The first league title was secured in typically bullish fashion as Premiership leaders Hoylandswaine retained the Byrom Shield with victory at home over Golcar, eclipsing their 2017 points tally in the process. Honley, in second place, who to their credit have matched them for long periods of the campaign, also won but with three matches still to play the 23 point gulf cannot now be breached. Shelley eased their relegation fears and virtually reached safety with a remarkable near 300-run chase at home to Delph & Dobcross as their rivals at the bottom slumped to a damaging defeat away at Thongsbridge. Barkisland have moved to within one win of an instant return to the Premiership after their rout of Skelmanthorpe and they were helped by their rivals failure to match their result. Both Almondbury Wesleyans and Rastrick both slipped up to make the fight for the promotion spots a noxious battle to hold one's nerve. There was no change at the top of the Conference with the top three; Denby, Marsden and Cumberworth all registered deserved victories in their fight for the two available promotion berths.
The roll of honour at Hoylandswaine has continued to multiply with the Byrom Shield the latest piece of silverware to be added, making it three trophies for the season’s tally alongside the T20 Trophy and 2XI’s Crowther Cup. Golcar, batting first were set for a score that may have handed SP Singh’s side a sterner test but once again they were regretful in letting slip a powerful position. Golcar’s skipper Steve Whitwam is homing in on another 1,000 run tally for the season and the quality all-rounder stepped up to the plate once again. Whitwam (91) had his input added to by Irfan Amjad (36) and overseas Samuel Mills (28), but once the Australian was dismissed, visitors Golcar were unable to clear the ropes in the last few overs and they fell from 217-4 to 225ao as Adnan Ghani (5-40) claimed his fourth 5-wicket haul. Hoylandswaine’s success has been deeply rooted in the regular availability of new Durham signing Alex Lees (58) and the county man delivered once again by claiming his seventh half century of a rewarding season in club cricket of which he has totalled over 1,100 runs. Singh (61no) and Usman Arshad (53) made light work of wrapping up this title-winning victory as Hoylandswaine surpassed the Golcar total scoring 228-3 with 15 overs remaining.
Shelley went into a critical double-header licking their wounds after their previous weeks defeat to Mirfield Parish Cavaliers had drawn them deeper into a relegation battle. However they came out fighting and registered a remarkable win at home to Delph & Dobcross. Bowlers were flayed at Westerly Lane after Delph helped themselves to a 299ao first innings total, their biggest on the road this term. They’ve obviously taken a shine to Shelley’s bowlers after 437 runs were scored in the reverse fixture earlier in the year and it was no different on this occasion as Lancashire’s Arron Lilley (62) added to the earlier work of opener Nathan Jones (30) and Graeme Simpson (31). Luke Hargreaves (86) then clattered a career-best score batting at number 8 with some lusty hits with Martin Sykes (4-72) providing a tenderised Shelley bowling attacks best return. With a mountainous task ahead, it helps having an international cricketer at your disposal and with Shelley struggling early in the reply on 17-2 Zimbabwean Sikandar Raza stepped up to slowly turn the match Shelley’s way. They received a boost after Delph’s frontline bowler Umer Yaqoob was forced off with a shoulder injury after his second over and then Joe Sykes (45) combined with Raza in a 120-run stand to bring the hosts back into the match. The key to Delph’s hopes rested on removing Raza (142no) but he produced a stunning virtuoso performance with the bat in a 129-ball display which contained 13 fours and 6 sixes. Grizzled campaigner Rajith Bandula-Don (44no) played his part in the final 96-run partnership which took Shelley to 301-6 in 46 overs and a crucial win that all-but secured safety for Harvey Jones’ men.
Mirfield Parish Cavaliers’s Premiership survival hopes were left hanging by the barest of threads as they were overcome by a rampant Thongsbridge side having their best season in two decades. Fourth placed Thongsbridge enjoyed a solid start on their way to an unassailable 293-7 batting first. There were contributions throughout the order as openers Ben Raven-Hill (55) and Richard Marshall (55) both put on 106 runs for the first partnership with their half-centuries. Overseas Haydn Slodecki (48) missed out on a collection but reached 1,100 runs during his first season with the Miry Lane outfit. Rory France (38) and Alex Kemp (57) then compounded the discomfort on visitors Parish. It was a fruitless day for the bowlers for whom Aiden Hawkesworth (2-59) and Mohammad Suleman (2-43) had the most productive spells. The inability to convert decent starts has been costly for Tom Orrell’s side who again had seven batsmen into double figures with Orrell (32), Dave Bolt (33), and Hawksworth (22) stopped when poised to score heavily. The only batsman who could make a telling contribution was Dan Broadbent (73) but it was altogether futile with scoreboard pressure too much leaving Thongsbridge’s prominent bowling attack of Zafar Iqbal (3-46), Ben Balmforth (3-40) and Tom Raven-Hill (4-49) pouncing on the inevitable mistakes that crept in. Parish subsided from 203-5 to 232ao as Thongsbridge ran out comfortable winners.
