Five of the top six teams in the Yorkshire Premier League North were in action in the City of York on Saturday so after a bit of shopping and avoiding the procession of suits and frocks heading for the races I pitched up at Clifton Park shortly before two o'clock to be greeted by former blogger Brian Sanderson with the news that the match being played just a few miles up the A19 at Easingwold was already finished with another heavy defeat for the home team, this time a ten wicket scalping handed out by Driffield. Since Tony reported on their first match of the season back in April when he predicted that without reinforcements promoted Easingwold faced 'an uphill struggle' the boys from Back Lane have had a miserable time and have gathered only two points. Certain relegation looms.
At Clifton Park York were taking on Harrogate, a match that always has an extra shake of the spice jar, and here the visitors were struggling at 83 for 8 and although things improved a little to 112 all out tea was taken at twenty past two. During the interval we walked round the rugby pitch to the Clifton Alliance ground where the home side, far from safe from relegation were taking on Sheriff Hutton Bridge and were finding the going tough with Martin Fisher nearing his century ably supported by Robert Pinder and Bridge just two down with over 200 on the board. Alliance looked a little demoralised as a couple of catches went down and some misfields made things even worse. Things perked up a little thanks to a splendid catch by Jordan to get rid of Pinder but the run rate could not be staunched and the innings closed on 277 for 9. A total Brian rightly predicted would be too much for Clifton as they fell short by 94 runs.
Pausing briefly just to look at the third game in the park, York III v Acomb II, we returned to the 'big match' where York had lost an early wicket but that proved a minor bump on the road as Snell and Waite increased the tempo to see their side home in a shade under twenty overs and a nine wicket win. Snell 51 not out, three sixes, Waite 47 not out, 1 six. By now (just after four o'clock) news had come through that leaders Stamford Bridge beaten Acomb by 8 wickets in a match being played a couple of miles round the ring road. No point going there and with Clifton Alliance having lost early wickets I decided to head for home comforts at Ouseburn CC. Here tea was being taken with Hampsthwaite having reached only 133 for 8 off their 45 overs. Ouseburn made a steady start but the entry of Jamie Bryant at three picked up the pace and the leaders eased to a seven wicket win with 15 overs to spare. With nearest pursuers Birstwith losing, Masham move into second place after their 8 wicket win over Knaresborough.
This morning's league table in the YPLN shows Stamford Bridge top but only by one point ahead of the Academy who won at relegation threatened Hull and York a further four points away. Champions Harrogate have slipped to fifth behind Sheriff Hutton Bridge. The three leaders are all at home next week in what look relatively easy games, let's hope for more settled weather especially with the Scarborough Festival starting on Sunday.
Players about to take tea at Clifton Alliance