Conference leaders Thurstonland were the first team to crack open the celebrations after their win at home to Upperthong handed them their maiden ever promotion in their five year Huddersfield League history. The brawl at the bottom of the Premiership took on a new dimension when Thongsbridge turned around a wretched run of form with a stellar bowling performance away at Armitage Bridge. Barkisland, Delph & Dobcross and Broad Oak also sneaked successes but time is fast running out for Kirkburton whose spirited performance at champions elect Hoylandswaine wasn’t enough to lift them out of the drop zone. Holmfirth scotched any suggestions that mid-table safety in the Championship may see them switch off after they downed high-fliers Rastrick which ensures the fight for promotion will certainly go down to the final day. Almondbury are potentially just one win away from executing one of the most dramatic escapes ever seen when they shocked promotion-chasing Slaithwaite.
A miserable recent run of form that immediately threatened Thongsbridge’s Premiership status was halted in dramatic fashion against local rivals Armitage Bridge who themselves have to contend with a batting crisis. With the ball, Andrew Gledhill’s side are a match for most teams, particularly at home, and they illustrated it perfectly with an euthanizing display to rock the visitors who made 144ao. Daniel Moorhouse (5-34) harassed Thongsbridge with a fine five-wicket haul and the outcome may have been worse for Ben Raven-Hill’s side had it not been for a patient defence from Haydn Slodecki (52). However, Armitage Bridge’s woes have manifested itself with bat in hand and only two men could force their way into double figures in a dominant reply with the ball by Thongsbridge. Experienced opening bowler Zafar Iqbal (5-26) showed guile and was well supported by Tom Raven-Hill (3-20) as the hosts were simply blown away. Even consolatary batting points were out of reach as they meekly folded to 59ao in a one-sided reply.
Runs aren’t the issue for Almondbury Wesleyans after three of their players earned half-century collections yet couldn’t quite pull off an epic chase against second-placed Moorlands at home. The visitors put up a daunting 251-6 total in a match reduced by ten overs per side with opener Shoukat Ali (74) adding another memorable innings to his debut season with the club. Siraj Sajid (52) hit a half-century and down the order, Australian overseas Jason Grosvenor (59) also got a chance to liberate more loose change amongst the spectators. To their credit, Wesleyans went toe-to-toe against their more illustrious adversaries with captain Will Binns (64) and Chris Stott (51) building a decent foundation. Overseas Freddie Walker (52) enjoying his second successful season with Wesleyans, started to take the game to the visitors but the introduction of Sajid (4-13) with the ball eliminated the home side’s hopes of pulling off a remarkable win. Wesleyans were eventually restricted to 233-8 but gratefully collected two points to keep them in the survival fight.
Kirkburton remained in the bottom two but their fighting spirit burned strongly in a narrow defeat away to Hoylandswaine who now require just one more victory for a third successive Byrom Shield. Iftikhar Naseer (50) hit his second successive half-century with Chris Holliday (55) bagging his fifth fifty in another high-scoring season. Kirkburton’s bowlers struck back to limit the hosts with Alex Scholefield (3-35) and Andrew Smith (3-52) sharing six wickets as Hoylandswaine made 200-8 in 30 overs. Without a professional of the calibre of Roscoe Tahttil, Kirkburton’s survival hopes may have been all but extinguished by now but with him lies hope. For a short period the game hung in the balance as Tahttil (64) kept ‘Burton in the match with an impressive display, despite Usman Arshad’s (4-50) early blows. Adnan Ghani (2-48) made the breakthrough by bowling the Sri-Lankan which opened the door to Waqas Maqsood (3-37) to carve into the lower order. Kirkburton rescued a second precious batting point by reaching 181-9 from their 30 overs but remain in the relegation zone with just three matches left to play.
Delph & Dobcross picked up their third successive win away at already-doomed Shelley but were given a fright by Martin Sykes. Pushed up to open the batting, the intriguing experiment got off to a flyer as Sykes (35) tucked into both Delph opening bowlers in a scintillating knock off 15 balls. Muhammad Shakir (4-59) removed the dangerous opener with a perfectly timed delivery to thrust their hosts onto the back foot. The former Hoylandswaine man then took control with Wasim Qasim (2-19) taking advantage of relegated Shelley’s insecurities as they were dismissed for 115. Delph overseas Rehan Afridi (32) got his side’s reply off to a breezy start but they were reliant on another fluid performance from Mosun Hussain (47no) who anchored the reply after losing skipper Alex Peters (21). Delph wrapped up a vital win on 116-4 but with most rivals collecting wins and bonus points, their progress was tempered and leaves them requiring at least another win to secure safety.
