Featured Image: Simon Kelly (Honley) produced one of the best ever of his numerous centuries with a stunning 145-ball knock of 132 to run Delph close. His ton, containing 12 fours and 3 sixes was the second on a run-filled afternoon at sun-kissed Far End Lane after Shreevats Goswami scored 105 off 99 balls in the first innings.
Picture courtesy of Huddersfield Examiner.
The picture at the bottom of the table took on a new complexion as Golcar pulled Thongsbridge further into trouble, Kirkburton emerged victorious in the battle of the bottom two and Armitage Bridge nailed a vital win to take them into mid-table safety.
Golcar's recent run of form has been one of title contention, rather than relegation avoidance and not only did they register a superb win away at Thongsbridge, they managed to pull them closer to the relegation zone in the process. The host's 243ao was always likely to be a competitive score thanks to the contributions of overseas pro Phil Visser (62), and opener Jed Standring (62). The fact that Golcar lost captain Steve Whitwam and pro Upal Bandara for ineffective scores early on said a lot at the character of the side and it was James Howson (75) who along with fellow 'club men' Craig Ruscoe (37) and Craig Horner (29) kept Golcar on track who ran out victors in the penultimate over on 247-7.
Kirkburton's first win in four matches couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Craig Fletcher's struggling team played host to bottom side Barkisland and after the visitors put up 222-8; opener Alex Kaye top scoring with 56, Kirkburton would need to bat sensibly to challenge that. They were indebted to their own opener Andy Smith who held his nerve to score a solid unbeaten century and bag a priceless 6 points to take them out of the relegation zone at Skelmanthorpe's expense. The loss of only 3 wickets gave it an even more of a gloss as it meant Barkisland had to bleakly head home with no useful bowling points to avoid being cut adrift at the bottom.
Cawthorne were made to dig in at Armitage Bridge and batted the entire 50 over allocation for a gritty 138-9. Matthew Wallbank (4-23) and Jaycub Curtling (3-55) ensured that the visitors were always kept under control with the ball. In reply Armitage Bridge made sure of victory as opening batsman Matthew West (31) and Robin Broom (33) applied themselves to earn the hosts an important win to overtake Cawthorne in the table and bask in the warm comforts of mid-table.
At Skelmanthorpe, leaders Hoylandswaine strode into town and recorded another useful win in their march to the title and open up a 16-point gap at the top. They shook off the previous weeks defeat on the road at Honley after Skelmanthorpe won the toss and good bowling meant Skelmanthorpe couldn't get out of range with the bat. The hosts, with a Sykes Cup semi-final in mind the following day, got to 204-9 - Aizaz Khan (42) and Liam O'Dea (32) both accumulating scores before getting out at crucial times as Gurman Rhandawa (4-60) and Mohammad Arif (4-57) kept the pressure on for Hoylandswaine. Chris Holliday (117no) continued his excellent season with the bat with yet another century as Hoylandswaine completed a comprehensive 8-wicket victory.
An incredible run-chase by Honley fell agonisingly short by only 12 runs on one of the biggest aggregate totals ever seen at the ground. Delph, batting first, put on a daunting 290-3 with credit to a fine century by Indian Shreevats Goswami (105). Luke Procter (87no) added a vital contribution on his release from county duties for Lancashire and Mosun Hussain (41) continued his lead at the top of the Premiership batting table. Honley very nearly smashed their own record batting second and were well placed to win thanks to an incredible innings from captain Simon Kelly (132). The turning point came in Delph's main attack bowler Shakir Muhammad (4-64) final over as he accounted for Kelly, Richard Porter (35) and Sam Denton (0), all straight bowled in the 47th over. Delph overtake stuttering Shepley and draw level on points with second-placed Moorlands on a productive day for the visitors.
Shepley collapsed from a well-set 93-2 to 182ao away at in-form Scholes. Oliver Davidson, experimented as an opening batsman carved out a quickfire 49 with fellow opener Dan Wood (40) but that was about as good as it got as Scholes' Brook brothers Louis (3-50) and Tom (4-51) got stuck in with the ball. Even the present and clear danger of a Shepley bowling attack, normally the divisions most potent, didn't stop rampant Scholes as Joe Carter (73) knocked off the runs with captain James Noble (56no) batting straight through.
