Delph & Dobcross booked their place in the All-Rounder Sykes Cup final for the fifth time in total but were pushed to their limits by a spirited Almondbury Wesleyans display. The Championship team, batting first after winning the toss, were pushed onto the back foot after Delph’s opening pace bowlers Wasim Qasim (2-29) and Umer Yaqoob (2-30) struck in an opening flurry that rocked the hosts. Alex Taylor, a hero in the last round against Honley, survived a big LBW appeal on the first ball, but was not so lucky on the second after another convincing appeal was agreed with by umpire Steve Bartholomew. Tom Binns (9) then became a victim for Yaqoob after he thick-edged straight to Hargreaves at gully. Wesleyans captain Will Binns (33) was then given more robust company in the form of Tom Addy (40) and together they began to rebuild the innings. Addy was tempted too much by a Nathan Jones delivery and he was attracted into an attacking pull shot which was held on the boundary by Graeme Simpson before Binns was trapped by Chris Tipper for LBW. Wickets then fell at timely intervals for the Premiership visitors as they checked the progress of the hosts in professional manner with Wesleyans eventually bowled out for 179. Nathan Jones (4-52, pictured below) was the key architect in ending the hosts innings a couple of overs early and there was another impressive performance from Delph’s Xander Selby (1-24) with a tight bowling spell that prevented the home side from straying too far out of reach.
Delph had to dig deep after tea as Wesleyans targeted the upper order batsmen with Nathan Jones and Graeme Simpson both falling victim to snicks behind to the wicketkeeper, whereas Chris Tipper played a loose shot which was well-held by Matt Henshaw in the gully. They had the visitors rocking at this point who were reliant on a solid performance from their leading run-scorer, opening batsman Mosun Hussain. The former England U19 and Yorkshire Academy star displayed remarkable patience, scoring at a conservative pace and attacking the bad balls that crept in. With further wickets falling at the other end, Hussain’s contribution became the key to the match and he survived after a thin edge parried by wicketkeeper Johnny Hoyle wasn’t taken by the slip fielder. With the match delicately balanced, on 108-6 following Xander Selby’s LBW, Umer Yaqoob then zoned in on Ben Shufflebotham, hammering 23 runs in a devastating 14 ball spell that turned the match. A collision with Hussain when running a single led to the unfortunate Yaqoob being run out, however Luke Hargreaves finished the match in impressive style, clattering a six to win the match for the visitors on 180-7 with 15 overs remaining. Hussain finished with 78no from 102 balls in an almost faultless, professional performance which underlined Delph’s quality on the day.