A very satisfactory weekend for Richmond as the 2023 season reaches its conclusion. The 2's won at Harrow St Mary's to regain their position in the Premier Division as Champions of Division 1. Meanwhile, the 1's won well and, with promotion rivals North London losing, are right back in the promotion battle. Meanwhile on Sunday the Under 21's, defending their MDL crown, comfortably won the semi-final at Ickenham.
Zain Bhatkar's 2's lost the toss at Harrow St Mary's but responded well with the ball restricting the home side to 156 for 9. Arun Bhasin led the way with the ball, with figures of 4 for 25, well supported by Will Knowles (3/34). Our reply did not start well with Richmond at one stage 14 for 3 but Christian Laws, Huzefa Sajawal and Nathan Parking steadying the ship. However, the loss of 3 wickets in quick succession left us 97 for 7 and a lot of work to do. That we got there was largely due to Dru Shori (25no) and Will Knowles (30) who patiently added 59 runs to bring the scores level. Knowles was dismissed at the start of the last over. Barnaby Cole joined Dru, gave a large audience watching at ODP on the stream some anxiety as he swung away but off the last ball he connected to hit the boundary and secure the win, promotion and the title.
Meanwhile, at Old Deer Park, the youngest Richmond League 1st XI ever, containing 8 players aged 20 or younger, beat Winchmore Hill. Having won the toss, Richmond's innings went in fits and starts with a number of player contributing but only 1 - skipper Adam London - scoring a half-century. A total of 201 all out was probably less than we might have hoped but it was always defendable. 17 year old Sam Graham and 20 year old Kartik Jain opened the bowling but there were loose deliveries and the Hill got off to a good start. Graham however took his first 1st XI wicket before 19 year old James Nelson and the veteran Kshitj Desai (very much the father of the team) came on to put a lid on the chase. Nelson's spell of 4 for 25 off 9 was perhaps his best in a Richmond 1st XI league match and he was well-supported by another teenager, Vansh Jani, whose 6 over spell yielded just 8 runs for 4 wickets, three to catches in the deep for the two other Nelsons, 17 year old Charlie and 15 year old Jack.
The 3's and 4's both won well to consolidate their places in the Premier and First Divisions of the MCCL Third Tier. The fours win against top of the table Crouch End 3's was particularly important as it confirmed Richmond's place in the Division for 2023. Sadly the 5's, playing against top of the table Brentham 3's could not make it a clean sweep but they put in a good account of themselves going down by 4 wickets.
On Sunday, the Under 21's travelled to Ickenham and secured a resounding semi-final win. Inserted, we made a rapid start with Jani scoring quickly but our momentum stalled mid-innings as we reached 147 for 5. That we went on to post 271 was largely down to Josh Dudley and Dru Shori. Josh scored 71 and Dru 50.
Sam Graham and Kartik then blew away Ickenham's top-order to leave the hosts 37 for 4. They rallied largely due to their overage player but once he retired for 53 (as the competition rules stipulate), the rest was a formality. Graham finished with 3 for 28 off 8 and Will Knowles came back after an expensive first spell to mop up the tail with 3 for 38. There were also two wickets for Kartik and 1 for Vansh as Ickenham were bowled out for 194. The Under 21's now play Stanmore in the Final which will be played as always at Old Deer Park, on Sunday 3rd September, hoping to regain their title.