It would have been difficult to repeat last year’s fantastic run of success in cup competitions but two cup losses in a week for the 1sts and another for the 2nds was totally unexpected.
The bad run started on Thursday evening in the Macmillan Cup against Billingham Synthonia, who had been comprehensively beaten in the league on Saturday. Winning the toss and electing to bat the Richmondshire innings got off to a fast start with Mike Layfield (38) and Gary Pratt (50) piling on the runs in an 84 run partnership.
Though the rate of scoring slowed further runs from Rob Carr (29) and Sam Wood (23) took the score to what looked a useful 175 for 4 after the allotted twenty overs.
Billingham’s opener Tayib Tahir had shown what a threat he could be on Saturday and he set about the Richmondshire bowling with a vengeance, making a rapid 57 before Sam Winter had him caught by Matty Cowling, as he went for another big hit with score on 90 for 1. His opening partner Elliot Holmes continued the onslaught and the Richmondshire attack struggled to get any control of the situation.
With only seventeen needed from the last four overs, Billingham looked comfortable but with tighter bowling from Sam Winter, Sam Wood and Josh Dowson, wickets started to fall and the flow of runs dried up.
By the start of the final over four were needed and with last bowl to be bowled the scores were tied. If the scores stayed tied Richmondshire would win as Billingham had lost more wickets. The Billingham batsmen pushed the ball to Rob Carr at mid-off, with a direct hit he would have almost certainly been run out. Sadly the throw missed by a whisker and Billingham went through by 4 wickets.
For the 2019 season the NYSD league has introduced on an experimental basis, the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method to decide results in rain affected games. After this weekend Richmondshire may have reason to regret this.
As the scores came in on Saturday it looked for a long time as if Richmondshire might for once have got the better deal from the weather, having quickly wrapped up their game at Middlesbrough.
With Josh Dowson and Craig Swainston removing the Boro top three for fewer than 50 and Steve Reeves taking 3 for 25 on his return to his old club, supported by 2 for 10 from Gary Pratt, the Middlesbrough innings closed for 140 in the 49th over.
Gary Pratt and opening partner Rob Carr set off at a rapid rate and, though Rob fell for 36, Richmondshire raced to victory in just 20 overs, Gary rounding things off with a six in his 56-ball unbeaten 85.
For well into the evening it looked as if this would be the only Premier League game to be completed and the twenty points gained would put Richmondshire top of the table. Late in the day, after long rain interruptions both Marton and Barnard Castle gained 20 point victories by DLS.
This keeps the position at the top of the table as it was, with Marton top on 117 points, Richmondshire on 111 and Barnard Castle just two points further back.
On Monday the 1sts travelled to Stokesley to defend their Kerridge Cup title and again the DLS system played a crucial par. Unfortunately Richmondshire were short of batsmen Rob Carr, Steve Mather and keeper Tom Dowson due to other commitments. On the plus side James Weighell the Durham County player who had scored a century for Stokesley on Saturday wasn’t in their side.
Richmondshire won the toss and put Stokesley in, Josh Dowson and Craig Swainston quickly had them in trouble on 31-4, but 57 from Rob Foreman led to a final total of 156 all out in the 39th over. Josh Dowson recorded the excellent figures of 4-17 from 7.5 overs.
Being reduced to 6-2 in two overs was the worst possible start for Richmondshire, meaning that wickets lost could become key in any calculation. Three more wickets went down in getting the score to sixty five and though Matty Cowling smashed 30 from just 18 balls to get Richmondshire score to somewhere near par, the rain interruptions meant it wasn’t going to be enough.
When a halt was called after 19.3 overs, with score at 92-6 the DSL system determined that if further play was possible Richmondshire would need nineteen from nine bowls. A difficult but not impossible task, sadly no further play was possible and Stokesley won by nine runs under the DLS Method.
In the 2nds game against Middlesbrough on Saturday, only the first innings was completed before rain halted proceedings with the visitors having scored 229 for 9.
Similarly for the 5ths at Richmond School, Barton 2nds had scored 108 all out when the rain intervened. The 4ths might have wished for something similar as they crashed to a seven wicket defeat having been dismissed for sixty five.
On Friday evening the 2nds had travelled to Darlington in the Robinson Cup which they had won in 2018. Darlington set a challenging target of 149 for 3. Despite a good opening partnership from George Spink (41) and Josh Cartledge (29) Ruchmond fell eleven short of the target at the end of their twenty overs.
On Sunday the 3rds bounced back from last week’s defeat to beat Wolviston at Richmond School, turning around a game that at one stage seemed to be going against them. Captain Dave Moffatt isn’t called on to bat too often but his 35, made at number nine was invaluable in getting the total to 168
Wolviston were well-placed at 93-1 when Hashim Ahmad (55) was dismissed and prompted a collapse. With Jonny Carr taking 5 wickets in his second spell and ending with 5 for 33, Wolviston were bowled out for 143 with 7 balls to spare. The twenty five points put Richmondshire back up to second place, ten points behind Thornaby.