Three centuries in a week for Richmondshire players

Centuries are relatively rare in local league cricket and three in a week even more so, each one scored in very different circumstances.

The first was the foundation of a remarkable recovery by the first team at Saltburn on Saturday when Richmondshire travelled to fourth place Saltburn.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat they slumped to six for three in the fourth over.

A partnership of 161 between Gary Pratt (103 not out) and Sam Wood (65) changed the game, with Ajay Mandal then adding a rapid 32 for 26 balls to make the total after 50 overs 221 for four.

A much improved bowling performance caused Saltburn to struggle for runs, particularly against the spin of Ajay Mandal who bowled 15 overs for just 20 runs and taking two wickets.

With Saltburn all out for 129, Richmondshire took the 25 points.

With Hartlepool losing and Barnard Castle getting only 15 points when the final Normanby Hall pair unexpectedly managed to bat out the last seven overs, the position at the top of the Premier league is closing up.

Hartlepool’s lead now being cut to 15 points with Richmondshire just four ahead of Barnard Castle, who they play at home on Saturday.

The second century was made by 14-year-old Finlay Clarke who scored 139 in a total of 234 for three for the fifth team in an easy win against Middleton-in-Teesdale. Middleton were then bowled out for just 51, giving Richmondshire a win of 183 runs.

The third was made by Steve Mather for the fourth team in their cup semi-final against Shildon Railway on Wednesday.

Steve’s cricket this season has been very limited as work commitments have made him unavailable on Saturdays but he showed he has lost none of his ability in hitting 114 not out in just 67 balls.

This got the Richmondshire total to 185 for three and they went on to win by 46 runs as Shildon made 139 for seven.

They now play Normanby Hall seconds in the final.

Cup games for the Richmondshire teams continue to come thick and fast with all the teams still involved in cup games as well as the regular league fixtures.

The first team suffered a second cup setback of the week last Thursday when a below par performance saw them go out of the 20 over Macmillan Cup to Thornaby.

Thornaby profited from some poor bowling to make 144 for 5.

The Richmondshire batsmen never got up with the required rate and then lost wickets in attempting to close the gap, ending on 120 for six.

On Friday evening the Under 13s went out of the National Knockout to a very good New Rovers team from the Leeds area.

Being able to field four Yorkshire players at the top of their batting line up resulted in a very good start to their innings, with the running between the wickets being particularly impressive.

A direct hit from fielder Jack Platt and a fine catch from James Cox removed the two openers, but the next two batsmen reached the 30-run retirement total to bring the score to 96.

Good bowling then restricted the scoring and resulted in three more wickets and a total of 119 for 7.

The Richmondshire batsmen then found scoring difficult against tight bowling, only Oliver Ashton looked in control to score 32 retired. Richmondshire were all out for 93, to lose by 26 runs.

In Saturday’s other league games the seconds suffered a ten-wicket defeat to Darlington firsts after making 178 all out with captain Brad Elsworth scoring 77 not out.

Again the Richmond old boy principle took effect with Nathan Wright scoring 68 not out as the runs were knocked off in 34 overs.

The fourth team had a 146 run win at Blackhall seconds when having scored 216 for four declared, Clive Layfield 83 not out, they bowled out Blackhall for 70, 25 points keeping them just ten behind leaders Stockton.