Featured Image: Scholes will face off against Broad Oak in the 2017 Sykes Cup Final following a thoroughly dominant display against Premiership runaway leaders Hoylandswaine. Both clubs have waited a long time since they last lifted the prestigious trophy with Scholes attempting to end a 21 year wait and it being 32 years since a Broad Oak captain has held the Sykes Cup aloft.
Picture courtesy of Paul Ibbotson
Scholes and Broad Oak both booked their places in the pomp and prestige of the All-Rounder Sykes Cup final which means that at either a 21 or 32 year wait to lift the iconic trophy will be ended on August 6th.
Broad Oak's route to the final has seen them ease past Cedar Court Conference side Mirfield in the first round before negotiating past a tough Colne Valley derby away to Golcar in the second round. A second innings bowling blitz by Adam France put paid to Shepley's interest in the competition and with a bumper home crowd in the semi-final they put in a professional display to knock out Skelmanthorpe.
Overseas signing Ben Hyde had big boots to fill following the overwhelming success of Henry Cooper's two season spell and he made big strides in living up to it by smashing a faultless century as Broad Oak batted first. In fact an excellent second wicket partnership with Dom Finn (45) looked like setting up a completely unassailable first innings score and it was to Skelmanthorpe's credit that they reigned in the hosts as they threatened to cause havoc in the last 15 overs. Aizaz Khan's (3-31) late spell along with a cluster of disastrous run-outs saw Broad Oak bowled out for 251 as they looked to push the score from their well-laid platform. Skelmanthorpe's reply was hampered following Allan Greenwood's injury suffered fielding in the first innings and he hobbled out for only 10 as Adam France's (2-21) dangerous seam bowling put the visitors on the back foot from the start. A double blow of losing big hitters Alderson (21) and Liam O'Dea (24) just as they batted themselves in put the skids right under Skelmanthorpe's chase and the game was virtually over by the time spinner John Keeling (4-22) took out Aizaz Khan (11) as he continued to mop up the tail. Skelmanthorpe finally succumbed to 100ao.
Scholes' run to the Hullen Edge showpiece was launched by an emphatic ten-wicket victory at home to last season's surprise semi-finalists Meltham. They followed up that with a testing triumph again at home, this time to Jedi Championship Shelley. A Quarter Final came just as Scholes were hitting a scintillating run of form in the league and they put in a stylish performance as Honley finished 87 runs short of Scholes' 220-7 score. This set-up a mouthwatering Semi-Final away at much-fancied Hoylandswaine; the Premiership leaders.
The visitors already had the oneupmanship of winning once in the league back in May, so when Hoylandswaine won the toss and invited Scholes to bat first, it quickly looked like a decision that may cost the high-flying Premiership leaders. A fine opening knock from West Indian International Devon Smith (45) set the tone for the early afternoon, but Scholes' innings was given genuine impetus by a polished century by Joe Carter (120); the kiwi returning to the scene of many successes as a Byrom Shield winner with Scholes in 2015. His innings, which contained 11 fours and 7 sixes, put down an ideal platform and even though Hoylandswaine's bowlers restricted well late in the innings, the visitors were given a strong 311-8 to defend. There's very few top five that have quite the all-round potency as Hoylandswaine but good opening spells of intent by Devon Smith (3-23) and Josh Brook (2-35) put pressure on their hosts from the start. Scholes took their catches superbly to remove all the upper order without any of them damaging the scoreboard and the sting was well and truly withdrawn after spin bowler Tom Chadwick trapped Joice. Josh Brook went on to remove two from the middle order as Hoylandswaine combusted spectacularly from a fierce Scholes bowling display leaving Devon Smith to smartly mop up the tail.
The final takes place at Elland cricket club on Sunday, August 6th.