You have to go back to the June 26 to find Richmondshire’s last league defeat, when they went down to Marton.
Saturday’s defeat at Billingham Synthonia by seven wickets is a big wake up call before the final three games of the season. Fortunately, the damage to their league position was not as bad as it might have been, as Barnard castle’s game was rained off with them in a very strong position.
After a rain delayed start Richmondshire were put into bat and therefore had the opportunity to register another 25 points. Richmondshire lost opener Tom Dowson after just four balls but a partnership between Bob Carr (60) and Gary Pratt (35) took them to 104 for three. Mike Layfield, who is showing something like his old form in recent games, added 44 and Josh Dowson weighed in with 27 from 12 balls. This took the total to 215 for 7 after 48 overs.
In reply Billingham made a slow start, scoring only five in the first five overs and when the first wicket went down to Josh Dowson in the ninth over Billingham were 17 for 1. Unfortunately, the next wicket to fall brought in the league’s in-form batsmen Tayyab Tahir. The Pakistani professional was fresh from the highest NYSD total ever with 226 in the previous week’s game when Billingham had scored a massive 387 for five in fifty overs. Tahir broke the previous record total of 213 which has stood to former Richmondshire professional Ijaz Ahmed since 1995.
The Richmondshire bowlers had no answer to Tahir as he hit 107 from 80 balls seeing Billingham home in drizzle and fading light. The final total of 217 for three gave Billingham a seven wicket win and left Richmondshire with just four batting points and one bowling point.
Further west at Barnard Castle an earlier start had been possible and Barnard Castle had reduced Great Ayton to 50 for 6 in 19 overs before rain halted proceedings. This left a frustrated Barnard Castle with just six game points and three bowling points when they had looked odds on for 20 points. Gaining four points on Richmondshire they cut their league lead to 22 points. With three games each remaining the traditional Bank Holiday Monday clash at Barnard Castle could well be the decider.
The 1sts were the only Richmondshire team to play on Saturday. Guisbrough 2nds had already conceded their game against the 4ths giving them 25 points. With no other games played no other team gained more than six points so promotion must now be guaranteed. The 2nds and 5ths games were rained off.
Better weather on Sunday allowed a days uninterrupted play at home for the 3rds who managed a narrow victory against Redcar 2nds. Captain John Clark continued his run of late season form with a score of 52 in the total of 162 for 6.
The three Percival brothers Alex, Jake and Max accounted for six of the Redcar wickets to fall with Harvey Websdale taking three for 34. The last wicket fell to veteran Andy Dade with Redcar just one short of the Richmondshire total at 161 all out.