Richmondshire took a step closer in their bid to retain the Darlington Building Society North Yorkshire and South Durham ECB Premier League title but Marton continue to rule the roost.Others in the hunt, namely Darlington and Guisborough, also won again to keep within striking distance of the top.What seems to be the pattern this season for teams opposed to their greatest rivals – being bowled out for less than three figures – happened to Great Ayton.
Like Darlington (77 all out) and Guisborough (69 all out) the previous weekend, Ayton went on the same slippery slope having their pride badly dented when bowled out for just 76.
The Quakers were humbled by Marton and Guisborough skittled by Great Ayton who got a dose of their own medicine at the hands of Richmond.The villagers had started the day in second place with four wins in the bag already and had been expected to give their visitors, who were two points and one place behind them, their toughest game of the season. But it went disastrously wrong after Richmond made 227 for eight. James Clarkson (79) made his season’s best with ten boundaries from 120 balls and shared a second wicket stand of 114 with Mike Layfield (90 from 90 balls). The only disappointment came when Gary Pratt fell for 17, three runs short of becoming the first this season to reach 500.Ayton lost their first two wickets for 19 runs and the next eight for 56, including the last three without a single run being scored.
The devastation was caused by a new look seam attack of Craig Swainston (4-24) and Craig Marshall (4-40) with ‘pro’, Shani Dissanayake taking the other two wickets. Only Chris Batchelor (29) covered himself in glory. The Dalesmen moved into second place and Ayton slipped down to fifth.Marton, who won comfortably against Stokesley in what proved an absorbing derby, were able to double their lead to four points.
Jonny Weighell (59 from 69 balls) and Chris Allinson (45) had the hosts on the hop at one stage, but when they got out after a stand of 83 five wickets fell for just 14 runs and Stokesley were squeezed to 161 for eight. Upul Indrasiri (4-34) led the rout before hitting 34 and with Neil Russell, the six wicket star a week ago, making an 88 ball top score of 55 there was only ever to be one winner. Darlington moved up a place to third with a last over win, their sixth of the season, over Sedgefield after being set to score 189. Steve Naylor (82 from 100 balls) and Richie Hawthorne (61 from 135 balls) struck a 133-run second wicket partnership which might normally have been enough to give them victory. But Liam Coates (83 not out) and Matty Brown (55) came together after three wickets had fallen cheaply and shared a stand of 119 which changed the direction of the game.
They enjoyed victory by five wickets with just two balls of the 50 overs remaining. For Brown it proved a glorious day, making a most impressive debut after a long lay-off due to serious back problems. Hartlepool were the day’s biggest movers leap-frogging both Stokesley and Middlesbrough, who also lost. They defeated Barnard Castle, who are heading in the wrong direction after their fifth defeat. Only bottom club, Thornaby, have been beaten more times.Pool, now in sixth place, also figured in a dramatic finish with Barney holding out until four balls from the end before being bowled out well short of their visitors total of 184 for eight. Jack Wilkinson (52) and Jon Rickard shared a 113-run partnership with 17 boundaries between them even though James Finch (6-40) enjoyed his best 17 overs of the season.
The home skipper then hit 40 out of 124 but couldn’t prevent the success of Marc Symington (5-20) and former team-mate Callum Prosser (3-41).Guisborough overcame last week’s first defeat of the season by winning handsomely at Middlesbrough’s Acklam Park. James Lowe (74) and Adil Ditta (50) shared an opening stand of 107 but Ranil Dhammika (4-59) made sure Boro managed just 73 more. Martin Hood (49) did the spadework for the five wicket win.The bottom of the table dogfight proved a triumph for Saltburn whose win by five wickets moved them out of the relegation places but plunged Thornaby into desperate trouble at the foot of the table. Even Jonnie Spillane’s first century in two seasons couldn’t save them.Sunday’s relegation battle at Marske was a tale of two second wicket partnerships, the first for Redcar was worth 202 runs and shared between skipper Tom Urwin and Muhammad Saad. Urwin eventually fell for 92, while Saad made 89, and their efforts ensured the Seasiders posted a challenging total of 232 for five.When the Hall responded Shahid Khan (67) and Sohaib Maqsood (81) put on 149 together, but with former teammate Mohammad Zahid tying Normanby down with 4-42 from 17 overs they could only reach 202 for six in their reply.Normanby took nine points from the game to move out of the bottom two, while Redcar’s 14 point return saw them move nine clear of the drop zone.