The Jedi Championship and Championship Two was where the thrilling final day action was centred at, as we deliver a roundup of the title winners, promotion successes and relegation disappointments throughout the lower divisions.
Almondbury Wesleyans clinched the second promotion spot to the Premiership after they squeezed out Meltham in a dramatic final day bunfight. The two sides had been neck-and-neck for most of the second half of the season but Will Binns’ men kept their cool when it mattered in a nervy three wicket win. A sparkling first innings bowling performance by Danny Moorhouse (4-49) was key but a collapse in the reply gave Meltham a touch of hope until Will’s brother Tom held firm for 71no to chase down Meltham’s 140ao with 141-7. Skelmanthorpe had earlier secured the title in the penultimate weekend. They had leapfrogged Wesleyans in June and didn’t look back, adding the T20 Shield to their haul along the way.
It was heartbreak for Marsden who suffered relegation on the final day. Last gasp drama isn’t unknown to the Cuckoos who experienced elation after a tie in the last match of 2018 earned them their place in the Championship but it was relinquished after two seasons following their defeat at champions-elect Skelmanthorpe. Bowled out for 75, the hosts knocked them off for four wickets. Rastrick sealed Marsden’s fate after their five wicket home win versus Lascelles Hall helped them climb out of a relegation zone they had occupied for most of the season.
Thurstonland finished bottom of the table in their first season after promotion in 2019. A mid-to-late season rally wasn’t enough for Russell Mottram’s battlers who return to the Conference for 2022.
Cedar Court Conference
Hoylandswaine 2XI romped to their second title in two seasons with a stunning unbeaten campaign. 17 victories and 5 abandonments saw them to a massive 112 point total as Andrew Burkhill’s side dominated. Wicketkeeper Sam Johnson led the batting with 461 runs but their strength was in the bowling as Josh Holmes and Jack Lockwood took 36 wickets each. Unfortunately, league rules stipulate they cannot play higher than the Conference which rules out promotion.
Lepton Highlanders earned an immediate place back in the Championship after they were relegated in 2019. Jacob Mulhall’s return to the club was the catalyst they needed as they jointly led the division with Hoylandswaine before their rivals pulled away during the latter half. Mulhall won the divisional batting award with 658 runs with overseas Tharushan Iddamalgoda claiming 56 wickets, despite missing the first 5 weeks of the season. Emley Clarence joined them in the second tier after their nine-match winning streak allowed them to overtake Hall Bower and finish third.
Sadly Almondbury finished the season bottom of the table and winless despite a spirited display against promoted Emley Clarence. They were unable to defend a 263-7 total as their opponents sneaked home by one-wicket. There is no relegation from the Conference so they’ll have the chance to rebuild and go again in 2022.
Honley 2XI’s defeat at Barkisland 2XI on the final day proved costly which handed Edgerton & Dalton 1XI their first silverware since joining the league as an Associate Member club in 2017. In a competitive division - no less than five teams harboured hopes of winning the title in the final handful of matches - Babar Hussain’s side pipped Honley after they fell to a heavy defeat away at Barkisland 2XI. E&D made light work of already relegated Clayton West 2XI to finish three points clear at the top.
It was a season to forget at Clayton West after failing to win for the whole campaign, finishing with 10 points. Joining them in next season’s Championship Two is Armitage Bridge, ending a five year stay in Premiership Two.
Jedi Championship Two
This keenly-contested division saw three teams finish joint second in the table after Skelmanthorpe 2XI wrapped up the title with two matches spare. Thongsbridge, Elland and Moorlands all finished on 74 points but it was Thongsbridge who advanced to Premiership Two, despite not even playing. Both Moorlands and Elland lost their final matches to miss out on promotion.
Denby Dale finished the season winless and propped the table up and Mirfield Parish Cavaliers; like their first team, suffered relegation to Conference Two despite winning their final match on the last ball at home to Elland.
Cedar Court Conference Two
Lepton Highlanders 2XI made it a double celebration at the club after they were promoted as champions to follow on from their first team’s promotion success. Their 125 run win at home to Hall Bower maintained their six points lead over nearest rivals Holmfirth 2XI who also completed a hefty 197 run victory over Mirfield 2XI to join Lepton in Championship Two.
Upperthong’s victory at Kirkheaton on the final day had little effect on the final league placings as they finished in the drop zone by just two points from Mirfield who stayed up. Rastrick, with one solitary win all season finished the season in bottom place.
Cedar Court Conference Three
Shelley 2XI topped the final table of a division that played its final matches a few weeks earlier. A strong final run where they won their last four matches saw them pull away from runners up Marsden, who lost their final match away at mid-table Cartworth Moor 2XI. Marsden’s disappointment over the relegation of their first team was tempered by the 2XI securing promotion to Conference Two at the first time of asking, following their relegation in 2019.