HITTING OUT: Jake Black in action for Barningham at Cliffe's picturesque Piercebridge ground
HITTING OUT: Jake Black in action for Barningham at Cliffe's picturesque Piercebridge ground

Darlington and District Cricket League
AFTER the league was hit by its second resignation this season – West Park RA giving up the weekly struggle to get 11 players on the field – there are now just four A division fixtures on a Saturday for the rest of the season.
As luck would have it, Haughton visited Raby Castle just five days before the sides were due to meet in the A division cup final at Feethams.
The league encounter proved a one-sided affair with Haughton easing to a comfortable 57-run win after posting 227-7.
The top three scored most of the runs, Sam Bainbridge hitting 53, Craig Edwards falling one short of his half century and Danny McGuire continuing his good run of form with 66.
Raby’s bowlers toiled and only the introduction of Simon Lee’s slow left armers checked Haughton’s progress.
Lee finished with 4-47 and there was a wicket apiece for Joe Beadle and Elliott Davis.
Lee then followed up with a run-a-ball half century and although Davis hit a patient 71, Raby were always behind the run rate and closed at 170-5.
Barningham failed to capitalise on an opening stand of 67 in quick time on a blameless pitch at Cliffe.
Skipper Rob Stanwix held the innings together with a typically hard-hitting 92 as wickets fell around him and the innings closed on 178 – at least 50 below par.
Dave Earle took 4-27 and there were two wickets apiece for Will Heathcote and Dan Naisbitt, whose verbal conduct towards the umpire could lead to disciplinary action.
In reply, Heathcote put away the bad ball – and there were plenty – on his way to 44 while Tom Park-Bradley remained unbeaten on 33 as Cliffe cruised to a four wicket win. Carl Irving took 3-49 and Jake Black will bowl worse spells for much greater reward than the 1-37 he picked up on this occasion.
At Aldbrough St John, both Martin Ferguson and Dan Smith fell five runs short of a century as the hosts piled up 311-7 against Catterick Village, with Mike Fleming also contributing a half century.
On a chastening afternoon for the bowlers, Keith Swainston’s ten overs went at less than five an over and Tim Bishop picked up four wickets, albeit for 78 off his ten.
In Catterick’s reply of 148, only two batsmen made it to double figures. Joe Oselton hit an entertaining 70 and Nigel Cole kept him company before falling for 30.
Cockerton’s veteran seamer Gary Warr picked up six Witton-le-Wear wickets for just ten runs in what turned out to be a thrilling game.
Thanks to Warr’s spell, Witton were bowled out for just 104.
But on a day when ball dominated bat, four wickets each for Adam Nelson and Aman Sangha took Witton to within an inch of victory before Cockerton’s last pair of Richard Gill and Michael Barr saw them over the line.
In the B division, Lands continued on their merry way with a good win against Oxbridge CC that took them to the top of the table.
Gary Close and Andrew Elstob both fell in the 40s before a late flourish from Shaun Rudd (27no) and skipper Craig Talbot (28no) helped Lands to 181-5. Lewis Leng took two early Oxbridge wickets, finishing with 3-20, as the visitors fell well short at 113.
Middleton-in-Teesdale’s misfortune was to come across Richmondshire V batsman Finlay Clarke at the top of his game.
Clarke smashed 139 from 127 balls, an innings which included 15 boundaries and four maximums.
Richmond eventually closed on 234-3 in their 40 overs.
With Anth Coatsworth’s experience missing, the Middleton batsmen struggled and could only muster 51. Max Percival, with 4-9, was the pick of Richmond’s bowlers.
In the reverse fixture, Raby Castle II defeated Haughton II off the last ball of the game.
Set 188 for victory, Josh Wade made 78 for Raby, Adam Harker added a vital 23 before it was left to Rob Kirkup to get the side over the line.
Elsewhere, Barton’s 208-7 was too many for Cliffe II, who replied with 175-9, while Spennymoor reached King James' 124 for the loss of four wickets.
TRIBUTES were paid last week to Rockliffe Park CC stalwart John Gent, who died at the age of 96.
Mr Gent was connected with Rockliffe Park CC for more than 75 years, most recently as club president.
Brian Jones, president of the Darlington and District Cricket League, said: “John was a honorary life president and great supporter of our league, and served as honorary general secretary from 1971 to 1977. He will be sorely missed.”