Posted by Tony Hutton
Wednesday 23rd August greeted us with torrential rain during the morning and it looked very much as if it would be a cricket free day. However the forecast suggested an improvement during the afternoon and an email from the Nidderdale League suggested play might start later in the day for their annual fixture with MCC due to be played at North Stainley cricket club just north of Ripon.
Off we went around mid-day when the rain had stopped and after a nice pub lunch at the local pub, the Staveley Arms, we arrived at the attractive North Stainley ground just as the players emerged from the pavilion at around 2 o'clock. The pavilion here was built as recently as 2009 as part of a housing development which rings one side of the ground as doubles as a very useful village hall.
Further research is needed to establish when this fixture started. I would guess around twenty years ago when I attended the first match at Dacre Banks. Sir Thomas Ingilby, whose family have owned Ripley Castle for generations was league president and probably still playing cricket himself at the time. He started the tradition of inviting the two teams back to the castle for dinner which continues to this day.
After the loss of the morning's play it was decided to have a 30 overs per side rather than the usual MCC time match. As is common practice MCC, made up of many well known names from league cricket, batted first. The batsmen, many with connections to Harrogate cricket club, came and went but it was Ross Sedgley, a consistent scorer with Beckwithshaw in the Aire Wharfe league, who made top score of 50 plus. He recently made a century in Beckwithshaw's Waddilove Cup final victory over near neighbours Bilton. When he was out with the score just over 100-3 the later batsmen laid about the bowlers to produce a final score of 155-6.
After an excellent tea, sad to say the Nidderdale league eleven did not really distinguish themselves.
The innings somehow never gained momentum and apart from one or two rare big hits it proceeded at a somewhat pedestrian pace throughout the whole thirty overs. This was due in part to some excellent bowling, particularly from the spinners. Slow left armer Jarvis, who has been a consistent wicket taker in league cricket for many years, finished with five wickets and Chris Kippax took two as well as two catches. The league side finished their innings on 116-9.
As I have not yet been able to find a scorecard or report of proceedings it is not clear whether this was a draw, under MCC rules, or a limited over victory for MCC which seems about right. However it didn't really matter it was a most enjoyable game, played in front of rather a small but select crowd in weather which improved throughout the afternoon to conclude in bright sunshine. Good also to see Tricia Heard, for so long secretary of this very well run league, in attendance. Proper cricket played in delightful surroundings with accompaniment from the ducks on the adjacent pond.