The hunters became the hunted on a bitterly cold day in Round one of the WisdenAuction.com Sykes Cup as last season’s giant slayers Almondbury Wesleyans had the tables turned on them by Mirfield Parish Cavaliers. Thurstonland began to sense an upset until a double hundred put paid to that at Clayton West meanwhile holders Delph & Dobcross negotiated a way out from a tricky position at home to Denby.
The sands of time move quickly in local cricket and Almondbury Wesleyans, semi-finalists last term and responsible for a number of upsets on the way, found the tables turned on them by Championship side Mirfield Parish Cavaliers. The two clubs passed each other at the end of last season following Almondbury Wesleyans’ promotion but it was the lower-placed team that took the spoils. Tim Orrell had considered calling it a day at first team level but his decision to give it another season paid handsomely as his ton helped Parish into the hat for Round 2. Orrell (131) scored at almost precisely a run-a-ball in a match-winning contribution scoring 22 fours and 3 sixes as Parish chased a competitive 256-8 score set by Wesleyans. Earlier, opener Alex Taylor (86) carved out a great opportunity to put pressure on the visitors and Matthew Henshaw (50no) boosted the Wesleyans score with a quickfire half-century. Orrell however had other plans and when he was finally trapped LBW with Parish on 203-4, Dan Broadbent (43) and Aiden Hawkesworth (24no) had enough about them to seal the win.
Cup holders Delph & Dobcoss survived a slight scare at home to Championship side Denby. A combination of poor shot choices saw the hosts - yet to record a victory this season - in a spot of bother on 50-3. However the visitors were dealt a harsh lesson as Delph’s new signings Alex Peters (56) and Adam Hayes (100no) shared a lengthy partnership of 134 and Denby’s bowlers had the wind taken out of their sails with a glut of late runs in the first innings to set them a score of 270-7. The visitors managed to keep the dangerous Delph pace bowling trio at bay for some time but ultimately scoreboard pressure told and wickets started to crumble. Youngster Harjot Johal (36) impressed but bowlers Umer Yaqoob (4-21) and Shakir Muhammad (3-27) had too much guile and Denby’s spirited performance subsided on 122ao.
Phil Tunnicliffe hit a clinical double hundred for Clayton West in an innings that contained a remarkable 38 boundaries.
It’s been a turbulent start to the season for Clayton West and the visit of Thurstonland suggested at the halfway point that there could have been a Sykes Cup sting in the tail. Thurstonland recovered admirably from 66-4 as Jay Allen (90no) and Russell Martin (125) enjoyed a 205-run fifth wicket partnership to set a large first innings total of 280-6. Vulnerability in the bowling was cruelly exposed after tea as Phil Tunnicliffe followed up his 2-66 with an extraordinary double-hundred. New Zealander Tunnicliffe (209no) laid siege to the Thurstonland bowlers with a ferocious 121-ball assault containing a mammoth 38 boundaries in total (24 fours, 14 sixes). Fellow opening bat Ashley Thompson (49no) was a virtual spectator as Clayton West had no issues reaching 282-0 in reply from only 32 overs.
Two all-Premiership contests saw perhaps two of the closest Round One matches. At Armitage Bridge, 2017 cup winners Scholes became unstuck chasing down Armitage Bridge’s 191-9 total. Robin Broom (60) provided the bedrock of the innings with several useful contributions from others around him as the Brook brothers shared six wickets between themselves. Elliott Harrison (3-40) and Marco Van Biljon (2-32) both took down a potent Scholes batsman with both Nawaz and Carter falling just as they entered double figures. This left a large hill to climb on Bridge’s spin-friendly wicket and the pressure began to weigh heavily. Bradley Birkhead (43) and Jake Robshaw (43no) combined to inch Scholes back into contention but youngster Joe Atkin (3-13) snuffed out the tail.
Over at Shelley, Barkisland came out on top in a low-scoring match in a tale of two openers. Hasnat Yousaf (56) played a key role in Shelley’s first innings score of 138ao with Darren Robinson (4-26) asserting control for the visitors. That soon started to appear like a reasonable total once Barkisland found themselves stuck in the mire on 89-7. Opener George Hampshire (57no) emerged the matchwinner for Robinson’s side after diligently soaking up 150 balls in his unbeaten half-century and a 55-run partnership with wicketkeeper Phil Ackroyd (15no) frustrated Shelley as the 2015 winners booked their second round place.
Elsewhere, Premiership big guns Hoylandswaine skillfully swept aside Lascelles Hall in a 6 wicket win. Gurman Randhawa (5-28) got one over this old junior club as Hall were bowled out for 67 and the visitors knocked off the target for the loss of four wickets. Last season’s runners-up Shepley also had no issues in another potential tricky tie at Elland - the team they faced at the same stage last season. Shepley’s winter signing Max Joice (69) blazed a path for others to join him on the way to 256-9. Elland however were dismissed for 80 in reply.
Honley, Broad Oak and Kirkburton all saw off Championship opposition with a minimum of fuss. Honley’s 267-6 score was too vast to chase down for Slaithwaite but the visitors gave a good account of themselves with overseas Cosmond Walters (62) getting his season off and running with an excellent half-century. Slaithwaite succumbed to a 99-run defeat. Charlie Roebuck was in typically ruthless mood for Broad Oak at home to neighbouring Marsden. Roebuck (124) smashed his way to a brutal century from 97 balls and once he departed Marsden may have feared the worst. However wickets then tumbled giving the visitors 291-9 to pursue before canny bowling from the Premiership hosts took any sting out of the reply with Marsden restricted to 150-5. Kirkburton’s trip to Holmfirth posed few problems and Toby Booth registered his first victory as ‘Burton captain. They shrugged off the loss of Andy Smith on the first ball of the reply to chase down Holmfirth’s 149ao score with 150-5.
Sajjad Hussain (60) gave Cartworth Moor from Conference Two a bit of hope with a well-worked half-century at Golcar but a shock was never likely to be on the cards after the minnows were bowled out for 138. A solid third wicket partnership between James Howson (35) and Craig Ruscoe (55) gave Jack McNamara’s Golcar safe passage to the second round of a competition they last won ten years ago. It was also routine stuff for Thongsbridge and Moorlands who both eased past lower league opposition in relative ease. Meltham weren’t able to build on a positive opening partnership as they were bowled out for 114 with Thongsbridge making 116-5 in reply and Moorlands dismissed Upperthong for 68 with five wickets for James Stansfield (5-13) although they used five wickets in the process of knocking off their target.
Skelmanthorpe boast some fine Sykes Cup pedigree and they progressed at the expense of Lepton Highlanders in an all-Championship draw. Lepton stumbled their way to 103ao after Allan Greenwood (5-20) kept them pegged back and if it wasn;t for Jordan Greaves’ (52no) unbeaten half century may have had enough to defeat the 2010 winners. Skelmanthorpe held their nerve though finishing on 106-7. Rastrick easily outmuscled Emley Clarence with reliable overseas Asif Afridi (5-13) doing the business with his seam bowling as they crashed to 65ao although Rastrick found batting tricky themselves making 66-5 in response. Finally, in an all-Conference tie, Mirfield continued their excellent season with their fifth straight win by defeating Denby Dale who they also conquered the day before. Second and third change bowlers Deron Greaves (3-16) and Khizar Khaliq (3-15) never let Denby Dale out of their crosshairs as they snuffed them out first innings at 112ao. Mirfield were slightly worried in the second innings at 63-5 but managed to see the job home on 113-6.
The second round draw will be made at Broad Oak Cricket Club at 7pm on Wednesday 8 May.