Steve Whitwam may have eclipsed Sachin Jayawardena in the batting stakes but it wasn’t enough for Golcar as Barkisland chalked up another edgy success to distance themselves from the drop. In a shortened 29 over match, Jayawardena (68) dug in opening the batting to help his side post a decent 162-8 first innings total with Jake Finch (27) also contributing. Golcar spinner Jack McNamara (4-44) made the biggest impact with the ball on a largely subdued afternoon for the visitors. Whitwam is honing in Lee Baxter’s record as the highest scoring Huddersfield League batsman and with Baxter still playing occasionally, he may have to wait a little longer. Here, he appeared on course to help his side match their opponents in a well-calculated chase but the T20 Trophy winners became unstuck when they lost their talisman, Whitwam (83) with just ten more runs to win. Barkisland then tightened up their bowling in a nervy final over and held Golcar off by 4 runs on 158-5.
Huddersfield League record holder Lee Baxter (Broad Oak) rolled back the years with an important 37 runs as his club emerged winners over Honley to distance themselves from relegation.
Broad Oak eased past Honley for a welcome win to push them up an ever-changing Premiership table. Oak put in a fine team display with near enough the entire eleven contributing in some way. Dan Taylor (3-41) led the bowling but Kyran Dill (2-34) and John Keeling (2-42) backed up well as Honley laboured to 155ao with Mel Benito (35) scoring the most for the visitors. Being able to recall the Huddersfield League’s leading batsman of all time in Lee Baxter is a boost in itself and he helped get the hosts off to a solid start in an opening partnership with the equally seasoned John Greaves (15). Baxter (37) showed his class to top score with Harvey Booth (23) and Dan Rushworth (23) also adding key inputs. Oak skipper Jack Hargreaves (25no) held firm to see his side over the line on 156-6 off 29 overs.
Shepley seam bowlers Nasir Jamal and Danny Glover helped Shepley to a dominant triumph at Chapelgate as Scholes’ season freewheels to a close. Jamal (3-23) and Glover (3-25) were in dominant mood for the visitors to restrict the home side to 109-8 in a match that was reduced to 33 overs. Shepley opening batsman Dan Wood (54) made his fourth half-century of the season as they romped to victory inside 17 overs with Hasnat Yousaf (32no) offering good support.
The self-destruct button was firmly pressed at Rastrick as they let slip a glorious opportunity to virtually seal promotion at home to mid-table Holmfirth. An expert bowling performance saw wickets shared amongst four visiting players with Max Gummerson (3-24) and Anas Mahmood (3-22) main beneficiaries over a ponderous home batting display. Tom Barrett (25) clawed something together to bowl at after the entire top five misfired in Rastrick’s 119ao total. Holmfirth proved there were few demons in the pitch as they waltzed to a nine-wicket win. Gummerson (46no) and Seb Allen (45no) inflicted Rastrick’s second home defeat all season as they replied with 125-1 in 22 overs.
Faisal Usman was again the match-winner for Almondbury who looked dead and buried at the bottom of the Championship a month ago. Usman (5-16) condemned visiting Slaithwaite to a comprehensive defeat as they were dismissed for a paltry 66 to drop out of the promotion places just a week after they entered them. An early wobble in the reply was shrugged off as they won with 67-5 batting second in 29 overs. Another win next week coupled with a defeat for their rivals Lepton Highlanders would seal a miraculous escape with one match to play.
Former Lancashire batsman Tim Orrell scored a century to put Mirfield Parish Cavaliers two wins from an instant return to the Premiership.
The afternoon’s highest score was assembled by Mirfield Parish Cavaliers at home to Denby as they barged their way into a promotion spot at Slaithwaite’s expense. A marvellous century off 83 balls from Tim Orrell (126) containing 18 fours and 6 sixes set the tone at their affectionately known “pig-pen” as Parish made an imposing 300-9 score. Dan Hope (41) added runs towards the end with Mike Kitson (4-56) faring best from the nullified Denby bowlers. Conversely, the visitors were then bowled out for the lowest score of the day after they were dismissed for 45 in reply. Only Will Mott (20) got into double figures as Denby lost their last eight wickets for just 11 runs. Nazar Hussain (5-13) enjoyed a five-wicket haul with Tom Fretwell (3-28) almost matching him for potency. An instant return to the Premiership is entirely in Parish’s hands as they lead third-placed Slaithwaite by two points.
