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New Signings Sparkle On Opening Day - Premiership Matchday 1 Review

New Signings Sparkle On Opening Day - Premiership Matchday 1 Review

17 Apr 2022

Several fresh faces made their presence felt for their new clubs on an opening day, gently warmed by spring sunshine, as the 2022 season got up and running to an exhilarating start. Champions Hoylandswaine got the fright of their lives and had to dig deep to extract a win away at Armitage Bridge. Meanwhile Kirkburton gave Moorlands a bloody nose at Riley Lane and Golcar - who finished last season in third - were soundly beaten at home to Scholes.

Hoylandswaine came roaring back from being bowled out for 76 away at Armitage Bridge and were indebted to their star international signing Junaid Khan who blew away the home side with a devastating salvo. Bridge’s Jack Hinchliffe earlier took 5-30 to stun the visitors who surrendered from 56-3 to 76ao. Whether a sluggish early season wicket was to blame or just good bowling was one for those present to judge, however the manner in which the Byrom Shield holders collapsed will give their next opponents something to aim at. Muhammad Azharrullah (main image) applied his masterful skills with the ball to complete victory as Bridge fell 22 runs short in the reply.

Craig Fletcher (above) toasted a brazen return to Kirkburton for a third spell by dragging his side over the line for a remarkable win at home to last season’s double trophy winners Moorlands. Restyling himself as a destructive lower order batsman, his brilliant 47 frustrated the visitors as ‘Burton successfully hunted down Moorlands’ 210-7 first innings total. Earlier, James Stansfield’s 62 had given the away side something to bowl at with Tom Burkinshaw, Andy Smith and 2021’s top bowler John Keeling all picking up two scalps each. However Smith (41) and overseas Roscoe Tahttil (47) laid an important bedrock down for the hosts until they wobbled from 102-3 to 121-7. Thankfully, Fletcher was the returning hero to apply a bit of magic and stoically steer them home for the loss of one further wicket.

Scholes ventured to Golcar on the opening day of last season and lost heavily, but they returned much happier this time after delivering a blow to Jack McNamara’s side who’ve built a formidable home reputation in 2021. They reversed their thrashing with interest as a terrific bowling performance from former Slaithwaite man Alex Walker (3-34, above) and Australian overseas Jack Shelley (3-16) earned a comfortable win for Scholes. Yaasir Imtiaz (3-6) further turned the screw despite Golcar opener James Howson (36) top scoring in their 97ao. Brad Birkhead, who passed captaincy over to Josh Brook in the winter, pushed the visitors to a bright and breezy victory with a 100-3 reply.

The highest scoring match in the Premiership came at Miry Lane as Thongsbridge welcomed near neighbours Honley for a fascinating clash. Kai Greig continued where he left off for Thongsbridge last season as the South African hammered 84 in 123 balls as the hosts threw down their gauntlet setting Honley 243-9. Honley’s Timmy Taylor put in a star all-round performance by first taking 5-45 with the ball and excelling with the bat with an unbeaten 62. Honley’s successful response was solidly built around openers Simon Kelly (78) and new overseas Lewis Evans (53), both registering half-centuries as they set 139 for the first wicket. Veteran campaigner Zafar Iqbal took a sapping 3-74 for Thongsbridge but Honley cantered home on 244-3 with 14 overs still to play.

The two newest Premiership teams immediately renewed their rivalries and Skelmanthorpe emerged winners with Almondbury Wesleyans taking a point at Kaye Lane. Captain Will Binns led his Wesleyans side with the bat by scoring 32, but he struggled for company thanks to Adam Rammell’s 5-29 restricting the hosts to 140ao. His opposing skipper, Allan Greenwood (above) underwrote Skelmanthorpe’s reply, despite debuting Kiwi Jed Wiggins’ 2-35 on debut. Skelmanthorpe eased to victory on 142-6 with 12 overs remaining.

Two of Broad Oak’s winter signings made an instant impact as they drove their new side to an eye-catching win away at Barkisland. Aussie Ben Lowden scored 58 and UK-registered overseas Fletcher Coutts (86, above) enjoyed triumphant performances with the bat as they added steel to Oak’s first innings showing. Barkisland were formidable on their own patch throughout 2021 but came unstuck here in reply to the visitors’ 229-6. Matty Weston (23) and captain Ben Heritage (35) put on 48 for the first wicket but were derailed by slumping from 147-4 to 176-9. Adam France returned to the fray and took two wickets before spinner Dan Taylor claimed 4-50 to complete an excellent victory with the home side eventually dismissed for 204.

Delph & Dobcross were hampered by five first team absentees due to holidays and a visa wait but they still managed to put in a performance with a lot of heart in defeat at home to Shepley. Mosun Hussain underpinned the home side’s 157ao total with a diligent 88no, batting through the entire innings. Zak Pemberton added 40 but Shepley retained overall control of the match by targeting the inexperienced batsmen. Craig Glover rejoined the club after a seven year hiatus at Clayton West, to team up once again with brother Danny. Ironically the last time they played alongside one another was also against Delph in 2014 and it was a happy reunion this time as the visitors completed their five wicket win. Craig took 4-48 to restrict the hosts with young Yorkshire spinner Josh Hoyle chipping in with 3-39. Shepley needed to work hard for the win though, after Delph’s new signing Adnan Ghani (4-43) reduced them to 23-3. However Tom Chadwick’s (above) classy 65-ball 81 proved the difference as he teamed up with skipper Greg Wood (51) to quickly take momentum away from Delph’s sails as they reached 161-5.

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