FEVERSHAM League spokeman Charles Allenby has bemoaned the decline in playing numbers in evening cricket across Ryedale.
The historic rural Feversham League, now with only four clubs, has recently seen two of them, Gillamoor and High Farndale, struggle to get sides out.
Other competitions are having similar issues, with the Scarborough Evening League having also had its fair share of withdrawals.
Said Allenby: “There is little doubt that, sadly but perhaps inevitably, interest in evening cricket in Ryedale is on the wane.
“A team represented by the full complement of 11 players is becoming something of a rarity - just eight or nine turning up is often the norm.”
Gillamoor could muster only eight men for their trip to High Farndale, but still won a thriller by four runs.
Gills put together a satisfactory 72-6, the highlight being R Smith’s undefeated 32.
Chris Wilson made 26 in High Farndale’s reply, but Gillamoor’s Alec Medd took the plaudits with a superb five-over spell of 5-8.
Matt Durrant (2-15) supported him as High Farndale, with the finishing line in sight, were all out for 68 with two overs remaining.
High Farndale in turn had only eight men at the start of their Countess of Feversham Cup tie against invitation side York RI, with a ninth turning up later.
In 16 overs, RI compiled a daunting 148, D Scaith top-scoring with 45. Rob Atkinson took 2-15 while veteran batsman Brian Leckenby, given a rare two overs with the ball late in the innings, took 2-5.
Farndale made a spirited attempt to reach their target but ended on 101-6. Kevin Wilson contributed 37 and Mark Aconley 16.
In the Supplementary Cup, Spout House and visitors Slingsby each were a man short. All 20 batted, and 14 bowled as Slingsby won by 11 runs.
Slingsby made 109-7 in their 18 overs. Alex Machin, Ben Corner and Sam Megginson reached the retirement mark of 25, each hitting two sixs. Machin and Corner returned towards the end, with Machin stumped for 28 and Corner unbeaten on 26.
Spout House keeper Charlie Allott dispensed with his pads for the final over and snatched two wickets.
Slingsby’s David Watson took 3-14 as Spout House’s later batsmen made a valiant effort to reach the target - Jamie Thompson making 11 and Chris Brass 10. This built on earlier efforts by Andrew Stamp (22), Leckenby (13) and Allott (10).
But John Hatfield and Tom Holmes each claimed two wickets as House finished on 98-9. Warren Jones, who had retired hurt after being struck in the mouth by a rising ball, returned in the final over, only to be bowled by the penultimate ball.