Featured Image: Andy Smith (Kirkburton) put in a fantastic all-round showing with the bat and ball to help his side to a crucial win at home to Sykes Cup finalists Scholes. His half-century with the bat and five wicket-haul with the ball condemned visitors Scholes to a first defeat in eight matches and put vital distance between them and second-bottom Skelmanthorpe.
Picture courtesy of the Huddersfield Examiner.
Golcar and Kirkburton both secured big wins to keep their fight alive at the bottom of the Premiership whilst the situation appears terminal for both Barkisland and Skelmanthorpe, whereas elsewhere, all of the top four registered wins. In the Championship Rastrick and Mirfield Parish Cavaliers maintained their surge towards promotion and in the Conference Hall Bower look like the dark horses as they profited from both Lepton Highlanders and Marsden's slip-ups.
Hoylandswaine stayed firmly on course for their first Premiership title since 2014 with a rampant home derby win against Cawthorne. Pace bowler Adnan Ghani (7-31) put in a fearsome bowling performance to obliterate Cawthorne's innings with only Ayrton Dehmel (26) offering resistance which was ultimately in vain. Hosts Hoylandswaine romped to an early finish by reaching 58-3 in reply to keep their 21-point lead over second-placed Delph intact.
Scholes slid to their first defeat in 8 league matches after they were comprehensively beaten at Riley Lane by Kirkburton who are finding a new lease of life and have picked up their fifth victory on the spin. Batting first, Kirkburton put on 286-9 with overseas signing Luke Williamson (89) leading the way but with great support by re-energised batsmen Andrew Smith (59), Jonny Butterfield (35) and former Scholes player Toby Booth (48). Scholes' Jack Cooper (4-100) returned a rather unwanted century as Scholes captain James Noble chose to rest his faster bowlers due to damp run-ups with a Sykes Cup final next week in mind. Despite Devon Smith's battling 77, Scholes crashed to defeat and Kirkburton move 9 points clear from Skelmanthorpe in the last relegation place.
Delph & Dobcross were the latest conquerors of Skelmanthorpe who went into the fixture on the back of two morale-boosting wins, but it appeared anything but smooth sailing for the lofty hosts. Delph started well after inviting Skelmanthorpe to bat first, reducing the visitors to 23-4. But a fine partnership between Aizaz Khan (68) and Shaun Alderson (41) got them back in the game and some late big hitting by the well-travelled Ibrar Younas (53) offered a lifeline to a team missing captain James Crossland and key batsman Allan Greenwood, setting 216-8 to chase. Delph are fairly formidable on their home ground and when ruthless run-machines Mosun Hussain and Arron Lilley fell for ducks Skelmanthorpe sensed an unlikely opportunity. However Premiership cricket is a ruthless mistress and Shreevats Goswami (117no) made them pay in spades after dropping a catch with him yet to score. Goswami went on to take the game away from Skelmanthorpe and score a brutal run-a-ball hundred as he and Graeme Simpson (82) put on a partnership of 203 in only 30 overs and inflicted a damaging defeat on Skelmanthorpe.
Barkisland remain rooted to the bottom and are now a huge 17 points from safety after they slumped to a latest defeat at home to Moorlands. The hosts were bowled out for 124 as Nicky Smith (3-42) and Andrew Walker (3-50) put them to the sword in ruthless fashion. Moorlands captain Andrew Fortis saw his side home with a fabulous 71no as Moorlands reached 125-2.
Golcar put aside their disappointment of last weeks defeat at home to Kirkburton by getting one over visiting side Honley. Golcar grafted their way to 188-8 as Sri Lankan Upal Bandara frustratingly missed out on a half century by a single run. Honley got off to a disastrous start losing talisman skipper Simon Kelly and in-form Will Fraine without troubling the scorers. Golcar have thoroughly missed dangerous medium-pace bowler Will Hinchliffe and welcomes his return with 3-23 but it was home skipper Steve Whitwam (4-25) who got well into the wavering Honley batsmen as they subsided to 126 in reply.
Armitage Bridge fell to defeat ahead of their inaugural T20 Trophy Final the next day as a Danny Glover-inspired Shepley led his team to the win. Visiting Armitage Bridge were bowled out for 131 as Glover (3-29) and youngster Edward Booth (3-15) starring. Shepley were made to work hard for the win but home skipper Glover was well up to the task as he put in another sterling all-round performance to secure the win and remain in third place.
Thongsbridge received another harsh lesson in converting a solid start into a winning opportunity after going from a well-placed 54-1 to 154ao as they were set about by Jack Hargreaves (3-11) and Ben Hyde (3-46). Hyde (44) himself anchored the second innings and Broad Oak coasted to 155-5 in reply, supported well by Dom Finn (29) despite Will Reeve's 4-51 for Thongsbridge.
Rastrick were handed a scare by lowly Linthwaite who showed there is still life left in those teams propping the table up. A reduced 40 overs per side match had hosts Linthwaite bowled out for 148 with Oliver Pearson (3-22) the main man with the ball. Rastrick had to carefully navigate some rocky moments but a sterling innings from Asif Afridi (90) shepherded the title contenders who with last season's disappointment fresh in the memory seem extra focused this season to blaze a path to the top flight.
Mirfield Parish Cavaliers picked up a vital win as they kept the pressure on the leaders by winning at home to increasingly endangered Meltham. They set a daunting 285-5 for the visitors with three half-centuries coming from Dan Broadbent (72), David Bolt (65) and Nazar Hussain (58no). It was too many for Meltham who wilted in the chase particularly after Daniel Hope's (5-50) five wicket blast.
Elland were 50-run victors away at Almondbury Wesleyans after they were restricted to 144-9 batting first before bowling out 3rd-placed Wesleyans for just 94. Shelley profited from Wesleyans' defeat by routing bottom-placed Kirkheaton by racking up 262-8 then bowling out the struggling hosts for 95.
Clayton West kept their decent run going by winning at home to mid-table Lascelles Hall. 227-8 was the Clayton West total with Kyle Hitchman once again in the runs with an undefeated 86. Lascelles Hall were pestered and brought down thanks to Craig Glover (3-50) and Tom Barber (4-51) putting in damaging spells with the ball as the visitors were downed on 188ao.
Holmfirth continue to move closer to safety with a win at home to inconsistent Slaithwaite. They overhauled Slaithwaite's 132ao for the loss of five wickets.
Cedar Court Conference
Hall Bower have emerged as the lone thoroughbred coming up on the rails as they felled leaders Lepton Highlanders and leaped into the promotion places with a stunning win. Their 203-6 was deemed a competitive score and so it proved as the leaders stuttered to 182ao
Marsden's crushing defeat at home to Upperthong saw them slip out of the promotion picture for the time being as Upperthong overcame Marsden's 92ao for the loss of six wickets. Cumberworth kept alive their faint hopes of promotion with a routing of Birkby Rose hill by nine wickets and Emley Clarence's recent run of good form was ended after Almondbury emerged 14-run winners.
Elsewhere Denby Dale narrowly won away in a low-scoring match at Thurstonland as both teams were reduced to 9 wickets down and second-bottom Denby picked up a rare victory away at lower-half Mirfield to complete the Conference action.