Bowlers dominated on a low scoring afternoon as Shepley warmed up nicely ahead of their Heavy Woollen Cup Final date when a five wicket blast by Danny Glover crushed Almondbury Wesleyans. Hoylandswaine could afford no slip up and professionally disposed of Shelley who remain rooted at the bottom with matches quickly running out. The table was turned on its head in the Championship where not a single team in the top half could manage a win as the top two, Rastrick and Marsden crashed to surprising defeats. Thurstonland’s lead at the top of the Conference is extended to four points as they pushed out Cumberworth United with second placed Hoylandswaine 2XI narrowly falling to a one wicket defeat at T20 Shield finalists Meltham.
The recent weather has not only obliterated the Match Day 18 programme (consuming the T20 Finals Day too) but has been the ultimate test for groundsmen as they battled to prepare pitches. The result has been most favourable conditions for bowlers and this couldn’t have been more emphatically illustrated than at Almondbury Wesleyans as Shepley’s deadly seam attack hauled the hosts over the coals. Openers Nasar Jamal and Danny Glover took six wickets between them.as they earned vehement revenge for their home defeat to Wesleyans earlier in the season. Glover (5-12) in particular was in savage form during his ten over stint as the home team were reduced to 26-6 and the situation rarely improved for them once the opening bowlers made way. Shepley would welcome an equally devastating bowling performance in the next afternoon’s Heavy Woollen Cup Final against Townville and Glover, who has now taken 21 wickets in the last six matches, will be key to his side’s chances of success. Experienced Nadim Hussain (2-11) and youngster George Booth (2-12) expertly mopped up the tail to leave Almondbury Wesleyans a meagre 60ao total to defend. It took the visitors 14 overs to complete victory who lost three wickets themselves with Tom Chadwick steadfastly ensuring an unlikely sequence of events couldn’t manifest itself as Shepley reached 66-3 in reply.
Rock-bottom Shelley’s unlikely escape mission took a dent but their survival will probably be defined in matches away from this defeat at Champions-elect Hoylandswaine. They admirably withstood the fast bowling barrage of Adnan Ghani and Waqas Maqsood for more than ten overs with openers Louis Sykes (25) and Sami Aslam (11) defiantly standing firm. However the bowlers soon began to bite with Maqsood (3-38) and Ghani (5-29) scything through the ranks with the opening duo removed. Shelley were all out for 125 but took small clusters of wickets themselves in the reply. Opener Brayden Clarke (50) scored a 66-ball half century before being caught and bowled. Maqsood (23) was pushed up the order and hammered three sixes before being out with the scores level. Hoylandswaine duly made sure of victory on 126-5 and now sit only five wins away from retaining the Byrom Shield.
Four bowlers shared the glory at Moorlands who downed Golcar with a superb first innings show with the ball. Openers Andrew Walker (3-45) and Nick Smith (2-25) gave the visitors a hostile reception by reducing them to 24-5 before Dan Woodhead (28) and Craig Ruscoe (25) gamely repaired the damage. James Stansfield (3-14) took over removing both stubborn batsmen in quick succession before Siraj Sajid (2-9) joined in and polished off the innings with Golcar 96ao. It was an uncomfortable start to the reply for second-placed Moorlands as Golcar knocked over three quick wickets to leave the hosts stunned on 19-3. Jason Grosvenor (16) and Stansfield (16no) fought themselves back into the match and with a deluge terminating the match early on 58-4 after 19 overs, it was enough for a win via the rain rule.
Free-falling Delph & Dobcross slumped closer to relegation as they suffered yet another defeat on the road away at Broad Oak, their fifth consecutive loss in the league. After being asked to bat first, Delph found it tricky losing both opening batsmen for single figures. Captain Alex Peters (27) put in a determined shift but was unable to push on as he became a victim to spinner John Keeling. The hosts slow bowlers then took firm control as Keeling (3-27) and Dan Taylor (4-29) ruthlessly suffocated their opponents who hobbled on to 93ao in 43 overs. It wasn’t all plain-sailing in the reply as Umer Yaqoob (3-18) helped reduce Oak to 25-4. This became 50-5 as a battle of attrition emerged between the sides but overseas Kyran Dill (34no) and Tom McCreadie (22no) prevented any further subsidence with a bullish partnership that denied the visitors a precious bowling point. They saw out victory on 95-5 after 28 overs to pull themselves further away from trouble. Delph meanwhile now embark on a season-defining four match run where they play three of the teams in an around them at the bottom.
Kirkburton's Andrew Smith (above) was his team's hero with both bat and ball as they recorded a priceless win to haul them closer to safety with a keenly fought win away at Barkisland.
