Richmondshire grab vital win between showers
Rain-robbed Richmondshire are back in the championship hunt after winning in a hurry so that the weather couldn’t again wreck their chances of a successful title bid.
The Dalesmen, who had begun to wonder when they would get another game under their belts after having three of their last six matches called off and two of the other three abandoned, polished off relegation threatened Billingham Synthonia between the showers and cut the gap between themselves and leaders Darlington by a helpful 11 points.
The Quakers struggled to fight off the challenge of Great Ayton who, at the moment, look to be the only other serious challengers for the top prize.
Set to score 198 to win Darlington fell 44 runs short of the target although they accelerated in the closing overs to gain sufficient draw points to stay out in front by 20 points.
Ace bowler Jonathan Barnes became the battling batter as he stopped a collapse at the top of the Darlington innings, shared a stand of 105 with Lee Hutton, and then carried his bat for a magnificent 75, having faced 120 balls from a determined home attack. Hutton couldn’t have timed his return to the team better to face 93 balls for 40 runs.
Barnes had earlier bowled his usual economic 17 overs with ten maidens and his two wickets took him to 38 for the season. His fellow professional, Doug Mulholland, was the star performer with six wickets taking him to 33 as Ayton faced a batting crisis of their own.
Michael Croft dug-in for an unbeaten 64 sharing in stands of 52 with Steve Pennock (34) and 57 with Lewis Harper (41) after the villagers had slumped to 31 for 5 after being put into bat.
Harper’s bowling was also in tune as he conceded just 30 runs to grab three crucial wickets. His most important broke the Hutton-Barnes partnership and made sure Ayton returned to third place in the league ratings.
Richmond needed just 23 overs to score the 74 runs necessary to defeat Billingham by eight wickets. Shani Dissanayake (36 not out) and Gary Pratt (24 not out) wasted no time after James Clarkson went cheaply.
The Synners found Brad Elsworth (3-19), Lewis Stabler (2-5) and Dissanayake (2-21) too imposing as they slumped to 36 for seven, losing four of the wickets without a run being scored.
Defeat for Billingham sent them into bottom place and they were joined as relegation candidates by Thornaby who lost heavily at Barnard Castle after being bowled out for a paltry 103 with Callum Prosser (5-38) back in form.
But there’s renewed hope for Sedgefield that their first premier season won’t be their last as they gained only their second win to move out of the bottom two.
They defeated Marske by 56 runs with Richard Hawthorne having an inspirational day as the new captain. He hit his first half century of the season and took five wickets cheaply as the Seasiders were overcome.
Hawthorne faced 133 balls to score his 54 with five boundaries and was supported by Chris Gillespie (36 from 37 balls) and Steve Naylor (31) as Sedgefield totalled 167 for five.
Dominic Hendricks (56) defied the three-pronged attack of Hawthorne (5-23 from 14 overs), Naylor (3-40 from 13) and Mohammed Zahid (2-29 from 9.5 overs) until he was eighth out.
Marske totalled 111 after having a chance of chasing a win when they were 51 before the first wicket fell. But disaster struck when they lost two wickets for a single run and another three while just four runs were added.
Marton had the outstanding run chase of the day which gave them a much needed and quite brilliant victory over Hartlepool.
Having lost six wickets for 87 runs and facing defeat, skipper Mattie Brown (59 not out) and veteran John Glendenen (41), making a comeback, shared an exciting 101 runs stand to turn the game upside down. They won by three wickets with nine balls remaining.
Middlesbrough shared an uninspired draw with Normanby Hall with just 11 runs separating the teams and Dan Hodgson’s unbeaten 60 from 122 balls unable to inspire victory.