A Ryan Robinson half-century fired second-placed Honley to another triumph but it was essentially in vain with Hoylandswaine wrapping up the title elsewhere with a win. Visitors Scholes were restricted to 168-9 from their fifty overs as Simon Kelly (4-33) kept them under a tight leash with his slow right arm. Had opening bat Alex Clegg (41) and Tom Brook (41) both progressed past fifties the outcome may have been different. Scholes were then in a good position in the reply after they removed openers Kelly and Will Fraine relatively cheaply. However home captain and 2017 all-rounder of the year Timmy Taylor (43) along with Robinson (55no) steadied the ship with Scholes cursing the loss of opening bowler Louis Brook to injury. His brother, and visiting captain Josh Brook (3-47) made the biggest impact with the ball but it was wicketkeeper Ben Harris who made a big stride forward in his cricketing education with a mature 35no that took Honley over the line on 169-4 with ten overs to spare.
Another team who are finishing the season with a flourish is Broad Oak and they dispatched visitors Armitage Bridge with ease to make it three wins from three. The hosts had Bridge in trouble virtually from the opening over as they struggled to 113ao in 40 overs. Oak bowlers were in total control as opener Adam France (2-26) enjoyed his rehabilitation from injury and spinner Dan Taylor (3-27) also profiting heavily by claiming his 15th scalp in the last five matches. Harvey Booth (4-31) was perhaps the most damage-afflicting as he uprooted the three Bridge top run-scorers; Tony Treadaway (22), Jaycub Curtling (4) and Robin Broom (11). Oak knocked off the target in brisk fashion taking just 18 overs to reach 114-2. Dom Finn (40) and Jack Hargreaves (32no) made no mistake in claiming the victory which keeps them six points off second-place Honley.
Shepley made visitors Cawthorne suffer on an afternoon where eight Shepley batsmen reached double figures to make it a tumultuous afternoon for the Cawthorne bowlers. Dan Wood (61), John Anderson (24) and Shahban Raheem (23) all contributed to the concrete-like foundations. The prodigious Huw Ellis (41) scored heavily in only his seventh appearance for the first team and lower down Danny Glover (53) scored a fluid half-century before Ollie Davidson (44) added some lusty blows towards the end as Shepley made 306ao in 47 overs. It was mostly a day to forget for the Cawthorne bowlers, particularly overseas Kimson Dalzell (1-117), although fellow opener Ryan Bagshaw (5-68) had a better time with the ball. Nasir Jamal (3-32) chalked up his 70th wicket of the season for Shepley in the Cawthorne reply which stuttered from the start. Ben Simpson (30) top-scored for the visitors who are probably hoping for the end of the season sooner rather than later going off this performance. Their innings was promptly curtailed well short of the target on 128ao with Glover (3-49) and Davidson (4-9) finishing off the rout for their fourth win in succession.
Moorlands suffered their fourth straight defeat at home to Kirkburton who themselves ended a run of three losses on the spin. The hosts, missing several regulars fell some way short of Kirkburton’s 254-8 first innings total, solidified by the inputs of Australian Luke Williamson (68) and Toby Booth (58) scoring his second half-century in two matches. Fellow antipodean Nicky Smith (4-44) had the best spell with the ball but Moorlands suffered with losing the dependable Darrell Sykes to injury after just three overs. Despite an encouraging start as openers Adam Roberts (22) and Michael Padgett (38) helped get Moorlands up to 75-2, they fell away alarmingly losing wickets on regular intervals. Seam bowlers Andrew Smith (3-42) and Javaid Ahmad (5-33) then got on top as Moorlands were shot down for 173ao with four overs remaining.
Armitage Bridge 113 (D Taylor 3-27, H Booth 4-31)
*Broad Oak 114-2 (C Roebuck 29, D Finn 40, J Hargreaves 32no).
Scholes 168-9 (A Clegg 41, T Brook 41; S Kelly 4-33)
*Honley 169-4 (T Taylor 43, R Robinson 55no, B Harris 34no; J Brook 3-47).
Golcar 225 (S Whitwam 91, I Amjad 36, S Mills 28; A Ghani 5-44)
*Hoylandswaine 228-3 (A Lees 58, S P Singh 61no, C Holliday 27, U Arshad 52no).
Kirkburton 254-8 (L Williamson 68, A Scholefield 34, T Booth 58; N Smith 4-44)
*Moorlands 173 (M Padgett 38; A Smith 3-42, J Ahmad 5-33).