Rohan Randhawa (Elland) clinically turned the screw as Lepton Highlanders were defeated and fell into one of the relegation places.
Josh Ramdoo’s classy innings consigned Lepton Highlanders to despair as their two season stint in the Championship threatens to come to an end. Elland overseas Ramdoo (91no) provided steel to his side’s first innings score of 219-6 in a 40 over match in an appearance that hailed 6 fours and 4 sixes. The evergreen Daniel Mulhall (64) gave his side hope of chasing the formidable total but when he was removed by Ramdoo, the Lepton reply ran out of legs. Rohan Randhawa (3-53) put the squeeze on at a vital time which enabled Elland to run out comfortable victors as Lepton were restricted to 185-7.
Skelmanthorpe sit bottom of the table with their hopes hanging by a thread but they were given the slenderest of lifelines by a stellar batting performance by Anwar Haq which was enough for a win away at Lascelles Hall. George Somerville (84no) had appeared to hand the hosts the initiative as they put up 212-6 in their 40 overs with six wickets shared equally between Adam Rammell (3-56) and Haq (3-56). Blair Buchanan (42) and Joe Sykes (35) put down an ideal platform for Haq (81no). Despite a slight hiccup where Skelmanthorpe slid from 132-2 to 146-5, Haq calmly guided his team to 217-5 in 38 overs. The victory ensures they carry on the fight to another day but they need two wins in their final two matches along with results to fall in their favour.
Promotion seems a distant proposition now for Marsden after they were defeated at home to Clayton West via the rain rule. Matty Butters (75) impressed with the bat in Marsden’s 178ao total with three wickets each for Daniel Wood (3-69) and Sam Tyas (3-45). With the target revised to 158, Clayton West were hampered after losing both openers cheaply to the bowling of Alex Lategan (3-36) but they rallied well after that. Tom Barber (42) restored momentum and with him out, Alex Clegg (78no) took control of the match as the visitors replied with 159-7 in 27 overs.
Cedar Court Conference
It’s been five modest years at Thurstonland since they joined the Huddersfield Cricket League but the well-run humble club successfully negotiated their final hurdle by securing promotion to next season’s Championship. In a victory that epitomised so many this term, they defended another low total to keep visiting Upperthong at bay. An unbeaten 33-run last wicket partnership between Josh Booth (23) and Jordan Thackray (13) was all that separated the two sides as the hosts hiccupped their way to 132-9 in 37 overs batting first. The visitors were in total control following up reaching 110-3 but somehow Thurstonland found the extra gear somewhere in their depths to unsettle their opponents. Opening bowler Thackray (6-42) hit a mesmerising purple patch to take three rapid wickets and throw open the contest. After a couple more wickets fell, Thackray (6-42) helped snuff out any remaining threat as Upperthong were stopped 9 runs short on 123-9.
In second place, Hoylandswaine 2XI impressively claimed their eleventh win in their maiden season at 1XI level thanks to a solid all-round performance by Darren Lockwood (52 & 3-20). A half-century in the first innings away at Denby Dale helped set a lofty 200-9 first innings score with 15 overs lost to the morning’s showers. He then led his team’s wicket-taking with three scalps as Denby Dale succumbed to 110ao.
Meltham lead a three-team pack behind the top two after three wickets from Rizwan Malik (3-32) pushed aside their 9-man T20 Shield Final opponents Linthwaite, dismissing them for a paltry 62. Meltham lost four wickets in the second innings as they made 67-4 with Khuram Sajjad (19no) top scoring. Hall Bower had two half centuries in their ranks but it wasn’t enough to claim a win at home to fourth placed Emley Clarence. Faisar Siddiq (68) and Dan Robinson (52no) shared a 114-run partnership as 149-4 was scored first in 35 overs. Emley replied with 154-7 in 25 overs with Adam Taylor (78) offering up a key contribution.
Elsewhere, Mirfield overcame Birkby Rose Hill in a 30-over match. West Indian professional Deron Greaves (4-25) was on point as Birkby were restricted to 116-9 but Mirfield were made to work hard for their win with the hosts taking down seven batsmen as the visitors got to 117-7 in reply. Ashley Littlewood (91) put together a match-winning knock for Cumberworth as they easily got past visiting Kirkheaton. The home side made 194-7 in 35 overs but Josh Kilner (3-18) ensured Kirkheaton wouldn’t be equipped to challenge that as he extracted the top three batsmen on the way to the visitor’s eventual destruction at 119ao.