GAME CHANGER: Rob Dixon hit an unbeaten 44 to help set up victory for Barney
GAME CHANGER: Rob Dixon hit an unbeaten 44 to help set up victory for Barney

Barnard Castle CC

WITH one match left, the quest for the North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League title will go down to the wire.

Barney have their noses in front, four points ahead of Great Ayton and ten in front of Richmondshire but all three teams have a chance to become champions on Saturday.

The trio all won last weekend, all claiming maximum points. It promises to be a thrilling climax in the home match against Marton.

“The boys have done fantastically well to get this far,” said the club’s director of cricket, Michael Stanwix.

“They have played exciting cricketing throughout and the last two victories in particular have shown what a resilient side they have become. We hope the Vere Road ground is full on Saturday for what is certain to be a gripping finale.”

The league’s points structure means that anything is feasible. If Barney were to win by batting first, meaning you must take all your opponent’s wickets, they will secure their second title by gaining 25 points.

But a win batting second brings only 20 points, so one of the many options is that Barney could win by batting second, Great Ayton could win by batting first and take the title by a solitary point.

Richmondshire’s only hope is that they win while both of their rivals draw when the points available are reduced dramatically.

“We’ll want to bat first,” said Mr Stanwix. “But then we also have to win the match against a Marton side who won’t go quietly, that’s for sure.”

Stokesley v Barney

THERE were moments on Saturday when Barney’s title hopes looked to be in tatters. For the second successive week – at 22-4 and 107-8 – they seemed destined to lose.

For the second successive week they demonstrated their resilience by digging their way out of a deep hole and climbing back to the top of the mountain.

The eventual defeat of Stokesley by 63 runs was straightforward enough but the margin does not tell of the struggle.

Within half an hour of the start, Barney had lost four of their top five on a pitch more difficult than they would have preferred after opting to bat in pursuit of the maximum 25 points.

Poor shot selection only compounded their woes.

A mini-revival was undermined by the loss of four more wickets before another ninth wicket stand, this one of 57 to follow the 68 of the previous week, changed the course of the match.

The heroes were Rob Dixon, again, adding an unbeaten 44 to his stoic 11no seven days before, and leg spinner Richard Watson, who thus encouraged proceeded to take his first five wicket haul for the first XI as Stokesley were bowled out for 127.

How improbable this scenario looked shortly after James Quinn won the toss for the 15th time in 20 league matches.

Old Well

Rich Chandler, Stokesley’s worthy seamer, found disconcerting movement which Barney aided and abetted.

Quinn, as so often, steadied the ship, and briefly found a willing partner in Alasdair Appleby. They added 45 before Appleby guided a cut unnecessarily to slip. Two more came and went before Quinn’s dismissal might have hastened the end.

But Dixon and Watson played with diligence and determination, hitting the bad balls, keeping out the good ones. With wicketkeeper Ed Sabey also playing a part in a jaunty last wicket stand Barney’s recovery was complete.

Stokesley had their moments in reply but though the pitch had eased recovery from 26-3 was difficult.

Josh Bousfield did the early damage and Barney then stayed patient before Watson came into the attack and proved too much of a handful for lower order batsmen who could neither spot nor counter his slider and googly.

There were also splendid slip catches by both Richard Borrowdale and James Alderson.

Barney

J Alderson c Chillingworth b Chandler 10, M Dixon lbw Chandler 0, H Dumindu b Chandler 4, J Quinn b Chillingworth 29, R Borrowdale c&b Chandler 0, A Appleby c Chillingworth b Chandler 24, G Creedon c Weighell b Chillingworth 5, J Bousfield c Caukwell b Chillingworth 11, R Watson c Foreman b Chillingworth 26, R Dixon not out 44, E Sabey not out 5, Extras 32, Total 190 for 9 (50 overs)

Bowling – R Atkinson 9-1-27-0, R Chandler 15-3-39-5, A Weighell 8-0-40-0, D Chillingworth 15-3-47-4, M Smith 3-0-17-0

Stokesley

J Weighell lbw Bousfield 4, R Foreman c Borrowdale b Bousfield 7, T Preece c Creedon b Appleby 36, A Weighell c Borrowdale b Creedon 0, D Chillingworth c Sabey b Bousfield 51, M Howe lbw Watson 0, R Atkinson c Appleby b Watson 5, S Caukwell b Watson 0, E Borwell c Appleby b Watson 8, M Smith not out 5, R Chandler c Alderson b Watson 0, Extras 11, Total 127 all out (38.4 overs)

Bowling – J Bousfield 11-3-23-3, C Greedon 10-2-18-1, R Dixon 4-0-15-0, A Appleby 6-1-41-1, R Watson 7.4-2-20-5

Barney II v Newton Aycliffe

BARNEY’S emphatic win against Newton Aycliffe kept alive their mathematical chances of promotion.

Since Sedgefield require only two points to be sure of joining Middlesbrough in NYSD Division One next season it is distinctly unlikely but this excellent victory showed what might have been.

Fellow outside promotion candidates Aycliffe were comfortably defeated. They began promisingly but were forced to harder than they would have liked for their runs by returning veteran David Stanwix, a late addition to the team.

After he struck twice the prolific young off spinner and seamer Shane Mullery quickly removed the middle and late order.

Barney cantered to their target, with Ben Usher leading the way in watchful mode.

Newton Aycliffe 115 all out (46.2.overs, D Bancroft 31, F Usher 4-29, S Mullery 2-17, D Stanwix 2-24); Barney 121-5 (28.3 overs, B Usher 46, T Hutchinson 20, J Layfield-Carroll 3-27). Barney won by five wickets