Richmondshire narrowly defeated at Lord’s

Richmondshire opener Rob Carr.

Everything about Richmondshire’s visit to Lord’s was perfect, except the result.

However, RCC, who got the chance to play at the home of cricket after becoming National Club Champions, pushed their opponents to the very end, losing by just one wicket.

The MCC fielded a strong side, carefully selected to match the standards of National Club Champions Richmondshire, with a number of players with first class cricket experience.

The first name to catch the eye was Roland-Jones but this turned out to be Oliver not his brother, England player Toby.

Gary Pratt won the toss for Richmondshire and surprisingly chose to bat, when local knowledge suggested cloudy conditions on an April morning would favour the bowler.

As Gary and fellow opener Rob Carr put on 44 for the first wicket it did not look a bad decision. Gary was then caught behind for 25 and four balls later Rob was out for 17.

Steve Reeves lasted just three balls and with Mike Layfield judged lbw RCC were quickly reduced to 55 for 4.

A break for rain then reduced the game from the planned 50 overs to 44 and it looked as if RCC would have to dig in to survive that long.

Stephen Mather wasn’t overawed by the situation though and started to show his range of strokes, hitting nine fours in his innings of 40.

Supported by Sam Wood who hit three fours in his twenty three, 49 valuable runs were put on for the sixth wicket.

Wicket keeper Tom Dowson then added 26 before being stumped in the last over leaving Richmondshire 156 all out after 43.2 overs.

Richmondshire struck in the first over of the MCC innings when Josh Dowson had opener Chad Barrett caught by Rob Carr at cover.

Oliver Roland-Jones then joined George Wells and the score progressed before Sam Wood was brought into the attack and had Roland-Jones lbw. Rob West then removed Carlos Nunes lbw, Sam bowled Dixon and MCC were 46 for 4 and RCC felt in with a chance.

Meanwhile, George Wells was effectively punishing any loose bowling keeping MCC well up with the run rate. It took the introduction of the spin of Steven Reeves to reduce the run rate and also get the wicket of Brown caught by Gary Pratt.

Even so it was beginning to look as if Wells would wrap up the game when James Kelly trapped him lbw for 74.

Josh Dowson then returned to the attack to take two wickets in two balls. Parents Jill and Richard will long treasure a photo of the Lord’s scoreboard reading caught T Dowson bowled J Dowson.

This left the MCC needing 37 from their remaining two wickets. The ninth wicket pair put on another 19 before Reeves bowled Martin for four.

Sadly, Richmondshire couldn’t manage the final wicket, although it looked as if they would force a tie when with the scores level Bulpitt edged a ball towards the slips. But Keeper Tom Dowson was only able to get his finger tips to the ball and deflect it behind for the winning runs.

In the region of a 150 Richmondshire supporters made the journey to London and enjoyed wonderful hospitality from the MCC, with the president Anthony Wreford and his wife being excellent hosts.

Responding to their welcome Richmondshire president Randall Orchard said: “This has been the most fantastic day for the players and supporters, one will live long in our memories.”

Randall presented a signed copy of Not Out: The History of Richmondshire Cricket Club written by himself and David Crane.

This will be added to the MCC Library, which houses the largest collection of cricket publications in the world.

The day ended with a drinks reception for players and guests in the MCC members only Writers Room, which must surely have one of the best views over a test cricket ground.

Many of the players and supporters then rounded things off with an evening in the famous Lord’s Tavern.