In an outstanding season Richmondshire have now reached the final all four NYSD cup competitions and so far won two of them.
Sunday saw the big one with the final of the 40 over Kerridge Cup against Barnard Castle at Darlington Cricket Club.
Richmondshire and Barnard Castle are the two stand-out teams in the league at present and their rivalry all adds an extra edge to games.
So far this season Richmondshire have had the upper hand, winning all their previous meetings but nothing was being taken for granted.
Barnard Castle won the toss and elected to bat and made a solid start with a stand of 47. The introduction of the spin of Shafi into the attack then brought two wickets in his first over.
This brought the two Barney professionals to the crease. Sam Wood had Samarth Seth caught behind for eight and Tom Brooks claimed another wicket to make the score 88 for four.
Karl Carver went on to score 82 in partnerships with his captain James Quin and ex-Richmondshire player Rob West.
Both these finally fell to Tom Brooks (three for 48) but when Sam Wood (two for 36) finally claimed the wicket of Karl Carver the score had reached 203 for 7.
Shafi (five for 40) then claimed the remaining three wickets to bowl out Barney for 214 off the penultimate ball of the innings.
In reply, Richmondshire made a disastrous start when leading Barney bowler Josh Bousfield claimed the wickets of Bob Carr and Mike Layfield both clean bowled for ducks. It was then left to Tom Dowson and Gary Pratt to rebuild the innings which they did with some effect.
The score had reached 68 for three when Gary cut the call to Samarth Seth who took a fine catch low down.
Tom Dowson had made an excellent 71 before he was trapped lbw by Rob West with the score 116 for four.
Having got behind the required rate Richmondshire sent in Matty Price to hurry things along but unfortunately, he was caught off the spin of Karl Carver for two.
This brought in Sam Wood to join Owen Kelly (35) and when Owen was also caught off Carver’s bowling, 62 was still needed from 10 overs.
Sam was joined by Shafi who took 12 from the next over from Rob West but they were forced to bat patiently to see off the Barney pace bowlers. Barney had made the decision to bowl out their allocation of eight overs in the attempt to claim wickets.
This decision backfired as no wickets were taken and two less experienced bowlers were exposed to bowl the final three overs from which 20 were needed.
Ten were taken from over 39 and four from over 39 leaving six required from the last over.
Sam Wood levelled the score with a six into the road and a four from the next ball completed the win by 4 wickets. Sam finished 33 not out and Shafi 27 not out.
Saturday’s league fixture saw a visit from Marton, desperate for points to avoid the threat of relegation. Richmondshire won the toss and played safe by putting Maton in.
Marton made a decent start, the opening partnership putting on 76 before Tom Brooks made a breakthrough. Five wickets fell to Tom while ten runs were added, Tom going on to take six for 35.
Marton professional Lee Hodgson hung on to make 55 before being cleaned bowled by Sam Wood. With two more wickets to Sam (three for 12) and one for Shafi, Marton ended with 139 all out.
Richmondshire got off to nearly as bad a start as was to occur on Sunday, being reduced to two for two, Jamie Stead and Mike Layfield being dismissed in the first over. Tom Dowson and Bob Carr then dug in to stage a recovery before Tom was dismissed for 36 with the score 66 for three. Shafi quickly followed out for a duck but Owen Kelly (22 not out) joined Bob Carr (63 not out) to complete a six wicket victory.
The 20 points gained allowed Richmondshire to extend their lead over Barnard Castle who lost at Darlington and picked up only seven points. Richmondshire now top the table with 340 points from 18 games, Middlesbrough have 323 from 19 and Barnard Castle 299 from 18.
The 2nds visited Marton 2nds and claimed 25 points. Put in to bat they also made a bad start being eight for two but 22 from Mark Lockey, 74 from Richie Carruthers and 36 from Brad Elsworth recovered the innings to 157 all out. Six for 43 from Dale Marshall was mainly responsible for Marton being dismissed for 127 in 43 overs.
The 4ths were put into bat at Wolviston and veteran Andy Dade anchored the innings with 63 while juniors Jack Platt (38) and Joe White (24 not out) added valuable runs for a total of 159 for 8. Three wickets for Gaz Wood raised hopes but Wolviston knocked off the runs in 25 overs.
The 5ths were much changed due to holidays but the replacements acquitted themselves well with Josh Feakins top scoring with 30 from a total of 155 for 9. Opponents Oxbridge were made to fight all the way, slipping from 147 for four to 155 for seven before scoring the winning runs.
Saltburn conceded Sunday’s game against the 3rds giving them 25 points and the chance to support the 1sts in their cup victory. The points also extended their lead at the top of the table.
It is a big week for Shafi Richmondshire’s popular Afghan professional. Starting with his big contribution to the cup win, on Wednesday a trip to Belfast to watch Ireland v Afghanistan has been arranged by club captain Bob Carr. Then on Thursday he has a benefit game at Richmond when Shafi’s XI will play a side captained by Nasir the Afghan professional at Sessay in a T20.
The game will start at 6pm featuring professionals from around the leagues and players from RCC and Sessay. The bar will be open from 5pm and traditional Afghan food will be available.