Saturday saw a complete washout of the North Yorkshire South Durham League programme, without a ball being bowled any where in the league. This gave every side six points and leaves Richmondshire top of the Premier League by one point from Marton.
Fortunately, the sun and wind of Sunday morning dried out the Hurgill Road pitch sufficiently for Sunday’s big cup game to start on time.
Richmondshire faced North East Premier League leaders and three time National cup winners South Northumberland, an obstacle they have had to overcome to progress from the group stage every year.
South North have a side made up almost entirely of the Nothumberland Minor Counties side and with four players with county experience. Smarting from their defeat by Richmondshire at this stage last year they had strengthened their side by adding former Leicestershire player Jaques du Toit.
Winning the toss Richmondshire captain Gary Pratt put South North into bat, preferring to chase a total and with the hope that a drying wicket would make batting easier later. With just 13 runs on the board Josh Dowson sent the off stump off ex-Durham player Simon Birtwhistle cartwheeling.
Josh struck again having another ex-county player Christopher Hewison caught by Rob Carr, making the score 17 for two. South North then staged something of a recovery until Sam Wood had opener Rob Peyton well caught low down by Steve Mather.
This brought in the danger man Jaques du Toit, who brutally punished any loose bowling to end on 75 not out. The Richmondshire bowlers continued to chip away at the other end with wicket for Gary Pratt, Steve Reeves (two) and another for Josh Dowson.
After their 40 overs South North had run up what looked a fairly formidable total of 206 for 7. Meaning Richmondshire would need to score at over five an over to win.
The Richmondshire openers set about the task confidently from the off, putting on seventy eight for the first wicket and well up with required rate. When Gary Pratt was caught out having scored 43, fellow opener Rob Carr was joined by Mike Layfield.
With batting reminiscent of that currently been seen in the World Cup they calmly pushed the ball around for quick singles and punished anything loose with scintillating stroke play. Having put on a hundred for the second wicket Mike Layfield was bowled one ball after bringing up his 50.
This left only another 30 needed and at a fairly modest run rate. Rob Carr, having played one of the best innings of his career, was brilliantly caught and bowled by Birtwhistle and Steve Mather was also caught having added 12. Steve Reeves and Matty Cowling were then able to comfortably seal the win with 2.4 overs to spare.
A famous victory up with some of those of last seasons cup winning run sees Richmondshire through to the Group Final against another old rival in Clifton Alliance on Sunday 30th June.
While this was going on the third team were enjoying a day at the seaside, taking twenty five points at Seaton Carew. With Clive Layfield caught and bowled for six it was left to his young opening partner George Spink (42) to score the bulk of the runs. Tom Ward (20) and James Kelly (28) also made valuable contributions in a relatively modest total of 124 all out.
Seaton Carew made a strong start putting on fifty four for the first wicket but the Richmondshire bowlers then began to get on top. Julius Glasgow (5 for 28) and Harvey Websdale (3 for 23) were the main wicket takers and James Kelly (1 for 15) bowled ten overs to concede just fifteen runs. In a tight finish this resulted in Seaton Carew being bowled out with four runs and 1.4 overs to spare. The twenty five points leaves Richmondshire just two points behind leaders Thornaby.
It has also been a successful week for the Junior section with wins for the Under 11s, 13s, 15s and 17s.