STANMORE vs RICHMONDSHIRE - ROYAL LONDON NATIONAL CLUB FINAL PREVIEW
BRIGHTSIDE GROUND BRISTOL - 11AM, SUNDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER 2018
This coming Sunday Stanmore Cricket Club will play the biggest game in their history when they take on Richmondshire in the final of the Royal London National Club Championship at the Brightside Ground in Bristol.
Stanmore's route to the final saw them pitched into Regional Group 15, where a first round victory on the 22nd April 2018 against Brondesbury saw them then overcome Shepherds Bush in round two, Crouch End in round three, before defeating Teddington in the regional group stage final on the 24th June to qualify for the national knockout stage of the competition.
Drawn against Banstead of Surrey in the last sixteen in July, a comprehensive 117 run victory saw Stanmore reach the national quarter-finals where they were pitched against Clevedon of Somerset who had convincingly beaten Havant in the previous round.
A seven-wicket victory in a low scoring affair against Clevedon saw Stanmore progress to the semi-finals where they would face Roffey of Sussex, who had themselves beaten Brentwood of Essex.
The semi-final saw Stanmore post 225 for 6 batting first, before then bowling out Roffey for just 143 to secure an 82 run victory and secure a place in Sunday's national final against Richmondshire, who had beaten Northern Cricket Club from Merseyside by seven wickets.
Sunday's 2018 final is a classic North v South contrast, as Gary Pratt leads a Richmondshire team from rural North Yorkshire to face the North Londoners of Stanmore at the Brightside Ground in Bristol.
Pratt will always be linked to Ricky Ponting and that run out in the great 2005 Ashes series, but there is much more to his cricket than that as he has shown in a lengthy career with Durham, with Cumberland in the Minor Counties competition, and since 2012 with Richmondshire.
Stanmore, a suburb probably best-known as the top of the Jubilee Line and therefore a very handy place for northerners to park on the way to Wembley or Lord’s, can’t boast a former first-class cricketer among their current playing ranks – but the club membership includes two Middlesex greats in Angus Fraser and Mark Ramprakash, who will both be sending their best wishes to the team this weekend.
There’s a strong family story in the current Stanmore team, with the club captain Marc Reingold joined by his sons Grant and Steven. The Reingold influence doesn’t end there as Stephanie, who has watched her sons come through the junior ranks to join their dad in the senior team, is now the club secretary – and also works for Middlesex in the office at Lord's as the club's Membership Administrator.
Stephanie explains. “Marc and I joined the club when we came over from South Africa, had two little boys and a daughter as well, and I ended up running the junior section and now act as Stanmore secretary.
“We were relegated from the Premier League last year which was devastating but we’ve earned promotion this season, and beaten some very good teams to get to the final.
“Other than my husband it’s a very young team who play hard and want to win. They’re loving their involvement with the competition.”
th final since the National Knockout was introduced as the DH Robins Cup in 1969, and while there have been plenty of winners from Middlesex – starting with Hampstead in that first year followed by Sunbury, Southgate, Enfield and Teddington – this will be Stanmore’s first appearance.
The same goes for Richmondshire, although Chester-le-Street and South Northumberland have ensured a strong North-East presence in recent years.
The club is in the market town of Richmond, just to the south of North Yorkshire’s border with County Durham – and it’s a much shorter drive up the A1 to the Riverside than down it to Headingley. “We do have some quite strong links with Durham,” says Mike Heseltine, their secretary.
“Gary Pratt obviously, but also two of our young players, Tom and Josh Dowson, whose father Richard is the chief operating officer at Durham.
“It’s exciting for everyone at the club to be in a national final. We’ve had to beat some very strong teams to get there, including Ormskirk and Northern.”
Matthew McKiernan, a 24-year-old leg-spinner from Leigh who has played plenty of second-team cricket for Lancashire but made his senior debut against them for Derbyshire earlier this summer, has been a key figure in their route to the final – and will doubtless figure with Pratt in Stanmore’s pre-match planning.
The game starts at 11am on Sunday.
Further details of the competition here http://ecb.play-cricket.com/