Win keeps Richmondshire in touch with league leaders

A good win at Hartlepool kept the first team within striking distance of the top of the league, their five-wicket win at Park Drive maintaining the gap at 18 points.

Hartlepool’s batsmen were never able to get to grips with the visiting attack as they battled to 169-7.

With Craig Marshall injured, Richmondshire were relieved to have Matty McKiernan back in the attack and a return of 4-30 from a full 15 overs was the result. Putting Matty back at to the top of the Premier Division wicket takers with 35, despite his recent absence.

Having been dismissed for 99 the previous week, Gary Pratt made sure this time round, striking 14 fours in 120 balls and remaining unbeaten on 103, his first century of the season, as he guided his team to the win inside 40 overs.

The 20 point win moves them to within two points of Barnard Castle who were well beaten at Bishop Auckland. Great Ayton just squeaked home at Seaton Carew to stay top.

The first team returned to Hartlepool on Tuesday night in the 15:15 quarter final and again came away victorious. A good all round bowling performance dismissed Hartlepool for 131 in 14.3 overs.

Mike Layfield then took the batting honours with 74 as Richmond won by five wickets.

In Division One the promotion battle took another twist, as the lead changed hands for the third time in 3 weeks. Whitby started the day top, but Richmondshire 2nds were too good for them at Hurgill Road. Batting first Whitby made 205-9 with captain Shaun Charlton taking 5 for 44.

The Fleming brothers have dominated as an opening partnership in recent weeks, and once again they put the game beyond doubt sharing an opening stand of 155 before Andy went for 74. Mike went on to complete an undefeated 101 in the 8-wicket win, his second hundred in a month.

Richmondshire now lie just 5 points off the lead, and 7 points ahead of Whitby, having now defeated both them and Billingham in recent weeks. They have played a game more than their rivals, but must be in with a chance of creating history by becoming the first 2nd XI to win Division One, or at least finishing in a top two spot.

As a second team cannot be promoted some of the Premier Division sides may well be cheering them on in the coming weeks as it means only one team would be relegated.

With Richmondshire v Billingham being the final game of the season on September 8th it could be a tense finish.

The 4th team suffered a 65 run defeat to Aldbrough St John. In reply to Aldbrough’s 202 for 7. The first four batsmen scored into the twenties before losing their wickets but the innings then collapsed to 137 all out.