Darlington exploit weather window
A third change of leaders in as many weeks came about as Richmondshire lost the top spot in the Darlington Building Society ECB North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League after being left waterlogged while others played.
They became the latest casualty of the weather despite opting to travel through to Marske after being advised by the home club that the ground was unfit following heavy overnight rain.
After spending three hours waiting in vain for the playing area to dry out their only alternative was to follow the progress of their closest championship rivals Darlington who, by the end of the day, had jumped ahead of them and grabbed an eight point lead as the new pacesetters.
Their trio of experienced bowlers, Peter Armstrong (3-36), Jon Barnes (2-37) and Doug Mulholland (2-47) shared all the overs to keep opponents Middlesbrough subdued for most of their innings.
Even James Lowe (51 from 120 balls) and Adil Ditta (27 from 90 balls) couldn’t break out although their third wicket stand of 65 steadied their innings after losing the first two wickets for just 18 runs.
At 130 for eight they looked short of a winning score and after the in-form Liam Coates (62) had left Darlington needing just 25 to win the Quakers never looked in any danger. They went on to win by five wickets.
Despite their disappointment Richmondshire had the consolation of seeing the season’s initial leaders, Barnard Castle, failing to move back above them.
They lost to Normanby Hall who enjoyed their first win thanks to an outstanding six wicket spell from Leigh Beaumont.
The Hall posted 187 with Janaka Gunarathne (42) joined by Shahid Khan (35) and Graham Shaw (25) despite tidy bowling performances from James Finch (3-48), Simon Tennant (2-26) and Richard Borrowdale (2-35).
Tennant also top scored with 36 but when he was out Barney collapsed, losing their last six wickets for just 24 runs. They were all out for 107.
Thornaby’s new professional, Sri Lankan Indika de Saram, was the inspiration behind the club’s first win since returning to the premier division.
In only his second game he enjoyed a remarkable 18 over bowling spell in which he took two wickets in conceding just six runs against Stokesley, while his team-mate Omar Shahid (4-31) provided the knock out punch at the other end.
Thornaby’s batting, however, was unconvincing and with James Beaumont (3-25) and Clive Dowson (2-16) in harmony the hosts were grateful to Saram for his 31 runs which extended their total to 109.
But it was 41 runs more than Stokesley could muster as Saram bowled 15 overs without conceding a run, 12 of them consecutively, completely bamboozling the opposition batsmen.
Billingham Synthonia had an outstanding result when they beat Guisborough in thrilling fashion by eight runs. It was a nail biting finish as Mike Yuill (2-13) followed up the earlier excellent work of Martin Cull (3-29) and Stuart Lobb (3-44) to bowl out the Priorymen for 118.
Billingham found Stu Mackay (6-25) in great form as they were restricted to 126 despite an opening stand of 71 between Craig Symington (42) and Tariq Aziz (32). The collapse was replicated by Guisborough who lost seven wickets at one stage for just 34 runs.
Hartlepool were the day’s other winners and their seven wicket success at Sedgefield lifted them up the league to third place.
After taking four wickets to cause the collapse of the home side from 86 for three to 113 all out, visiting professional Kasun Bodhisha grafted for an unbeaten half century for Pool to win by seven wickets.
Sedgefield had started well enough after being put in to bat and openers Dave Cross (52) and Richard Hawthorne (31) featured in an opening stand of 60.
Cross, with two fours and two sixes, faced 101 balls while his team-mate hit three fours in an 86-ball knock. But then the collapse started, the last seven wickets tumbling for just five runs. Four batsmen went without troubling the scorer.
Scoring wasn’t easy for Pool, either, and Neil Coverdale needed 104 balls to make 31 alongside Bodhisha whose 55 from 77 balls included just one boundary.