TOP KNOCK: Haughton opener Sam Bainbridge batted through for an unbeaten 58 as his side posted 128 against Raby Castle in the semi final of the Cec Leece Cup
TOP KNOCK: Haughton opener Sam Bainbridge batted through for an unbeaten 58 as his side posted 128 against Raby Castle in the semi final of the Cec Leece Cup

Darlington and District Cricket League

HAUGHTON’S loss at Nunthorpe in the latest round of games means there are now just 12 points separating the top three sides in the A division.

Despite five batsmen making starts, none could produce an innings of substance for Haughton, who were bowled out for just 102.

Opener Sam Bainbridge and Mark Dobinson made 20s but both were sent back before either could make a telling contribution.

The wickets were shared among four Nunthorpe bowlers, whose batsmen then had few alarms chasing down the small total, despite Mark Little’s 2-24, and cruised to an eight wicket win.

Second placed Raby Castle went one better, cruising to a nine-wicket win at Aldbrough St John.

Like Haughton, five Aldbrough batsmen got to double figures but were undone by the Lee brothers, Dan and Simon.

Dan took 4-14 in an opening blast of eight overs, while Simon claimed 4-26 with his left arm spin before following up with a quickfire 43 in Raby’s reply.

Lee’s was the only wicket to fall as Raby reached Aldbrough’s paltry 90 in the 15th over.

By contrast, third placed Barningham’s chase of East Cowton’s 92 was an altogether closer affair.

At drinks, East Cowton had reached 75-1 in 15 overs and looked set for a big total.

However, the removal of Brian Tucker, caught by Colin Blackburn at square leg off the bowling of Paul Kearton for 53, sparked a collapse.

Kearton ended up with 4-10 and skipper Rob Stanwix 4-12 as Cowton’s batting capitulated.

However, any thoughts of strolling to victory in the afternoon sun were soon dispelled as Barningham lost three wickets with just six on the board.

Will Morris, promoted up to number three, produced his best knock of the season and when he was out for 44 – caught on the boundary going for glory – Barningham were just two runs short of the win.

The top three are some way clear of Cliffe in fourth, who maintained their good form this season with a 44-run win at Middleton St George.

Will Heathcote and Tom Sowerby top scored for Cliffe, both hitting 34, and the side’s 171-7 was aided by a hefty 40 extras.

Ben Howe then claimed the key wicket of Middleton opener Chris Peacock before Dave Earle chipped in with 4-32 as the hosts were held to 127-9.

After last week’s morale boosting win against Barningham, Barton came down to earth with a bump, losing by seven wickets to Richmondshire IV.

Barton were bowled out for 132, with Andy Dade picking up 3-16 and, despite the loss of a couple of early wickets, Richmondshire’s batsmen were little troubled in reaching the target.

The match between Spennymoor and West Park RA was called off – Spenny’s ground failing to dry out from the midweek deluge.

In the B division, only two games were played. Middleton-in-Teesdale conceded their match at Haughton II due to carnival day in the village.

With B division fixtures being devised to give teams free weeks this season, it seems a missed opportunity not to have given Middleton the first Saturday in August off.

Meanwhile, Oxbridge conceded their game at Raby Castle II.

In the games that did take place, Cockerton lost just two wickets chasing down Richmondshire V’s 106.

Matty Collins took 6-27 for Cockerton and Dave Black hit 50.

Cliffe II made it a 40-point weekend for the club with a three wicket win at home to Barton II.

The visitors made 146 before Chris Wrigley followed up his 4-33 with 47 and Alan Curry added 46 to help Cliffe over the line.

In the C division, although Lands had the day off, title rivals, Ingleton-based King James, lost by just seven runs to Middleton St George II.

Cec Leece Cup semi finals

Haughton 128-4 Raby Castle 121-4

West Park RA 131-3 Lands 123-9

THE Cec Leece trophy served up two tremendous semi finals last week.

Unfortunately for the dale, both its representatives ended up on the losing side.

In the game between the top two sides in the A division, Haughton won the toss and decided to bat first at Raby Castle.

After the early loss of Danny McGuire, bowled by Dan Lee for a single, Sam Bainbridge and Michael Burton consolidated.

Burton went for 18 and when Simon Lee quickly dismissed Mark Little and Mark Dobinson, it looked as though Raby would take control.

However, Bainbridge held the innings together, batting through for an unbeaten 58, and he found good support from Craig Edwards, who finished 23 not out as Haughton closed on 128-4 – by no means a daunting target on such a quick scoring ground.

Like Haughton, Raby lost an early wicket – Simon Lee driving upwardly to backward point first ball of the innings.

Peter Forster and Matt Dent set about repairing the damage, accumulating steadily before stepping up the run rate before Forster was run out for 38.

Dent was removed for 30 and despite James Forster’s unbeaten 24, Raby came up just seven runs short in a tense finish.

At Brinkburn Road, hosts West Park RA won the toss and batted first against the C division opponents.

Lewis Leng removed Simon Warne for five before Sahil Sharma (28) and Max Ripley (38) shared a half century stand.

Simon Broughton’s unbeaten 24 took his side to 131-3 – a decent total but by no means out of sight.

Lands lost both openers – Leng and Keiran Brown – for ducks, but despite the setback made a good fist of the chase.

Ryan Matthews (20) and Jonathan Milroy, with 51, got them back into the game.

However, wickets fell regularly and Lands closed on 123-9, with Josh Evan taking 4-21 from his four overs.

The final takes place at Rockliffe Park on Sunday, August 11, starting at 2.30pm.