Richmondshire crowned national club champions

The final of the Royal London ECB National Club Championship was played at the Gloucestershire County Ground Bristol on Sunday.

Ahead of the game there was some pessimism about the weather forecast, but fortunately the wet weather passed through a little earlier than expected.

With the game scheduled to start at 11am morning rain delayed the start until 2.30pm, with the game originally reduced to thirty overs a side.

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Stanmore won the toss and elected to bat first.

They then got off to a fairly promising start with thirty one being put on for the first wicket before Craig Swainston dismissed Talha Azam for 21 thanks to a Gary Platt catch.

There was then another short rain interruption which reduced the match to 28 overs.

Stanmore then progressed to 65 before Gary Pratt put himself on to bowl. The first ball of the over went for six but the third brought a much needed wicket through a smart catch behind the stumps by 16-year-old keeper Tom Dowson.

This prompted a collapse in the Stanmore batting with another wicket for Craig Swainston, followed a run later by the Dowson brothers combining for a run out.

Just two runs later new bowler Rob West had the incoming batsmen caught and bowled and when Gary Pratt took his second wicket leg before Stanmore were reduced to 72 for 6.

A 30 run seventh wicket stand made the Stanmore score more challenging before two wickets in the 24th over, both clean bowled by Matty McKiernan, swung the game towards Richmondshire again.

In the final four overs Stanmore managed to add another 19 runs without further loss to finish on 121 for 8.

Needing 122 to win Richmondshire made a confident start, Bob Carr striking a four from the first ball.

Another followed in the second over and in the third Gary Pratt added two more from successive balls, only for Gary to drag the ball on to his stumps from the next.

Bob was joined by Matty McKiernan and needing to score at 4.4 runs an over they proceeded at a much steadier pace before Bob was leg before for 19 in the eighteenth over.

With the score at 73 for 2 Matty was joined by Mike Layfield. Never one to hang about in these circumstances Mike added 17 runs in in 16 balls.

Unfortunately having just struck his first four he was stumped attempting another, which brought Matty Cowling to the crease.

Matty has scored some vital quick runs in recent cup victories but Sunday wasn’t to be his day as he was caught on three having faced just six balls.

Steve Mather came out to join Matty McKiernan and unfortunately just an over later Matty was run out as a result of a moments hesitation before going for a third run.

With Matty departed for 44 the Richmond supporters nerves were jangling with 22 still needed to win.

Sam Wood hadn’t had a great day with the ball but he didn’t let the side down with the bat, square cutting a four from his fourth ball.

Sam and Steve then added 13 more in ones and twos to go into the final over needing three to win with Steve facing.

Two runs from the first ball meant one more for victory and Steve did this in style to finish with a four.

The victory was a magnificent team effort with all eleven making a significant contribution with bat or ball, Matty McKiernan being named man of the match.

Completing a fantastic journey which began back in April, Richmondshire had won eight ties to become the National Club Champions, the first ever North Yorkshire South Durham league team to achieve this.

A fantastic team effort, the club’s two professionals played important parts but the majority of the players involved are products of the club’s junior system with five players of 20 and under playing at some stage in the competition.