ECSTASY, agony and exhaustion – that just about summed up the most momentous 36 hours in Great Ayton’s history.
The ecstasy came when the club won through to the last four of the National T20 Cup by beating Sheffield club Hallam on Sunday, then the agony followed when they dashed back up the motorway for an evening date with Barnard Castle in the NYSD Fifteens Premier final, only to lose their title on the last ball.
And then the exhaustion seeped through when they were routed in Monday’s Premier Division match at Park Drive, as they were skittled by Hartlepool for 28. Craig Symington took 7-14 in nine overs, while Callum Prosser bagged the other three. Pools then rushed through a win in just 23 balls at the crease.
Table-topping Darlington were saved by the rain at Feethams. Jonny Barnes had an opening spell of 17 overs 4-18, and Seaton slipped to 70-8.
But skipper Stuart Lobb crashed a defiant 48 to lift his team’s total to 140, the Quakers crumbled to 42-6 as Lobb and Danny Thomas took to bowl. But with defeat imminent the heavens opened to salvage six points for the leaders.
Richmondshire were unable to fully capitalise on Darlington’s travails as they were held to a high-scoring draw at Redcar. The Dalesmen racked up 219-7, but the Seasiders wouldn’t budge batting through 55 overs on 180-6 for 11 vital points.
With Marske picking up eight points in an abandoned game at Barnard Castle it now looks likely that Saltburn will be unable to avoid the drop. They are now 38 points from safety.
The heat was turned up in the Division One promotion race when Normanby Hall and Whitby recorded 25 point victories to narrow the gap on Blackhall and second-placed Norton.
Twenty-six points now cover the top four.
The Premier Division looks set to be a last-game decider between Darlington and Richmondshire after the hopes of season-long challengers Stokesley were washed away on Saturday.
With the top two managing to escape most of the downpours, Stokesley were left stranded 43 points behind the leaders as their game was abandoned as the Great Ayton ground rained out 26 overs into the game.
Twenty miles away, Darlington found it easy to beat nine-man Sedgefield. It took just 94 minutes and 27.3 overs to dismiss them for 51 runs.
The Quakers gave the demolition job to Jon Barnes (4-14), Liam Coates (2-12) and Doug Mulholland (2-17).
Niall Penfold (21) managed 46 balls and Roger Briddock (10) faced 42.
Darlington needed just 7.2 overs – 44 balls – to enjoy their 13th win of the season.
Danny Morgans (35 from 20 balls) hit seven fours. It maintained their 29 point advantage over Richmond.
The Dalesmen enjoyed a win hosting Barnard Castle.
Barney were bowled out for 140. But after their bright and breezy start, Barney suffered a massive collapse, losing four wickets for 13 runs and then five for 16.
Marske have been hovering just above relegation but by beating Guisborough they moved 32 points clear of Saltburn. They could only draw with Redcar, falling short by 14 runs when set a target of 156.
Marske made one of their highest scores, bowling out the Priory club for 175.
Things looked a little ominous, but Lynch and Nawela smashed 21 fours and a six to take control.
Seaton Carew beat Hartlepool, who are without a win since the end of May. Seaton posted 232-6 and Pool were all out for 160. Marton’s game against Middlesbrough at Acklam Park was abandoned after 43 overs.