An excellent weekend started with a fairly straight forward win at Middlesbrough.
Having chosen to bat first Middlesbrough were bowled out for 173 in 46.1 overs, with only 89 from James Lowe keeping the score respectable.
Craig Marshall with 4 for 49 continued his outstanding season passing the 50-wicket mark. In the Richmondshire innings 73 not out for Gary Pratt and 41 for Mike Layfield took them to victory in just 43 overs.
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Another 20 points kept up the pressure at the top of the table, with Great Ayton taking seventeen points with Guisborough just holding out for a draw.
However, Barnard Castle took advantage of the easy points on offer against bottom placed Norton and won batting first to get twenty-five points. So Great Ayton stay top with 211, Barnard castle second with 193 and Richmondshire third with 187.
Sunday saw the NYSD Premier 15s preliminary round matches, with Richmondshire playing Barnard Castle and Darlington at Barnard Castle’s Vere Road ground. In the first game Barnard Castle defeated Darlington, a win which Richmondshire were able to repeat in the second. Darlington scored `33 for 6 in their fifteen overs, most of the runs coming from Liam Coates (33) and Muhammed Saad (55). In the Richmondshire innings Gary Pratt (38), Mike Layfield (23), Alston Bobb (28 not out) and Steve Mather (35) all made important contributions as they completed the win in 14.1 overs.
This set up a decider against Barney, who have become something of a bogey team of late and looked as if it might be the same again, when a fine 119 not out by James Quinn took the total to 180 for 7. Facing a run rate of twelve an over to win it was going to need something special and Mike Layfield signalled Richmondshire’s intention to go for it big time by hitting sixes off the first three bowls of the innings.
So much did he dominate that Gary Pratt was only on one when the first wicket went down at forty-one. Once Mike was out for 55 73 for 2, it was left to Matty Cowling to take over the big hitting, scoring 76 not out as Richmondshire hit the winning runs in the final over finishing 181 for 6. A famous victory which take them to the finals day at Billingham on the August Bank Holiday Sunday.
The 2nds managed their first win for several weeks when they defeated Redcar by 3 wickets. Redcar batting first were bowled out for 149 in 39.4 overs, Rob West doing most of the damage with 6 for 34. In the Richmondshire innings after the openers went cheaply runs were spread round fairly evenly as they reached 150 for 7 in 41.5 overs.
The 4th team also won at home defeating Middleton-in-Teesdale by eight wickets. Middleton were all out for 142 and Jhovani Clark (42) and Dion Wood (61 not out) put Richmondshire ahead after just twenty-seven overs.
The 5ths were the only losers on Saturday and are now starting tp fear been drawn into a relegation battle. Playing at Oxbridge a century by their opener put them on their way 187 for 6 total. Despite 57 from Mike Irvine a win never looked likely and Richmondshire finished on 153 for 9.
On Sunday, the 3rds continued their unbeaten run with a nine wicket win at Stokesley. Stokesley batted first and were all out for 155 in 34.2 overs, Harvey Websdale taking 3 for 35 and Andy Dade 3 for 27. When Richmondshire batted 49 not out for Clive Layfield, 56 for tom Dowson and 33 not out for James Kelly saw them home in 27.2 overs. Another 20 points pot Richmondshire 33 points clear at the top of the table.
Monday night saw the Under 17s complete their league programme and confirm their place at the top of the North section table. Without captain Sam Winter and several other regulars, they were still far too strong for Newton Aycliffe and won by ten wickets. Ryan Patrick with a fine 42 carried the Newton Aycliffe innings, with James Kelly taking 3 for 6 and Matty Price 3 for 14. Openers Tom Dowson (44 not out) and Matty Price (31 not out) had little trouble knocking off the runs in just 8.4 overs. Having won the North Section League, they will now play off against the winners of the Central and Southern sections and the best runner up for the overall championship.