WICKET TAKER: Out of form with the bat, Alasdair Appleby bagged his second five wicket haul of the season
WICKET TAKER: Out of form with the bat, Alasdair Appleby bagged his second five wicket haul of the season

Barnard Castle CC

Barnard Castle v Stokesley

TOWARDS the end of Barney’s innings on Saturday, Finn Usher walked out to bat. Quick runs were needed but it was the 16-year-old’s first XI debut and he was facing the Indian first-class professional, Shrikant Wagh.

He managed to keep out three balls, he never looked like scoring. The fourth was a low full toss and Usher drilled it through the covers for four. The fifth was a good length ball which Usher calmly drove straight back over the bowler’s head for six. He was content to scramble a single from the sixth as Wagh redoubled his effort.

Three hours later, Usher was at square leg when Stokesley’s number ten played an ill-advised attacking shot which came from the meat of the bat. He pouched the catch nonchalantly and was mobbed by his new team mates. Barney had won by 67 runs. The victory, propelled by another excellent display in the field, brought 25 points and took the team to second in the NYSD Premier Division. Great Ayton continue to lead the table.

Usher’s confident performance – he took two catches in all and bowled three wicketless overs of off-spin with good control – was an encouraging part of a collective effort.

Though no Barney batsman made 50, seven of the eight used made double figures.

They had a clearly competitive if not impregnable total, but some remarkable catching in the deep put the squeeze on Stokesley just as it looked as though they might launch a meaningful attempt to win.

Barney chose to bat, though they might have had cause to regret that when they were confronted by Wagh and the Durham bowler, James Weighell, bowling for his home club for the first time this season as he returns from injury.

Weighell was quicker than any bowler Barney have faced this summer and it was not long before he accounted for Alasdair Appleby.

It was exactly the sort of ball an out of form batsman does not want: fast, on off stump moving away, having to be played. Appleby inevitably edged to slip.

But James Alderson and Hashan Dumindu now assembled a careful stand for the second wicket. They took no risks, content to hit the bad ball. But when they were out in successive overs it left plenty to do.

The middle order responded perfectly, Richard Borrowdale, Mike Dixon and Phil Merryweather all gathering their runs at a lick, playing round captain James Quinn who gradually accelerated. And then came Usher.

TM Subs 2

With Giles Creedon bowling the sort of tight opening spell to which Barney have become accustomed, Stokesley were in early bother. But two of the three Weighell boys, Jonny and James came out slugging. Runs came in a torrent.

But James lunged too early at a ball from Appleby and was taken by Creedon at long off, a beautifully judged catch. Not long after, Jonny Weighell hoisted Appleby to mid-wicket where Alderson stuck close to the boundary rope and at the last second leapt and extended his right hand where the ball stayed. It was an outstanding, instinctive catch.

From there, only the lack of overs at their disposal could deny Barney. But Quinn changed his bowlers adroitly, Richard Watson struck twice and Appleby, compensating amply with the ball for his struggles with the bat, took his second five wicket haul with clever off-breaks.

Newton Aycliffe v Barney II

A CAPTAIN’S innings of a superb vintage from Richard Stanwix was the centrepiece of Barney’s victory by 62 runs at Aycliffe. At 17 for 3 and 49 for 4, Barney were in a pickle but Stanwix’s composed and positive maiden century changed the course of the match.

His unbeaten 112 came from 131 balls and contained 15 fours and four sixes. There was crucial support from the middle order with Adam Smith in plundering mood at the end with 31 from 14 balls.

Aycliffe started with gusto but when Barney made the breakthrough wickets fell regularly.

Shane Mullery removed most of the middle order for his first five-wicket haul of the season and veteran Ben Usher included six maidens in his nine overs of reborn off-spin.

Barney II 207-7 (50 overs, R Stanwix 112no, A Smith 31no, R Makepeace 15, J Slatcher 3-15); Newton Aycliffe 145 all out (48 overs, J Haines 29, D Bancroft 22, S Mullery 5-20, C McKnight 3-33). Barney won by 62 runs

Richmondshire II v

Barney III

SEVERAL of Barney’s young side acquitted themselves well in the defeat at Richmond on Sunday. Cameron McKnight’s attacking innings made him top scorer and Theo Truss, who had scored 50 for the under 15s earlier in the day then took three wickets with his leg spin, including Clive Layfield, the veteran scorer of more than 50 hundreds.

Barney 152 for 7 (40 overs, C McKnight 49, A Gedye 22, S Mullery 19, J Kelly 2-21); Richmondshire 153 for 6 (32.5 overs, M Price 49no, C Layfield 29, T Truss 3-34, B Hesp 2-44). Richmondshire won by four wickets.