Shafi shines as Richmondshire beat Great Ayton

Shafiqullah Ghafari.

Richmondshire put the defeats of the first two fixtures behind them to complete a convincing 171 run win against Great Ayton.

Great Ayton started the day top of the table with two wins and looked on their way to a third when they had Richmondshire at 108 for six. Captain Bob Carr looked on good form but having run out Gary Pratt by calling for a quick single and five other batsmen gone cheaply a big score looked unlikely.

A stand of 125 between Bob and Afghan professional Shafi turned the game. Now settled in and enjoying the sun Shafi looked a different player and set about the Ayton bowling to hit 83 from 53 balls with five fours and six sixes. With Bob Carr continuing his innings to end with 114.

Final flourishes by Tom Brooks, newly arrived from Australia and Josh Dowson took the final total up to 289 for 9 after 50 overs.

Great Ayton made a steady enough start but the arrival of Shafi into the attack had their batsmen struggling against his leg spin variations. Shafi went on to round off a great day with five for 24 and there was a wicket apiece for Tom Brooks and Josh Dowson before the rain arrived. Great Ayton were 118 for 7 and well behind on the Duckworth Lewis calculations and when play was abandoned Richmondshire took 25 points.

Having overcome the two relegated sides in their first two games of the season the 2nds faced another tough fixture as they travelled to league leaders Bishop Auckland.

After making a sound start with a 75 run partnership between Jamie Stead (23) and Marc Lockey (51) there followed a middle order collapse. Dale Marshall added 21 and Alex Percival 15 not out but no other batsmen made double figures. Richmondshire ended on 138 all out.

This total wasn’t enough to trouble Bishop who reached 140 for three after thirty overs, Richmondshire recording only four points.

The 2nds made a strong recovery on the bank holiday Monday when they convincingly defeated Seaton Carew. Put into bat Jamie Stead (32) and Jonny Pears (121) had made a strong start when they were held up for several hours for rain.

On resumption Stead was out with the score on 85. Captain Sam Winter (118) then joined Pars to add a further 201 before the innings was declared after 38 overs with the total at 286 for 1.

Seaton Carew had reached 55 for 3 in 22.4 overs when they gave up any hope of reaching the D/L target and victory gave Richmondshire 25 points.

The 4th team made an excellent total of 250 for 5 against Stockton 2nds. After having lost four wickets for 12 runs, a partnership of 224 between Tom Stockton (131) and Richie Carruthers (91 not out) transformed the game.

Stockton made little effort to compete the total and were content to bat out for a draw at 122 for 3,  giving Richmondshire 14 points.

The 5th team suffered another heavy defeat at Catterick Village. Catterick making 219 for seven and Richmondshire bowled out for 98. It was juniors Isaac Bottomley (33), Joe White (21) and James Cox (14) who contributed most of the runs.

On Sunday the 3rds travelled to Marton and came away with 25 points. Choosing to bat Marton lost their first wicket on seven but a second wicket partnership of 69 frustrated the Richmondshire bowlers. From then on wickets fell steadily with Jake Percival taking three for 24, Finlay Clarke three for 16 and Jamie Stead two for 11. Marton ended on 140 all out in 39.2 overs.

In reply Jamie Stead (78 not out) and Finlay Clarke (51 not out) put on the required 141 without loss. Richmondshire took 25 points and are now only six behind league leaders Norton, who they play next Sunday.