York CC Vs Woodhouse Grange CC

York suffered an opening day Premier League defeat for the first time since 2015 losing to Woodhouse Grange by five wickets at a bright but bracing Clifton Park. The home side were without their new captain Ryan McKendry, side-lined through injury, and Simon Lambert (precautionary covid self-isolation) as they began the season against one of their closest rivals in recent years.

Duncan Snell and Guy Darwin shared a second wicket partnership of 121 following the early loss of Finlay Bean, who returns to the club after spending the previous YPLN season (2019) with Yorkshire Academy. There was perhaps an air of expectation that Snell would become the first York batsman to reach a half-century, and the prolific left-hander did not disappoint, passing the ‘mark for the 42nd time in his 84th innings in the competition. Off-spinner Chris Suddaby captured the prized wicket in the 32nd over with the total on 148, but the stand-in captain left the crease for 76 off 99 balls with his side in a commanding position.

Wickets in consecutive overs from Tom Neal brought the visitors back in to the game and in truth the home side squandered what had been a strong position reaching 245-9 from their 50 overs when a total nearer 300 had looked within reach. Darwin had looked to be heading for a century but had to settle instead for a Premier League best 85, his innings ending in disappointment when a mix up in calling with the newly arrived Tom Brooks left both batsmen at the same end the score at that stage had been 218-6 with five overs remaining. Apart from Snell and Darwin no York batsman scored more than Charlie Elliot’s 13, the off-spin of James Finch’s off-spin accounting for four late order wickets in the closing overs, the visiting captain finishing with 4-66 from 13 overs.

Jack Charters struck an early blow trapping Oscar Sugden lbw but by the time fellow opener Harry Gamble, a recent recruit from Beverley Town, was bowled by Tom Forsdike for 50 the score had reached 100-2. Chris Bilton (64) became the second ‘Grange batsman to pass 50, ‘keeper Brooks’ low catch giving Charters a second wicket, that after Clark Doughney had bowled Zimbabwean Jarryd Basson for 29. Forsdike’s second wicket brought together the sixth wicket pair of Tom Young and James Finch with 60 runs needed off the final 10 overs, a target achieved in some comfort with two overs to spare.

For those York supporters seeking solace following the performance the 2015 sides opening defeat culminated in a league title success in which Simon Lambert finished as the leading run scorer and Ryan McKendry their leading wicket-taker.