The long days of June provide the opportunity to play 20/20 evening cup games and they have come thick and fast for Richmondshire teams this week.
The 2nd team being particularly busy with involvement in two cup competitions.
Starting with Tuesday when the 2nds visited Bishop Auckland 1sts for a previously postponed Haith Cup game.
They came away with a 26 run victory to go through to the next round to be played on the following Tuesday against Darlington 1sts.
Batting first Richmondshire had a 115 partnership between Sam Winter (62) and Owen Kelly (50) to thank for a final score of 170 for six.
In return, Bishop were restricted to 144 for five.
Thursday brought a home tie in the Robinson cup with Richmondshire up against old rivals Barnard Castle, with a close game expected. In the even the in form 2nds ran up a ten wicket win. Put into bat Barney were restricted to a fairly modest 122 for nine thanks to a good all round bowling performance.
Jonny Carr standing out with four for 23 on his return from university.
The runs were rattled off without loss by Steve Mather (51) playing his first game of the season and Owen Kelly(60). This puts Richmondshire through to the final against Saltburn.
Also last Tuesday the 5th team played Eryholme 1sts who feature a number of former Richmondshire players in their team. Ina tight match Richmondshire came out on top by six wickets.
Eryholme batting first made 122 for three.
Richmondshire looked in some difficulty at 80 for four and behind the rate. Partnerships between Warwick Forman (41no), Tom Wooff (26) and Vittal Raj (18no) saw Richmondshire win with three balls to spare. They will now play King James in the semi-final this Tuesday.
The 4ths also went though to the semi-final stages with a win at Maltby. Batting first Richmondshire 122 all out with John Clerk to scoring with 43 and a typically big hitting 25 from Mark Walker.
In reply Maltby could only manage 101 for eight. This gives Richmondshire a home semi-final against Shildon next Tuesday.
On Friday evening it was the turn of the Under 13 side when they played their National Knockout third round against Beverley. Again a good all round performance gave them a convincing victory. Batting first Raam Raj (32no), Max Percival (30no) and James Cox (29no) were the biggest contributors in an excellent total of 146 for two.
Beverley then struggled against tight Richmondshire bowling to make 95 for seven, Joe White taking two for four and Edward Player two for 13.
Saturday saw a return to league action, the 1sts recording an easy win against Billingham Synthonia.
Billingham made a decent start to be on 104 for three but after the frontline batsmen went they tailed away to 170 for eight. Richmondshire made their usual quick fire start with Tom Dowson leading the charge with 99 from just 78 balls and which included six sixes.
He fell one short of a well deserved century as he was caught again trying to hit over the field. The win for twenty points was completed in the 26th over with Bob Carr on 62 not out.
Hartlepool also had a twenty point win so gain no more ground on Richmondshire at the top of the table but 25 points for Barnard Castle now puts them six points ahead of Richmondshire.
The 2nds made the long journey to Whitby without captain Brad Elsworth (on holiday), Owen Kelly ( promoted to the 1sts) and Joe Shields (late withdrawal) they managed an excellent win. Star with both bat and ball was 15-year-old Jake Percival. He took six for 45 as Whitby struggled to 147.
He then made 44 from 37 balls in an 81 run partnership with Sam Winter (53 no)
The 4ths kept up the pressure at the top of the table with a win against Guisborough 2nds.
Guisborough made 160 for nine and thanks to a strong all round batting performance Richmondshire won by 6 wickets in 33 overs. This puts them up to second place 19 points behind Stockton 2nds.
The 5th team went down to Raby Castle by seven wickets and on Sunday the 3rds drew with Redcar 2nds by hanging on at 120 for 6 in reply to Redcar’s 208 for five declared.
After the run of cup successes Sunday was the big one that somehow got away.
Richmondshire 1sts travelled to Barnard Castle for the second round of the National Club Championship which Richmondshire won in 2018.
Put in to bat Richmondshire made their typical fast start but only Gary Pratt (80) could manage a lengthy stay at the crease.
The hope of a 230-250 score disappeared when he was out when trying to push the pace in the final overs, as was Owen Kelly just as he was starting to look set.
Richmondshire ended on 219 for nine which on a fast outfield and shortish boundaries was suspected not to be enough.
Economical bowling at the start of the Barney innings, particularly Ajay Mandal’s eight overs at one for 27, and Sam Wood eight overs one for 35, put Barney behind the scoring rate.
As the required rate of 5.5 at the start of the innings moved up to eight an over with ten overs remaining.
With nine overs remaining Richmondshire old boy Rob West came to the crease with an innings that turned the game.
Forced to hit out to get up with the pace he hit some mighty sixes and also benefited from a fair number of thick edges as he swung the bat.
A disastrous 34th over for Richmondshire finally swung the game. In an over of mayhem that started with a catch on the boundary ruled out for a no ball and was followed by several fours of the edge, a wide and another no ball, the over went for 21.
That left Barney needing 40 from six overs and with Rob West hitting two massive sixes in the penultimate over and having lost fewer wickets only needing to tie they arrived at the last over with just four needed.
This was duly achieved with a final score of 223 for seven.
Stephen Brenkley, president of the Barnard Castle club and a former cricket correspondent for the Independent, posted on Twitter: “I suppose I have watched 1000 games of cricket. That between @BarnardCastleCC and @richmondshirecc in the National Cup was right up there in terms of skill, excitement and sheer joy.
“Of course I’m glad Barney won off the last ball but for the 100s there it was to feel alive again.”
Richmondshire supporters didn’t share the joy but few who had the privilege of being there would disagree about the level of skill or excitement.
LATE NEWS UPDATE
On Tuesday evening the 2nds won their Haith Cup semi-final against Darlington 1sts with Darlington 153 all out, Tom Stockton four for 15. Richmondshire 153 for three, Owen Kelly 85 not out. They now play Middlesbrough 2nds in the final.
The 5ths also won their cup semi-final against King James. Richmondshire 135 for eight, Grifffin Bewell 46. King James 75 for eight , Marcus Griffith four for 13. They now play Lands 1sts in the final.