Fixture list suffers as soggy Saturday puts play on hold

First published in Sport

IF SOMEONE wanted to design a programme to cause the maximum damage to a day of cricket in the shortest possible time then Saturday provided the perfect blueprint.

After a day of rain, out of 172 matches due to be played from North Yorkshire to the Scottish border, not a single one reached a conclusion.

In the NYSD, just two games started, and they were both in the Premier Division.

One was the seaside derby at Redcar where Marske were the visitors for a game lasting just eight overs.

With Marske on 11-1, the end came with players remarking that the sea appeared marginally drier than the ground once the downpour had finished.

At Stokesley the secondplaced home club were trying their best to beat the elements, a brief three-over burst of play seeing the home team rush to 18-0 against Saltburn.

A couple of hours later another attempt at play was made with 8.2 overs bowled, during which Stokesley lost three Weighells off their wagon as Jack Almond (3-17 in 6 overs) removed all the Weighell brothers in his brief burst.

After the wipe out of the previous day Barnard Castle were delighted Sunday’s Premier match against Hartlepool received the green light, and they made the most of the weather with a 99-run success.

Pools won the toss and decided to bowl, and they were soon made to rue that decision as the Barney batters shone.

Aussie Ben Turner (30) shared in an opening stand of 45 with Simon Tennant, and then Ben Usher (36) joined with Aamer Sajjad in a third wicket partnership of 95.

Sajjad, a first class world record holder, scored 1115 league runs in his first season for the Castle, but he had mustered just 35 before the start of this game so it seemed only a matter of time before he hit form.

He hammered seven fours and five sixes on his way to 102, the home team racing to 237-7 before declaring at the end of the 49th over.

Craig Symington took 3-66 from 13 overs for Pools, and he was one of the bright spots in the visitors reply with 29.

Opener Neil Coverdale (34) was the other man keeping the home attack at bay, and while he and Symington were sharing a third wicket stand their side looked well capable of salvaging a draw.

But once Barney skipper James Finch had claimed both of their scalps it was backs to the wall for Pools, and despite an unbeaten 22 from Nick Rathbone, the visitors were out for138 in 41.4 overs.

Finch finished with 4-39 from his 13 overs, Simon Tennant, picked up 2-18 from his nine overs.

Victory brought 25 points for Barney, and lifted them into second spot, though they have now played a game more than the teams around them.

There was no play in either the Durham Cricket League, the NTSL or the NEPL First Division, but the 11.30am starts in the Premier Division meant there was some limited action in a handful of games, although not at Stockton where the champions were the first to be hit by the gathering storms.

Leaders South North managed to squeeze two bowling bonus points out of their home clash with Newcastle, Jonny Wightman picking up two wickets as the visitors struggled to 63-4 in 19 overs.

The only other teams toy enhance their points tally were Blaydon, who had reduced Tynemouth to 25-3 in 13 overs, Joe Reynolds bagging 2-18, and Chester-le- Street, who had Sunderland on 22-2 from 6.4 overs.

Whitburn had defeated Gateshead Fell by 32 runs in Friday night’s T20 clash, a sensational 75 by Stuart Walker, who hit eight fours and five sixes, and faced just 28 balls, lighting up that encounter.

And he looked about to repeat that on Saturday when the same two sides met again, cracking nine fours in an unbeaten 43 before the weather hit with the home team on 67-0 after 12.3 overs.

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