4:24pm Friday 16th May 2014
TABLE-TOPPING Darlington beat the elements and their closest rivals between a cloudburst and sunshine, on a day when five of the other six games were abandoned and a seventh never started.
Quakers beat second-placed Stokesley to extend their lead from five to 24 points.
Put in to bat, Stokesley were faced with conditions which suited the crafty Jonny Barnes, who took four wickets to reach 21 for the season in just his fifth match, including his first hat-trick at top level and only a career second.
After Stokesley skipper Andrew Weighell was run out with a direct hit by Liam Coates with the score on 30, his side collapsed to 36-5 with Jonny Weighell, Tom Preece and James Weighell snared in the Barnes trap in the first three balls of his tenth over.
A fightback led by opener James Beaumont and Josh Linton looked as if it might thwart Darlington’s attack. Barnes, who finished with 4-20, was nearing the end of his 17 overs and the visitors added 48 more runs without loss.
Linton’s 35-ball stay paid off with 30 runs, including four fours and a six, while Beaumont’s careful innings lasting 107 balls gave him 29 runs with just one boundary.
But from 84-5 another collapse hit the visitors with Matty Brown (2-8 in 5.3 overs) and Peter Armstrong (2-7 in 7 overs) taking control. Stokesley’s last five wickets fell for 19 as they crumbled to 103 all out.
Darlington suffered an early scare when Dan Hodgson was out first ball, but the in-form Coates (57 not out) and Rajin Saleh (35 not out) made sure of victory.
They did have to endure a rain break when they needed just eight runs to win, but conditions improved and it needed just three balls after they returned to get their win by nine wickets in 16.3 overs.
Coates faced 52 balls for his half century and Saleh, who has an average of 181 after three innings since arriving from Bangladesh, had handled nine balls more.
All the other games were called off at various stages, and among those losing ground were Richmondshire and Great Ayton. The Dalesmen, current champions, had taken four Saltburn wickets for 70 in 32 overs when a downpour ended proceedings. Craig Marshall had taken all four wickets for 13 runs in 12 overs.
Aussie Ben Turner hit an unbeaten 69 from 85 balls with nine fours and two sixes as Barnard Castle made 102-1 from 24 overs at Great Ayton before it was abandoned.
Seaton Carew opener Matt Skirving hit a superb unbeaten 98 with seven fours and a six, making 13 from the final over in an exciting bid to reach his first century at top level in a 188-5 total from his side’s 50 overs.
But the game with Redcar on 100-4 after 29 overs was called off after a third downpour.
Guisborough and Hartlepool shared 20 points in a drawn finish, with the Priory club facing just five overs before it was called off. Pool had totalled 178-8 with 61 for Craig Symington.
In Division One, Norton’s Matty Thomas (36) and David Cross (24) shared an opening stand of 51 before Jon Kean hit a late 48 to take his side to 176- 9 despite five wickets for Tom Steyert.
Whitby were in trouble on 39-5 in 21 overs when it was called off.
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