Featured Image: Cameron French (Moorlands) cut a frustrated figure as his side ended tying with Cawthorne after incoming rain adjusted Cawthorne's total of 189 to 152. His 59no wasn't enough to push Moorlands over the line in a dramatic match.
Picture courtesy of the Huddersfield Examiner.
The penultimate matchday of the season in an all-top-flight affair saw Skelmanthorpe lose their Premiership status for the first time since 1987. Golcar's rain rule-calculated win over Armitage Bridge meant Skelmanthorpe had to at least match them with a win but they were denied the opportunity after rain ended the match when well-placed at home to Thongsbridge. Elsewhere the rain-rule produced a dramatic tie between Moorlands and Cawthorne on an afternoon where most matches failed to finish.
The topsy-turvy story of this term's relegation fight was finally settled in the harshest of circumstances. Skelmanthorpe knew following the previous days results that they had to win at home to Thongsbridge to take it to a final day shootout away to fellow-strugglers Golcar. They started well after restricting visiting Thongsbridge following a speedy start, in-form openers Ben Raven-Hill (45) and Jed Standring (25) put on a decent opening partnership. A few changes of bowling later, spinner Josh Ingham (3-54) and skipper James Crossland (2-35) made inroads into the upper order before Abbas Ahmed then came on and mopped up the tail to reduce Thongsbridge to 189ao. The early run-out of Allan Greenwood was overcome by a stand between Josh Megson (4no) and Mike Kitson (29no) before the rains forced the players off early in the second innings. Frustratingly for the home side and their spectators, the match was abandoned and they could only powerlessly watch for updates from Golcar.
At Swallow Lane, Golcar had earned themselves some extra time to be able to force a result by bowling out visiting Armitage Bridge for 128. Steve Whitwam (3-22) and Craig Ruscoe (3-34) caused the most damage with the ball as Bridge never got to grips with a testing situation. Following showers and with a vital break in the weather, Golcar's batters made hasty work of the revised target of 81 taking them just 13 overs to race to the only 6-point win of the day. Abdul Wahid (26no) and Whitwam (34) were the local heroes as they preserved their Premiership status at Skelmanthorpe's expense.
Moorlands were unable to quite get over the line as they had to settle for a tie at home to Cawthorne. The away side were made to graft for 186ao with Ayrton Dehmal (58) labouring away at the top of the order for a half-century. Dave Winn (5-25) making the most of seamer-friendly conditions for another five-wicket haul. In reply Moorlands seemed to be pacing their chase well after rain temporarily curtailed proceedings earlier. Michael Rounding (70no) and Cameron French (59no) weren't able to get Moorlands to a win from a match they commanded for the bulk of it. Still, both sides settled for four points each on an afternoon when most clubs received only two.
Relegated Barkisland looked set to really test the credentials of second-placed Delph. Batting first the home team set 256-9 due to solid knocks throughout the order, particularly Luke Bridges (59), Alex Scholefield (34) and captain Darren Robinson (33). Muhammad Shakir (4-80) had the best return for visiting Delph. Rain set in during the tea interval and both teams were unable to take to the pitch for the second innings.
Another match which looked poised nicely were league Champions Hoylandswaine away at Scholes; a team that had already overcome them twice this season. Scholes put on another challenging score of 234ao with Tom Chadwick (74) hitting the high notes for his side, along with a half-century from opener Alex Clegg. 'Swaine were 29-0 in the sixth over when rain stopped play and players shook hands.
Kirkburton enjoyed a local derby at home to Shepley and the visitors helped themselves to 208ao with Tom Denton (53) making a welcome return appearance in-between footballing commitments. Archie Greaves (46) continued his fantastic first season for Shepley with another impressive knock while Kirkburton's Andrew Smith (3-28) and skipper Craig Fletcher (3-57) were leading wicket-takers. Only four overs were played in the second innings with the weather winning once again with Kirkburton 17-0 in reply.
Honley's match with Broad Oak saw a huge score from home side Honley as they piled on 282-6. Will Fraine (122) notched his second century of the season as he along with New Zealander Brett Randell (54no) made the Broad Oak bowlers suffer. Another match which once again sadly saw a premature end after a match-terminating shower at tea.