Jack Shelley (pictured above) blasted a century to fire Scholes into Byrom Shield contention as they won away at Barkisland to keep tabs on leaders Hoylandswaine, who won handsomely at home to Moorlands. Honley joined the race after Lewis Evans helped them to an eye-catching win away at Broad Oak and there were wins for fellow top-half teams Shepley, Skelmanthorpe and Kirkburton.
Scholes made their intentions clear with a fine success away at Barkisland with all top order batsmen in the runs. The standout performer for the Chapelgaters was Australian import, Jack Shelley, whose brilliant hundred wrestled the match into Scholes’ favour. Shelley’s 69 ball unbeaten innings contained 7 fours and 8 sixes as the visitors put up an imposing target of 275-6 which Barkisland struggled to match. Wicketkeeper Jasper Male’s eloquent 50 wasn’t enough for any consolitary batting points with Yaasar Imtiaz taking 4-38 in Barkisland’s 154ao. The win moves Scholes four points from Hoylandswaine, a team, they edged out in thrilling Heavy Woollen Cup fixture the week before.
Lewis Evans followed up his outstanding century for Honley the week before with a crucial innings to keep his team third in the table as they came through a serious test at Broad Oak. The South Australian made 93 as they doggedly defended their 231-7 first innings total. Evans held the innings together with Timmy Taylor making his second half-century of the campaign. Charlie Jakeman (31) and Lewis Kenworthy (25) also posted crucial contributions to get the visitors up towards a total that they could defend. Consistent Oak skipper Dom Finn hit 84 for the hosts to keep them firmly in the match. Tom McCreadie’s partnership with Finn looked to sway the balance however Lewis’ compatriot Jeremy Hackett (4-51, pictured above) proved the difference as he registered his 23rd wicket of what looks like an already insightful season. Oak finished six runs short of a thrilling win on 225ao.
Hoylandswaine’s masterful opening bowler Muhammad Azharullah claimed 5-37 to punish rivals Moorlands and maintain their four point lead at the top. The two teams forged a competitive rivalry last season but on this occasion Moorlands were well beaten by a dazzling bowling performance. The Mirfield side were decimated by Azharullah and although seven batsmen managed to get into double figures, their highest was Siraj Sajid and Declan Jackson (both 20). Swaine shrugged off their uncertain start to Moorlands’ 133ao total as they lost two early wickets but two former Lancashire County men in Furqan Shafiq’s measured unbeaten 57 and Arron Lilley’s belligerent 63 from 33 balls (pictured above) saw them comfortably home on 138-3.
Greg Wood (pictured above) led his Shepley team to a win that put more pressure onto Armitage Bridge. Wood’s brutal 92 was the cornerstone of Shepley’s 249-6 after Indian Pranav Susarla’s half-century had set the tone. Bridge’s Chris Dennison (43) and Saqib Matlub (64) pushed the away side hard but their challenge unravelled somewhat under the persistent nag of both Danny and Craig Glover who shared five wickets between them. A couple of bonus points were earned for the hosts who finished their reply on 225-9.
Kirkburton opening bowler Jack Byrne (pictured above) brought Almondbury Wesleyans crashing down after his hattrick cut through the visitors lower order chasing a 197-9 first innings total. Ben Carrington (34) and Roscoe Tahttil (33) had steadily rebuilt after Daniel Payne’s early strike had them at 13-2 but once Matt Henshaw (2-20) took both batsmen out, Jack Atkinson (3-56) kept on the pressure despite Tom Burkinshaw’s battling 34no. A middle order wobble saw Wesleyans slip from 39-2 to 58-5 and although Daniel Moorhouse dug in for 37, Byrne (4-25) seized on his departure by smashing through batters 8, 9 and 10 in consecutive balls. Kirkburton completed victory by going on to dismiss the visitors for 122.
Golcar fell to their second consecutive loss at home to Skelmanthorpe. Jack McNamara’s assiduous efforts with the bat proved fruitless under relentless probing by Skelmanthorpe slow bowlers Adam Rammell (3-43) and Paul Cummins (5-24). McNamara (47no, pictured above) put in an extraordinary vigil from 98 balls to guide his side to a below-par 134ao which wasn’t enough against in-form Skelmanthorpe who secured their third win of the season in emphatic style. Jack Newby was forced to retire on 52 but it was enough to help them to an easy success by 8 wickets.
A submissive batting display by Delph & Dobcross ensured they remained rooted to the bottom of the table as they unravelled spectacularly at Thongsbridge, being bowled out for just 76. Teenage batsman-wicketkeeper Nathan Walker (21) aside, they were kept firmly in check by a Thongsbridge outfit that demonstrated consistency and guile with the ball, yet never moved out of second gear. Ben Balmforth (2-18) and the ageless Zafar Iqbal (2-34) were a constant menace but Australian import Kieran Abrams (pictured above) polished off the visitors by claiming 5-22 - his second five wicket haul following his 7-57 at home to Shepley two weeks previously. The hosts rattled off the reply with the minimum of fuss, undeterred by Adnan Ghani’s 2-15, responding with 82-2 inside 21 overs.