UNBEATEN: The Raby Castle first team, which clinched the Darlington and District League A division title for the second time in three seasons
UNBEATEN: The Raby Castle first team, which clinched the Darlington and District League A division title for the second time in three seasons

Raby Castle Cricket Club AGM

OFFICIALS and members reflected on another successful season for the club both on and off the field.

By remaining unbeaten in the league, Raby emerged as worthy winners of the Darlington and District Cricket Leagues A Division for the second time in three seasons.

The 2019 season started very early for Raby. At the start of April, the ICC World Cup was in the North East and the club hosted a match between Sir Ian Botham’s XI, a team made up of local league cricketers from the area against a strong Durham county team.

The event proved a great success for the club and all credit must go to those who helped to get the ground and wicket ready a full two weeks before the start of the regular season.

The day was completed with afternoon tea in the entrance hall of the castle and a Question of Sport quiz hosted by Stephen Brenkley, of Barnard Castle Cricket Club

For the second season the club took part in the ECB All Stars programme, and club co-ordinator Steve Caygill reported that there had been an increase in numbers and that more than 40 children had participated the clubs programme this year.

The development of a junior side is going to be vital to the club’s future, and under junior co-ordinator Scott Hedley there are now at least a dozen youngsters receiving regular training sessions at the club.

The club continued to develop its facilities and received a grant from the ECB Get the Game On scheme, and with the generous support of a vice president, the club was able to purchase a new set of covers which will hopefully mean that less fixtures are lost due to wet weather.

In August he club hosted a touring party of Veterans from Victoria, Australia (VVC) – over here to watch the Ashes series – however, the weather intervened as it never stopped raining all day.

The tourists still came and gave a wonderful rendition of “I am Australian” before the teams exchanged memorabilia and Raby put on a traditional English cricket club tea, although it has to be said with more than 50 visitors space in the club’s pavilion was very much at a premium!

In his report, first team captain Joe Dent thanked all those who had played this season.

He then thanked Ian Dent for his hard work on the square, which is now one of the best playing surfaces in the area, and to all the others who had worked hard on the ground during the season.

He also thanked tea ladies Catherine Forster and her mam Joan Heslop for the superb teas and for all their help and support throughout the season.

Joe then gave special praise to his twin brother Matthew, who hit an unbeaten 130 in the final match of the season. The members all agreed that Matthew’s innings was one of the best ever seen at Raby and it went a long way in ensuring that the title came back to Raby in 2019.

Matthew also topped the clubs batting averages after accumulating 940 runs at an average of 58.8 and as wicket keeper he took 11 catches and 11 stumpings.

Simon Lee (720) and Peter Forster (654) also made significant contributions with the bat.

Dan Lee topped the bowling averages with 44 wickets at an average of 11.4 runs per wicket.

The club’s top wicket taker was James Forster who took 47 wickets and there were great contributions from Joe Beadle (43) and Simon Lee (41 wickets).

Second team Captain Robert Kirkup reported a disappointing season.

They finished bottom of the Darlington and District Cricket League B Division and players had struggled for consistency mainly due to the poor weather, other teams conceding games and player availability.

Robert congratulated Paul Waldock for topping the batting with an average of 32.4 and he also praised the batting contributions of Rob Hayward (296 runs) and Josh Wade (199 runs).

Scott Hedley topped the bowling averages at 11.6 runs per wicket.

The top wicket taker in the seconds was Jamie Simpson who took 15 wickets and there were contributions from Mark Humble (12), Vince Webster (11) and Josh Wade (10).

In her report, treasurer Betty Poole stated that the club was in a healthy financial position.

She thanked all those who had helped to raise funds for the club and also those who had supported the club’s fundraising events.

She stressed that fundraising is very important and we must not rest on our laurels.

Club secretary Steve Caygill thanked all the committee members for their hard work and support he has had during the year and he stated that Raby Castle CC is in a very good place both on and off the field of play.

Club president Duncan Peake firstly congratulated the first team on their successful season, he then on behalf of Raby Estates thanked the club for the keeping the ground and its facilities in such a fantastic condition.

He believes that the club and the estate are part of a symbiotic relationship and that the estate really appreciate that we are there playing cricket at weekends.

He has received lots of positive comments from the general public who really appreciate the opportunity to watch a game of cricket in such a fabulous setting when they come to the castle and gardens.

Stephen Caygill

Secretary RCCC