The week’s fixtures didn’t get off to a good start when Richmondshire 1sts suffered their first defeat of the season against local rivals Barnard Castle in the Macmillan Cup.
With professional Matty McKiernan unavailable, this was always going to be a tough fixture but prospects looked good with three early Barney wickets off Craig Marshall’s spin reducing them to 13 for 3.
The Barney innings was then turned round by some superb big hitting by Adam Bainbridge (73) and James Alderson (50) taking them to 175 for 5 in the twenty overs.
The Richmondshire batsmen struggled against some tight Barney bowling, particularly by Australian amateur Giles Creedon who bowled his four overs for just 7 runs.
When captain Gary Pratt fell for 39 at 55 for 4 prospects looked gloomy. It took a fine knock by Owen Kelly (47) well supported by Josh Dowson (23) to restore some optimism.
With quick runs needed Richmondshire batsmen had to hit out and unfortunately the big hits fell into fielders hands just short of the boundary. Richmondshire were finally all out for 157, 18 short of the target.
On Saturday Richmondshire had a home fixture against bottom of the table Bishop Auckland and with Matty McKiernan back in the side were able to record a routine win. Richmondshire won the toss and put Bishop in to bat. with Matty McKiernan taking 5 for 46 and Craig Marshall 2 for 19 they were bowled out for 178 in 49.2 overs.
This target was no problem for the Richmondshire batsmen who knocked off the runs in 45.3 overs with Gary Pratt not out 80 and Mike Layfield not out 72. Thus giving Richmondshire 20 points for a win batting second.
Sunday saw another home fixture against Stokesley, the match originally set for the opening fixture. Stokesley won the toss and put Richmondshire in and batting on a turning wicket looked much more difficult than the previous day.
The openers made a decent start with the first wicket going down on 49 but the Stokesley spinners began to pin batsmen down and wickets fell regularly reducing Richmondshire to 114 for 8 at one point. The situation gave Matty McKiernan a rare opportunity to demonstrate his batting ability and a fine innings of 58 finally raised the score to 165 for 9 after 50 overs.
This didn’t look a big target until the Richmondshire spinners got to work and the Stokesley batsmen just couldn’t cope. Only two reached double figures with Matty McKiernan taking 5 for 16, Craig Marshall 2 for 19 and James Kelly 2 for 7.
With three of the Stokesley batsmen out padding up the Stokesley coach was to be heard threatening extra coaching against spin. Stokesley finally succumbed for 61 in just 25.3 overs.
With Middlesbrough surprisingly losing in a tight finish to Marton the 25 point win took Richmondshire to the top of the table, but with Barnard Castle also taking 25 points they are just 5 behind.
The 2nd team also had two matches, the first on Saturday resulted in a defeat at Darlington who made 188 with Owen Kelly taking 5 for 51. Unfortunately Richmondshires rather depleted batting line up could only manage a 100 in reply. Sunday went much better with a win against Saltburn. Electing to bat first Richmondshire scored 177 all out in 41 overs with Owen Kelly scoring 76 and new arrival Ywal Williams 30. Saltburn could only manage 142 in reply.
The 3rds had a rare week off and so remain unbeaten comfortably top of their group in the Ray Bell Cup.
The 4th XI were at home to West Park RA who have won both the C and B Division league titles in the two seasons since they joined the Darlington and District league. Richmondshire batted first and scored 188 for 6. Top scorer was 1st XI bowler Dale Marshall, making his comeback from injury and batting at number three.
Clive Layfield, Andy Dade and new player Dylan Norbury all made good contributions with the bat, against a West Park attack very dependent on James Bramley, who on this occasion went wicketless.
Significantly, West Park’s prolific opening batsman Chris McCabe was injured when fielding and played no part when it came to batting. West Park were dismissed for 80, with Dion Wood taking four wickets for sixteen runs.
The 5th XI travelled to Haughton to play their second XI and enjoyed a very close match, in which juniors Kai York and Henry Shepherd made their adult cricket debuts. Haughton batted first and made 111 for 9, a decent score, as although the wicket was good, the outfield was slow.
John Bewell and Ted While both bowled very accurately, John picking up four wickets for sixteen runs, all bowled. At the other end, Griffin Bewell took three wickets with his tempting and loopy leg spin, one to an excellent catch by Dan Baines in the outfield.
For Richmondshire, 13 year old Jonny Baines opened the batting and took the sting out of the bowlers by lasting 30 overs for 30 runs. Lee York, Henry Shepherd and Jim While all made double figure contributions, before the loss of two wickets in the penultimate over left six needed off the final over.
John Bewell was run out going for a second run, leaving three required off three balls for last pair Kai York and Ted While. Two wides were bowled, off which byes to the wicket keeper were enthusiastically run, as the target was reached with one ball left.