Andrew Smith’s man of the match performance handed Kirkburton a crucial win which saw them draw level with Delph & Dobcross in their fight against relegation. Smith (63) carved out a dogged contribution with the bat providing a significant platform for his team to battle to a 196-7 total at Barkisland with useful additions from others throughout the innings. Former Barkisland all-rounder Alex Scholefield (23) and skipper Toby Booth (25) made key displays in accumulating enough of a total to put the hosts under pressure. Jamie Sykes (2-31) and Jake Finch (2-42) performed best with the ball for Barkisland and they were hit with an instant blow falling to 1-2 and then 16-3 at the start of the reply at the hands of Scholefield (3-7). Luke Bridges (49) and Harry Finch (27) did their best to turn things around but with a rising required run rate the match was in the visitors hands. Javaid Ahmad (2-44) removed the entrenched duo before Smith (3-62) asserted control as Barkisland lost wickets chasing the match. They were eventually bowled out for 175 inflicting a defeat that heightens their own worries and provides a moment of respite for Kirkburton as the season heads into its critical phase.
A match winning display from classy batsman Joe Carter lifted Scholes out of a pickle as they chased Armitage Bridge’s 154-7 total. Earlier their hosts had toiled their way to a competitive score given the conditions, built squarely around Jaycub Curtling’s (54) attritional half-century. Tom Brook (4-23) celebrated his return from suspension with an excellent all-round showing as he along with brother Louis Brook (3-18) kept Bridge in reach with a deadly spell that saw them lose four wickets for 15 runs. Scholes were struggling themselves when the hosts opening bowlers landed an early punch that halted the visitors on 8-3. Carter (82no) and Brook (26) recovered with a 101-run partnership that placed control back into their hands. Despite a couple more wickets falling, the popular Kiwi hung around to finish the match unbeaten as Ben Robshaw (21no) helped him see home the win on 155-6 with seven overs to play.
Timmy Taylor lashed a precise century ahead of his side’s big T20 showdown as Honley comfortably beat visiting Thongsbridge in the day’s highest scoring Premiership match. Honley captain Taylor shared a 59-run second wicket partnership with Simon Kelly (25) to give his side a solid start. The momentum upped a notch when Eddie Wilson joined him as he and Taylor took the match to their out-of-sorts opponents with a 97-run stand before Taylor (100) hit 12 fours and 1 six in his 117-ball innings before being stumped just after reaching his landmark; his second of an injury-affected season taking him to over 500 runs. Wilson (84) clattered five sixes in a belligerent 55-ball blast that further chastened Thongsbridge’s bowlers for whom Ben Balmforth (3-67) emerged with his dignity intact. The visitor’s pursuit of Honley’s beefy 272-9 total was always likely to be a tough ask but Haydn Slodecki (52) and Jack Cassidy (79) carefully plotted an unlikely assault with a 111-run third wicket partnership. However the asking rate escalated beyond their control and with both batsmen out with over a hundred runs still to get in 12 overs, the game slipped beyond Thongsbridge. Taylor (5-61) seized the opportunity and ran through his opponents tail as they subsided quickly to 197ao with 9 balls remaining.
Jack Mulhall and Adeel Ashraf cruelly consigned Marsden to a crushing defeat as the Cuckoos’ promotion train spectacularly derailed with a second straight defeat, this time at Lepton Highlanders. The visitors were annihilated with the ball with only one batsmen reaching double figures and only 35 runs coming off the bat in their 63ao total. Mulhall (4-28) and Ashraf (5-27) were rampant and never let up the pressure during 25 painful overs for the visitors. Lepton made huge strides towards safety by conquering their lofty opponents and made swift work in the reply with Josh Megson (46no) leading the way. The hosts replied with 69-1 inside 13 overs to record a win which propels them ten points clear of the drop zone. In a glimmer of positivity for Marsden, results mostly went their way as they hang on to second place by a point.
Rock-bottom Almondbury inflicted a shock defeat upon Rastrick at Round Hill, remarkably only their second win of the season, in a low-scoring grind on a tough wicket. Batting first, visiting Almondbury had Faisal Usman (23) and Atif Kamran (34) grafted their way into double figures but they were always under the spell of the canny Rastrick bowling duo of Asif Afridi (4-17) and Osama Ahmed (3-30) as they were skittled out for 111 in precisely 30 overs. The second innings proved even more of a test of endurance when a teatime shower revising the target to 97. Almondbury handled the conditions much better than their hosts with bowlers Wasim Khaliq (4-18) and Usman (4-18) giving little away. Thomas Owen (23) battled his way through the stiff test but Almondbury made the vital breakthrough with Rastrick bowled out for 80 in an ignominious afternoon for the league leaders.
Nazar Hussain tonned up for Mirfield Parish Cavaliers but a pulsating match at home to Holmfirth fell victim to thick showers that hit the environs of Mirfield and prematurely ended it. Hussain (110no) along with David Bolt (65) scored most of their team’s runs in a 249ao total where Amar Rashid (5-57) collected a five wicket haul for Holmfirth. The match was deliciously poised on 94-0 with Rashid (46no) and Sami-Ur Rehman (43no) aiming to get ahead of the required rate before the rain frustratingly terminated the match, five overs before a result could be determined.
