Featured Image: Oliver Pearson (Rastrick) put in a commanding all-round performance as he took 7-81 with the ball before taking the bat and smashing 58 as his club moved closer to the Jedi Championship title with a comprehensive win over Clayton West.
Picture courtesy of The Huddersfield Examiner
Buckle yourself in and brace yourselves for a thrilling finale to the Huddersfield League season, especially if this weekend is anything to go by! Kirkburton and Skelmanthorpe were unable to be separated as they played out a pulsating tie, Golcar remain mired in trouble by losing narrowly to Scholes, Barkisland kept their faint hopes of survival alive with a win and leaders Hoylandswaine came a cropper at Sykes Cups runners up Broad Oak. In the Jedi Championship, the top of the table remains congested as the top four all won and in the Conference Lepton Highlanders bounced back from recent disappointments whilst the chasing pack all dropped points in their pursuit for promotion.
The most eagerly anticipated match of the afternoon was at Riley Lane as Kirkburton met Skelmanthorpe who are both walking a thin tightrope above the relegation zone at the start of play. The potential for an absorbing match certainly didn't disappoint as Skelmanthorpe fought their way to a competitive total to defend, especially against a Kirkburton side that has struggled for confidence for a large part of the season. The visitors compiled 221ao with key contributions from Allan Greenwood (50) and Aizaz Khan (47) and wounded hosts Kirkburton by dismissing in-form Andrew Smith in the first ball of the innings. Kirkburton, under the cosh for a large portion of the second innings kept plugging away and helped by a superb knock by Toby Booth played themselves into a position of promise as they hunted an unlikely win. Skelmanthorpe held their nerve as the match, one of the last to finish, reached the final over and with five runs required Kirkburton tied the match with just one wicket remaining. Three points each ironically don't help either side much, especially with teams below them collecting much-needed points but both teams will reflect on an unforgettable match.
Barkisland have a mountain to climb in order to rescue themselves, marooned at the bottom, but let's just say the crampons fit nicely and there is the embers of fight left for Darren Robinson's side. They picked up only their third win and ensured opponents Armitage Bridge still have work to do as the season draws nearer to the end. Ben Westbrook (86) along with Jake Finch (37) helped home side Barkisland assemble 253-8 from their innings with Finch (3-31) helping restrict Armitage Bridge to 212ao in reply, despite Saqib Matlub (76) showing his quality. A point gained for Armitage Bridge but still require at least a win or two to secure survival.
Hoylandswaine's runaway league form hit the buffers as Broad Oak recovered from Sykes Cup disappointment to record an excellent win at home to the league leaders. Hoylandswaine bowled out the hosts for 159 with Sean Mee (34) top scoring for the hosts and Adnan Ghani (4-50) and Gurman Randhawa (3-13) running amok on the bowling side. Hoylandswaine's normally sharp edge was dulled today as Broad Oak kept relentless bowling pressure on as seam bowling opener Adam France (3-44), overseas professional Ben Hyde (3-31) and spinner John Keeling (3-34) all combined to nullify Swaine's batting threat with only Max Joice (47) being able to cause any damage of note. Hoylandswaine finally bowled out for 152 but still pick up two points.
Delph & Dobcross are now 17 points behind the illustrious leaders as they crept home when entertaining visitors Thongsbridge in a reduced overs affair at Huddersfield Road. Thanks to a lunchtime downpour play only started at 4pm with a 20-over thrash as Thongsbridge batted first and set 135-6. A fine half-century by Phil Visser (52no) helped set the tone but last season's champions Delph matched the tempo with a stunning last over win, a grim sense of deja vu for Thongsbridge following their Sykes Cup quarter final defeat on the same ground in June. Key inputs from Mosun Hussain (38) and Graeme Simpson (30) helped Delph on their way and despite Visser (5-25) causing damage with the ball the hosts held their nerve in the last over to take 6 points, leaving Thongsbridge with 2 points.
Shepley reinforced their position in third place with a victory over Cawthorne but were pushed all the way by the visiting team. Cawthorne carefully worked their way to 184-9; the reliable Iqbal Khan (43) and Ayrton Dehmel (69) the mainstays of the innings with the dangerous Nasir Jamal (4-35) getting the wickets for Shepley. A pair of fine half-centuries by overseas player Brenton Thompson (55) and Oliver Davidson (54) painstakingly measured up the chase and Shepley reached 186-7 to take the win.