Broad Oak go into their huge Sykes Cup semi-final with Skelmanthorpe in buoyant mood after earning a good win away at second-placed Moorlands. Their score of 234ao, Harry Franklin batting at 8 added a vital half-century, was well defended as Moorlands subsided to 194ao with John Keeling (3-55) snaring pivotal wickets of captain Andrew Fortis (17), Dave Winn (35) and Cameron French (22).
New leaders Rastrick have taken advantage of Mirfield Parish Cavaliers prodigious loss of form after they succumbed to a third straight defeat away at Elland. Rastrick put visiting Holmfirth to the sword in ruthless fashion by bowling them out for 131 with Asif Afridi (3-21) commanding with the ball. Rastrick eased to a comfortable win led by a half-century from Bradley Birkhead (50) and an unbeaten 38 from Faisal Javed.
Elland heaped misery onto visitors Mirfield Parish Cavaliers with an overwhelming win at Hullen Edge. Batting first Elland racked up 228-9, Alaistair Finn top scoring for the hosts with 63. Cavaliers collapsed in reply with only Nazar Hussain (38) with his finger in the dyke as his team mates crumbled around him batting second.
Linthwaite put aside their recent poor form as the strugglers performed a remarkable run chase to win at home to promotion-chasing Almondbury Wesleyans to move out of the bottom two. Wesleyans chalked up 276-7 thanks to a sparkling century by Bryn Jenkins (123) but Linthwaite harnessed a 'never say die' spirit they'll dearly need to hunt down the visitors total. Solid contributions from Greg Alexander (39) and Qaiser Rashid (37) kept the winning total in sight and number 8 batsman Raheel Akhtar (69) composed himself enjoying a decisive stand with no. 9 Afzal Amir (25no) to help see Linthwaite to a huge win.
Meltham fell into the bottom two with defeat away at Shelley, but collected a couple of batting points which may come in useful in the final reckoning. fourth-placed Shelley kept up the pressure on the leading pack despite setting a lowly total of 181ao. New signing from Denby, Ranjith Bandula-Don (60) made an impression on his new club as Shelley recovered from a top-order collapse. Bandula-Don completed an impressive home debut with 2-27 opening the bowling as Meltham threw away victory when in a well-placed position to win as they fell 4 runs short on 177ao.
Lascelles Hall deepened bottom-club Kirkheaton's worries with a convincing win in a derby match. Kirkheaton were bowled out for 125 by their close rivals; Tom Wightman (3-25) and Zeeshan Khan (3-31) being destructive with the ball. Zahed Ahmed (62no) took Lascelles Hall to a straightforward 7 wicket victory which keeps them even further away from the drop-zone.
Slaithwaite's inconsistency continued at home to Clayton West after being bowled out by the vistors for 126. Skipper Chris Coleman was the only Slaithwaite batsman to show any determination as Kyle Hitchman (3-40), Thomas Radley (3-43) and Tom Barber (4-28) did the damage. Alex Rank's unbeaten 44 saw Clayton West cruise to victory.
Cedar Court Conference
In the bottom division leaders Lepton Highlanders made another big step forward in their transformation from Conference scufflers to promotion contenders. They brushed aside Birkby Rose Hill by 9 wickets, gratefully boosted by a century from Mohammed Ishan (113no) as they chased down 148ao total with ease.
Marsden are now second as they fought off determined Mirfield at Hemplow. Marsden's 221-6 was enough to defend thanks to Joe Smith's 97 as Mirfield fell gallantly on 203ao in reply.
Elsewhere, Cumberworth United (153ao) slipped to third after taking a shellacking at Almondbury (274-5). Emley Clarence put on 239-8 and bowled out hosts Denby Dale for 106. Thurstonland made Upperthong suffer by bowling them out for 157 and chasing the total down for the loss of five wickets and Hall Bower overcame bottom-club Denby by overhauling their 242-8 total in a comprehensive five wicket win.