Skelmanthorpe gave their survival chances a boost by doing the double over opponents Slaithwaite. Joe Sykes (87no) anchored his side’s innings with an unbeaten 125-ball knock that contained 6 fours and 3 sixes before running out of partners. Alex Walker took 3 wickets for Slaithwaite as the visitors chipped away and restricted Skelmanthorpe to 204-9 from their 50 overs. Their reply was scuppered by Blair Buchanan (4-47) and Haroon Arshad (4-41) who bowled harmoniously in tandem for the hosts taking eight wickets between them. Sadaqat Zaman (38) top scored for Slaithwaite but couldn’t get a grip or build a substantial partnership as they were dismissed for 130 in 22 overs. The win offers the Lidgett Lane men a slender lifeline as they aim to cut a 9 point deficit to safety.
Sam Tyas (above) helped Clayton West ease past a spirited Denby in their Championship victory away from home.
Aizaz Khan’s five wicket haul was in vain for Denby as they were edged out by Clayton West in a close contest by 19 runs. The visitors were indebted to a fine 97-run partnership between Alex Clegg (50) and Sam Tyas (44) which steadied their ship from 100-6 to eventually make 221-9 batting first. Khan (5-56) was supported by Mike Kitson (2-50) and Zafar Jadoon (2-24) with four wickets shared out between them for Denby. The hosts made a splendid start racing to 79-0 with Mark Askham (48) and Matthew Smith (39) sharing a good first wicket partnership. Then at 118-1 control was wrestled from Denby’s grasp as Clayton West fought back strongly with the ball with former Shepley spinner Danny Wood (4-47) making the breakthrough to remove the top four. Phil Tunnicliffe and Dan Barber (2-60) then put the skids underneath their hosts as they fell further to 136-6. Tom Sanders (36) offered hope in the middle order but wickets continued to fall around him. Tunnicliffe (3-46) took the final two wickets to complete victory with Denby all out for 202.
Only half a match could be managed at Lascelles Hall who entertained Elland. Shaun Woodhams’ side put on a substantial first innings score with Sheheryar Hassan (67no) top scoring. Hardeep Singh (37) appeared in decent nick and there were four other batsmen, including Woodhams (26), who hit scores into the twenties before getting out. Opening bowler Kieran Rogers (3-58) was the best of Elland’s porous bowling attack as Lascelles Hall set them a 223-8 total to chase. However only three balls were managed after tea and rain curtailed play with no score on the board to leave both teams with two points each.
Cedar Court Conference
Thurstonland are developing a reputation for defending low scores and they edged to another win at home to Cumberworth United to keep their promotion ambitions on course; the fourth time they have successfully defended a sub 150 run total. They were kept in check by a controlling Cumberworth bowling attack with Josh Kilner (4-34) and George Smith (3-16) keeping their opponents in their crosshairs as Thurstonland were pegged back to 112ao. Cumberworth’s task was made simpler after a shower revised their target to just 98 but Thurstonland showed the character to appear undaunted by such a narrow margin of error. Opening bowlers Jordan Thackray (2-42) and Lee Booth (2-5) rocked the visitors to leave them stunned on 23-4. A change of bowling then introduced Kaleel Ahmed (3-20) and Jack England who finished the job as a cluster of wickets clattered down. Bemused Cumberworth finished a slender seven runs shy of their target on 91ao.
Meltham ruffled things up in a congested top half as they narrowed their gap between them and second-placed Hoylandswaine 2XI by four points. Rizwan Malik (5-46) harried the visitors who crumbled to 124ao in their innings with Harry Howlett (29) top scoring. The reply was anything but simple with Darren Lockwood (3-40) and Josh Holmes (3-19) putting the hosts in trouble themselves as they struggled to piece together any momentum. When opener Alex Clegg (37) was dismissed to leave Meltham on 90-6 the balance of power swung in favour of the visitors but Meltham dug deep with Khuram Sajjad (29) and Cameron Field (14) slowly clawing their way over the line on 229-9 completing a tense one-wicket win.
In the days other matches, Hammad Ul Hassan hammered a century for Hall Bower. Hassan (125) helped Bower assemble 247-9 which wouldn’t be overhauled with Denby Dale only able to muster 143ao in reply. Hassan (4-51) was in hot form with the ball during Bower’s routine win. Mohammed Nabeel (7-34) put in a breathtaking display for Emley Clarence but it was all for nothing as they were unable to chase down Mirfield’s 118ao. Five wicket hauls each for Deron Greaves (5-16) and Beau McGuinness (5-29) put paid to that as Emley were briskly shot down for 51ao. Anjum Shahzad (4-35) was on the mark for Birkby Rose Hill who put the squeeze on Upperthong. They were restricted to 144-9 in reply to Birkby’s 183-9 first innings total.
Finally, Linthwaite vs Kirkheaton had to be abandoned after reports of a gang of local youths invaded the pitch and attacked players and spectators of both clubs. We wish the.speediest of recoveries to those injured in this disgusting, wanton violence and the perpetrators are brought to justice.