Delph & Dobcross 299 (N Jones 30, G Simpson 31, C Tipper 26, A Lilley 62, L Hargreaves 86; M Sykes 4-72)
*Shelley 301-6 (S Butt 142no, J Sykes 45no).
*Shepley 306 (D Wood 61, H Ellis 41, D Glover 53, O Davidson 44; R Bagshaw 5-68)
Cawthorne 128 (I Khan 26, B Simpson 30, J Deavin-Baker 27; N Jamal 3-32, D Glover 3-49, O Davidson 4-9).
*Thongsbridge 293-7 (B Raven-Hill 55, R Marshall 55, H Slodecki 48, R France 38, A Kemp 54no)
Mirfield PC 232 (T Orrell 32, D Bolt 33, D Broadbent 73; Z Iqbal 3-46, B Balmforth 3-40, T Raven-Hill 4-49).
A ferocious batting display by Lascelles Hall’s Sheheryar Hassan blew a sizable hole in second-placed Almondbury Wesleyans’ promotion ambitions. They lost ground on leaders Barkisland after they suffered a home defeat that opens the door for the chasing pack. Hall, who led the table for a long period in the first half of the season started conservatively with opener Zahed Ahmed (32) and Hardeep Singh (53) combining well together in a 63 run second wicket partnership. As Wesleyans began to get into the match through Freddie Walker’s (5-67) second five wicket haul of the season, Hassan (171no) lit the blue touchpaper with a phenomenal 85-ball innings where he smashed 10 fours and 18 sixes in the visitor’s huge total of 338-9. A thrilling match looked on the cards after Wesleyans captain Will Binns (85) put on 164 runs for the opening partnership with Alex Taylor (63). However with both batsmen out, the hosts lost vital momentum which allowed Hall to get on top. Zeeshan Khan (6-87) was the star man and Hassan, evidently not too worn out after his batting exploits took 4-54 as Wesleyans were bowled out for 257 with four overs left of a remarkable match.
Barkisland are now just one win away from sealing both promotion and the Championship title after they swept aside Skelmanthorpe at home. Darren Robinson’s side ran through the ten-man opposition with ruthless efficiency as Skelmanthorpe struggled from the start against opening Barkisland bowlers Sam Moyle (5-48) and Jamie Sykes (3-36). Without wicketkeeper captain Luke Webster’s (43) defiant middle-order knock, the results for the visitors could have been even more disastrous as Skelmanthorpe were bowled out for 93 in 23 overs. Webster experimented with his bowlers in the second innings but the result was largely academic with a pair of Finches; Jake Finch (26) and Harry Finch (47) helping to tick off the target in 23 overs. An instant return to the Premiership, along with the Ballcraft Trophy awaits for Barkisland if they win away at Lascelles Hall in the next matchday.
Clayton West put themselves in a strong position to take advantage of any further slip up from Almondbury Wesleyans by seeing off in-form Rastrick, inflicting a first defeat in five upon them. Craig Glover’s Clayton West side claimed an impressive double after they bowled out their hosts for 174. Rastrick endured a disastrous start as they were rocked at by losing their first two wickets with only a single run on the board. Glover (6-38) was in fearsome form with the ball as Rastrick then further collapsed to 61-5 before steadily rebuilding with opening bat and skipper Jacob Waterson (55) absorbing 131 balls in an entrenched half-century. Osama Ahmad (30) and Jack Pearson (38) added useful runs the earlier damage proved to be terminal on a day where they sorely missed the influence of talismanic all-rounder Asif Afridi. Clayton West overseas, Philip Tunnicliffe (pictured above) hit a sublime century in a 72-ball display to put the result beyond any doubt. Tunnicliffe (111no) scored 15 fours and 5 sixes in a dominant solo performance where the next highest scorer was fellow opener Ashley Thompson (20). Waterson (2-37) took a couple of wickets but it was never likely to stop a rampant Clayton West in their tracks who move above Rastrick in the table to third.
Holmfirth still harbour faint hopes of sneaking up after they saw off second-bottom Almondbury away from home. Almondbury, whose safety has now been assured barring a successful appeal from Meltham following their catastrophic points deduction, were bowled out for 108. Harry Walker (29) and Atif Kamran (29) aside, it was an anemic showing from Mirza Mobeen’s strugglers with spinner Amar Rashid (5-30) and opening seam bowler Max Gummerson (3-17) cashing in for the visitors. Gummerson (53no) then picked up the bat to complete a thoroughly one-sided triumph with Jake Morley also carrying his bat through as Holmfirth knocked off 112-0 off only 15 overs. Seb Allen’s Holmfirth side will be looking for favours from elsewhere in the penultimate match if they are to crash the party on the last game of the season.
