The Thursday Bank Holiday provided an ideal opportunity to play the second round of the Kerridge Cup, which is normally a Sunday event.
Richmondshire 1sts travelled to Great Ayton for the 40 over match and having won the toss put Ayton into bat. Josh Dowson made an early break through with two wickets and when Shaun Charlton claimed the third Ayton were 37 for three.
A partnership of 56 improved things for the batting side but when Shafiq bowled Jon Grainge for 37 it set off a collapse. Tom Brooks taking four wickets in quick succession to make the score 104 for 8.
A ninth wicket partnership of 44 was finally broken by Gary Pratt, who quickly followed up with the final wicket. Ayton ended on 150 all out after 38.5 overs with Tom Brooks topping the bowling figures with four for 19.
Richmondshire lost Tom Dowson with only 11 on the board but a 44 run second wicket partnership between Bob Carr (47) and Mike Layfield (19) put them back on course.
A final partnership of 57 between Gary Pratt (41 not out) and Sam Wood (32 not out) completed the win after 26 overs.
Saturday’s league fixture saw the 1sts play Hartlepool at home. Hartlepool have had an up and down season, but the ups have come when they have been able to field their two Durham second team players.
Both Harry Crawshaw and Jonny Bushnell were available on Saturday meaning Richmondshire faced a stiffer test.
Choosing to bat first Richmondshire made a solid start with 57 on the board before Tom Dowson was run out for 33. Mike Layfield was then the second run out of the innings for 34 with the total on 123 for 2. A good all round batting performance saw Bob Carr add 58, Gary Pratt 59 not out and Owen Kelly 42.
Then in a bid to add quick runs at the end of the inning Shafiq scored 14 from 10 and Sam Wood 18 from eight balls to finish on 289 for 6.
Towards the end of the innings Harry Crawshaw Hartlepool’s star batsmen fell heavily while fielding and went to A&E with a suspected broken collar bone. It turned out not to be a break bur he was unable to return to bat.
The Richmondshire bowlers struggled to make an impact on the easy paced wicket and Hartlepool put on 78 for the first wicket. While not appearing to be keen to chase a win the Hartlepool batsmen were proving difficult to dislodge.
Despite two wickets each for Shafiq and Tom Brooks a win began to look unlikely. It was only when Shafiq had Paul Braithwaite (79) caught by Sam Wood (taking his sixth catch of the week) that the game started to turn Richmondshire’s way.
Three wickets fell for two runs in the last two overs and with Hartlepool a batsman short, only one more wicket was needed for victory.
In his final over Gary Pratt was convinced he had an lbw but the umpire didn’t agree so the game ended as a draw. With 16 points from the game Richmondshire lost ground to both Middlesbrough and Barnard Castle who both had 20 point wins.
Middlesbrough remain top with 163 thanks to their extra game played. Barnard Castle have 155 and Richmondshire 136.
The 2nds had an excellent win against second place Guisborough 1sts. After being put into bat Guisborough made 234 for eight. James Kelly playing his first game since returning to the club from Darlington taking five for 52.
The Richmondshire reply started badly with three wickets down for 33. A stand of 46 between Matty Price (88) and Richie Carruthers (22) and 67 from James Kelly put Richmondshire on the road to a 20-point win. This moved Richmondshire ahead of Guisborough but having played one more game.
The 4ths suffered a narrow defeat at Normanby Hall 2nds. Put into bat Richmondshire scored 170 for eight with Ollie Ashton scoring 51.
Normanby lost a wicket on seven but then dug in to slowly overhaul the Richmondshire total. A late collapse then saw them lose four wickets for one run but then hold on to reach 171 for 7 in 38.2 overs. Despite the closeness of the game Richmondshire only earning seven points.
The 5ths had an outstanding ten wicket win against Aldbrough 2nds. A strong all round bowling performance saw Aldbrough dismissed for 140 in 34.1 overs. John Bewell took three for 31, Raam Raj two for 18 and Mike White three for three.
Mike White then crowned a man of the match performance by scoring 82 not out, as in partnership with James Cox (33) they completed the win without loss in 26 overs.
On Sunday the 3rds were in a strong position at Middlesbrough 3rds when rain brought the game to an early close. Middlesbrough had made 185 for 8 with the Richmondshire junior bowling line up sharing the wickets. The Percival brothers accounted for five with two each for Jake and Alex and one for Max and Joe White taking the other.
Jamie Stead (49 not out) and Alex Percival (23) put on 66 for the first wicket and with John Clark adding 23 Richmondshire had reached 104 for 1 in 24 overs. With only another 82 needed in 16 overs and nine wickets in hand Richmondshire will feel the rain robbed them of victory.