Honley put faltering Moorlands to the sword as they racked up the runs at Far End Lane by setting 241-8 thanks to yet another eye-catching innings from Will Fraine (71) and a half-century from the evergreen Danny Howard (56). Moorlands were not quite in the hunt as they scraped a point by reaching 180 despite Mick Padgett's (50) half-ton. Sam Denton (3-34), Brett Randall (3-29) and Timmy Taylor (3-53) all chipping away at the visitors assault.
Sykes Cup winners Scholes may have felt a sense of "after the Lord Mayor's show" as they were sliced and diced by rampant Golcar bowlers Will Hinchliffe (5-35) and Steve Whitwam (4-36) crashing to 108ao, a far cry from their illustrious batting exploits in the previous weeks Sykes Cup final. However Golcar's glee soon turned to despair as Scholes blitzed them with the ball after tea with only Upal Bandara (37) withstanding the onslaught to any degree as Golcar collapsed to 99ao. Louis Brook (6-46) and Josh Brook (3-41) bowling in destructive tandem as the hosts wilted under the pressure and remain in the bottom two.
Rastrick bypassed a dangerous looking assignment away at Clayton West as they continue to plot their course to the Premiership. Asif Afridi (87) put in another big innings but it was a brilliant man of the match performance with bat and ball from Oliver Pearson who picked up 7-81 as Clayton West were bowled out for 218. He then went on to smash 58 in the reply with Rastrick reaching 219-5 and the gap between second placed Shelley remains ten points.
Shelley emphatically took care of business away at second-bottom Linthwaite in a convincing win in the quest for an instant return to the Premiership. Joe Sykes (69) and Martin Sykes (37no) help lay a foundation for a good score of 236-8, despite Rizwan Malik (5-47) bagging a five wicket haul for Linthwaite. Their response was scuppered by the tight bowling of Matthew Dyson (4-55) and Nick Sharp (3-28) as Linthwaite were bowled out for 152 and are now seven points from safety.
Meltham carried out a vital conquest away at the seemingly-doomed Kirkheaton, as the home side capitulated to 68ao with six wickets for Abdul Hamid (6-36). Meltham lost five wickets chasing that low total down but reached 69-5 to give them a huge boost in their battle against the drop.
Elland have put together a run of form that may just see them make a quick return to the Premiership as they emphatically swept aside Lascelles Hall. Alistair Finn (5-25) was in irresistible form helping his side bowl out Lascelles Hall for 132. Elland went on to win reaching 133-6 in the second innings.
Mirfield Parish Cavalier may still be ruing a terrible run of mid-season form but they still stay in the chasing pack following a dominant win away at struggling Holmfirth. Dan Broadbent (68) top-scored as Parish made 243-8 with Holmfirth's Abdul Gafoor (4-61) impressing with the ball. Holmfirth's reply, despite a solid start, faded away following a middle order collapse as first change bowler Connor Rowlands (5-57) took a "five-fer" and Holmfirth were dismissed for 182ao.
Almondbury Wesleyans v Slaithwaite was a late score.
Cedar Court Conference
Leaders Lepton Highlanders brought the winning feeling back following a run of straight defeats as they brushed off the challenge of Cumberworth United and gained an extra reward as their nearest challengers Hall Bower and Marsden both lost. Lepton amassed 221-8 batting first with a half century for Asif Hussain (56). Then the bowlers ran through the Cumberworth batting as they were bowled out for 104 with that man Hussain taking 4-34 along with Sajid Bashir (3-17) also chipping in.
Hall Bower were hit with a damaging defeat away at Thurstonland, slumping to 82ao against Thurstonland's 83-1 Mark Askham (5-12) grabbing the lion's share of the wickets. Marsden suffered a surprise defeat at home to bottom club Birkby Rose Hill, who moved up two places. Birkby made 204-6 from their allocation, led by Muhammad Kamran (93) before bowling out Marsden for 124.
Elsewhere Denby Dale routed Mirfield setting 186ao before bowling them out for 91. Emley Clarence reached 197ao before reigning fire and fury on hapless Upperthong, bowling them out for just 21 in reply. Almondbury kept up their slight interest in the promotion race by bowling Denby out for 166 before getting 171-4 in reply.