Lepton came out on top in a thriller at home to Elland. The visitors had to rebuild after a poor start where they were reduced to 79-6. They had the experience of Paul Winrow (59) to rely on as he fought back batting at number 8 to lift Elland up to 187-8 at the close. Lepton were indebted once again to Asif Hussain who has enjoyed a stunning season leading the Championship batting averages and closing in on 1,000 runs for the year. Hussain struck a half century and guided Lepton home in the final over on 188-5.
It’s been a rumbustious week for Meltham after suffering a crushing points deduction and it ended sourly with a heavy defeat against Slaithwaite at Hill Top. Overseas Jackson Mace (98no) was denied a first century for his club but he strongly contributed to a 300-4 score. Wajid Hussain (77), Jay Cyrus (43) and Josh Chojnowski (62) all made the despondent Meltham bowlers suffer with Ibrar Hussain (2-88) and Daniel Robinson (2-84) collecting the only wickets. It was a chase that was far too imposing as their write-off season comes to a conclusion with Meltham bowled out for 133. The wickets were equally shared out for Slaithwaite as Harrison Quarmby (2-36), Chojnowski (3-23), Liam Wood (2-41) and skipper Alex Walker (2-15) all chipping in with lower order batsman Cameron Field (26no) top scoring for visitors Meltham.
Lascelles Hall 338-9 (Z Ahmed 32, H Singh 53, S Hassan 171no; F Walker 5-67)
*Almondbury Wes 257 (A Taylor 63, W Binns 85, C Stott 40; Z Khan 6-87, S Hassan 4-54).
Skelmanthorpe 93 (L Webster 43; S Moyle 5-48, J Sykes 3-36)
*Barkisland 96-2 (J Finch 26, H Finch 47).
Elland 187-8 (T Gledhill 25, P Winrow 59no; I Khan 5-37, D Mulhall 3-61)
*Lepton Highlanders 188-5
*Rastrick 174 (J Waterson 55, O Ahmad 30, J Pearson 38; C Glover 6-38)
Clayton West 176-3 (P Tunnicliffe 111no).
*Slaithwaite 300-4 (W Hussain 77, J Cyrus 43, J Mace 98no, J Chojnowski 62)
Meltham 133 (C Field 26no; J Chojnowski 3-23).
Cedar Court Conference
Leaders Denby made a huge statement with two matches to play by scoring heavily at home to Kirkheaton in a high scoring match. Denby clattered 320-4 thanks to a century from opener Mark Askham (114). Askham scored off 109 balls with 23 fours and a six and the score was further boosted by half-centuries by Farhan Hussain (54) and Tom Sanders (65). Sanders (3-60) then led with the ball as Kirkheaton were muscled out of the match and ended on 211ao off 45 overs.
Marsden and Cumberworth United both registered wins that kept their hopes alive with Marsden in the box seat six points clear in second. Keeper Matty Butters (86) held Marsden’s innings together in a challenging encounter at home to Birkby Rose Hill for whom Muhammad Imran (5-44) took a ‘five-fer’ for the visitors in the Marsden 254ao total. Imran (63) was the star performer for Birkby but he couldn’t prevent them slipping to defeat after Cuckoos opener Sajid Ali (6-69) produced a remarkable bowling performance as Birkby were bowled out for 182 in reply.
Cumberworth United’s visit to lowly Mirfield was fruitful and they needed the win to remain in touch with the top two. Half centuries from George Smith (50) and Ash Littlewood (54) helped Cumberworth reach 224-8 with Islam Hussain taking four wickets for the hosts. It was more than enough as the visitors ran out decisive winners bowling Mirfield out for 139 in reply with Reid Somani (5-32) taking his 65th wicket and his third five-wicket haul.
The highest score of the afternoon was at Hall Bower where the hosts cruelly dispatched rock-bottom Linthwaite. Bower scored a mammoth 367-7 with two big centuries from wicketkeeper Danny Russell (142) hitting 15 fours and 6 sixes in his 116 ball innings. Faiser Siddiq (131) hammered 18 fours and 3 sixes in his 115 ball knock as they put on a huge 232 runs for the third wicket. Linthwaite scored handsomely in their reply reaching 238-9 with a half-ton for opener Usman Yusaf whereas bowler Matthew Crane took four wickets for the hosts.
Elsewhere Thurstonland and Denby Dale saw home advantage count as they overcame Upperthong and Emley Clarence respectively. Thurstonland defended a 247-8 first innings score and edged Upperthong out by the fine margin of 8 runs in their 239ao reply. Emley Clarence fell back to earth after downing the leaders the previous matchday as they were bowled out for 108 in reply to Denby Dale’s low first innings score of 121ao with Fred stower taking four wickets for the hosts.
*Denby Dale 121
Emley Clarence 108.
*Hall Bower 367-7
Birkby Rose Hill 182.