13 in Hambleton (Sunday am) and NYACC (Tuesday) Leagues
Under 15 in NYACC League (Sunday am)
Under 17 in NYSD League (Monday or Friday)
Under 19 in ECB National Competition (dates t.b.a.)
Outdoor training for secondary school pupils is on Wednesday evenings 6.30pm to 8pm starting on 18th April. Primary school training is on Friday 6pm to 7.30pm starting on 20th April.
The venue will normally be the Hurgill Road, but once evening fixtures start, there will be a number of nights when due to matches taking place at the club ground, they will relocate to Richmond School.
More information and updates can be found on the junior blog at http://richmondshireccjuniors.blogspot.co.uk
The biggest challenge the club faces at present is getting the ground prepared for the start of the season. Frequent heavy rain and snow has left the ground so wet it has so far been impossible to get a roller on the square and as a result two pre season friendlies scheduled for the 14th and 15th April have been called off, as has a planned Yorkshire v Durham Academy game on the 17th April.
Hopefully a period of more settled weather will allow the ground to be ready for the season’s opening fixtures on the 28st April when the 1st team entertain Stokesley at Hurgill Road. This is a week later than the original schedule.
Games that were due to be played on 21st April will now take place on 20th may.
The clubs registration day takes place on Sunday 15th April 10am to 2pm at the Clubhouse, Hurgill Road or you can join or renew your membership online at https://membermojo.co.uk/richmondshirecc