Rain ruins Richmondshire’s league title hopes

Richmondshire’s hopes of securing the NYSD Premiership title were dashed in the cruellest possible way on Saturday, when localised heavy rain reduced the outcome to a weather-related lottery.

Starting the day four points ahead of Great Ayton won the toss and opted to bat to give them a chance of 25 points for a win. Heavy morning showers delayed the start reducing the game to 48 overs per side.

The wicket was giving plenty of help to the bowlers and Richmondshire lost captain Gary Pratt on just 9, Bob Carr in his new opening role was looking in good touch until he was out for 21.

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Alston Bobb and Steve Mather were also out cheaply but Mike Layfield was starting to find the boundary regularly and along with Matty Cowling put on 41 before the fifth wicket went down.

Rain showers had interrupted play a couple of times and the skies began to darken ominously again as Sam Wood was bowled for 10.

The shower that arrived was much heavier and those previously and despite frantic mopping up operations it began to look unlikely that the game could restart.

New coming through from Marton where Great Ayton were playing gave some hope as Ayton were reduced to 86 for 6 but a late recovery pushed their score and gave them a valuable batting point reducing the gap to three.

This would mean that if neither game could be completed Ayton would need to take at least eight Marton wickets to take the title. When the Richmondshire game was finally abandoned at just after five all they could do was sit in the club room and hope.

At Guisborough only a few miles from away a downpour had caused their game to be abandoned but Marton escaped the worst of the weather and as their batting offered weak resistance they crumbled to 78 all out. The twenty-five-point win gave them the title by fifteen points.

Richmondshire will thin that with Mike Layfield still at the crease on 42 not out and the wicket giving plenty of help to the bowlers, that they would have had every chance of winning had the game been able to be completed … but as they say “That’s cricket”.

There was some consolation in the results from the 2nd and 3rd teams. The 2nds victory at Blackhall secured them the salver for the top second team in division 2. Blackhall were 178 for 9 after their fifty overs, Ross Wheldale taking 4 for 33 and Dion Wood 3 for 37. With Andy Fleming unbeaten on 73, supported by Ritchie Carruthers (38) and Tom Dowson (34 not out) Richmondshire knocked off the runs in 39 overs.

On Sunday, the 3rds had a twenty five point win thanks to sixty not out from Jordan Moss and fifty from Clive Layfield in a total of 194 for 8. Hartlepool could only manage 127 with four wickets each for Sam Winter and Andy Kelly. This leaves them twenty points clear at the top of the table with one game remaining.

Things didn’t go so well for the 4th and 5th teams in their games against Barningham sides despite two good batting performances. The 4ths playing Barningham 1sts at home won the toss and chose to bat, taking the chance to pile up a good score of 224 for 2 after their forty overs. Clive Layfield and Tow Ward both scored 64 and Tom Spensley was 50 not out and Andy Dade 40 not out. Unfortunately the game was then another victim of the weather five batting points and two game points leaving them secure in mid table with a game remaining.

The fifths playing Barningham 2nds away also put on a decent batting performance after being put in to bat. Tony Potter (61) put on his biggest performance for several seasons and Mike Platt with a seasons best 48 not out put the total on its way to 194 for 5. Unfortunately, the lack of penetration in the depleted bowling attack meant Barningham were able to reach 196 for 4 in 37 overs. However, the five batting pints and two bowling points could be invaluable in the battle to avoid relegation. They stay four points clear of the relegation place with one game left but with the bottom two having games against the top two next week, they will be hopeful of survival.