Scholes Warmed By Smith's Pyrotechnics
Devon Smith (Scholes) brutally displayed his international pedigree as the West Indies man piled on 166no as Scholes warmed up nicely ahead of their upcoming Sykes Cup Final against Broad Oak.
Picture courtesy of The Daily Mail
Hoylandswaine kept serenely on course in their charge towards the Drakes Premiership title with another routine win. Scholes warmed up for their Sykes Cup Final clash with a perfectly measured run chase whereas fellow finalists Broad Oak slumped to defeat. Elsewhere Skelmanthorpe climbed out of the relegation zone by claiming victory in a 'must win' game and Thongsbridge found themselves sucked into trouble with a defeat.
In the Jedi Championship, Mirfield Parish Cavaliers slip out of the top two for the first time this season as Shelley benefit. Rastrick remain strong favourites by registering another win and at the bottom Meltham gave themselves a shot in the arm with a vital win by the narrowest of margins as Linthwaite replace them in the bottom two. Lepton Highlanders' third straight defeat in the Cedar Court Conference was Hall Bower's gain as they narrowed the gap to two points with Marsden coming up on the rails strongly.
The heat on battle at the bottom has turned up another notch as Thongsbridge have found themselves the latest club taking serious glances over their shoulder and their cause wasn't helped with a defeat at home to in-form Shepley. Thongsbridge carved out a competitive score of 185-8 batting first with Richard Marshall's 92 the stand-out contribution for Richard Wagstaff's under-pressure side. Shepley's response was powerful and with opener Dan Wood (49) laying down a good base, overseas professional Brenton Thompson (81no) made sure the visitors took with them 6 points leaving Thongsbridge frustrated with no bonus points, and with a tough trip away to Delph next gameweek, Thongsbridge have a tough job on their hands to avoid getting pulled further into danger.
Armitage Bridge aren't out of the woods either as they frittered away a good start at home to Delph. Batting first, Dan Moorhouse's outfit failed to pace their innings well by first racing to 104-4 after 15 overs but then subsided to 161 all out off 40 overs. Opening bat Matthew West (63) went from aggressor to shepherd as he watched many of his team mates fall victim with only Robin Broom (30) hanging around for any length of time. Delph's Shakir Muhammad (4-35) continued his strong season with another four wicket haul. Bridge had Delph on the ropes after opening batsmen Arron Lilley (27) and Mosun Hussain (103no) made a fearsome start by reducing the visitors to 76-5. But Hussain took full responsibility and helped by a 67 partnership with Luke Hargreaves pushed Delph to victory he earned a superb century by the winning runs in the 34th over. Bridge consolidated himself with a point by picking up a sixth wicket which could yet prove crucial in the final reckoning.
Hoylandswaine's march towards the title became closer to reality with a routine sweeping aside of troubled Golcar who's miserable afternoon was summed up by them slipping into the relegation zone with six matches remaining. Only Golcar's skipper Steve Whitwam (30) returned a serious tally as Imran Arif (5-50) and Gurman Randhawa (3-24) kept total control with the ball. Hoylandswaine batsmen Max Joice (64no) and SP Singh (38no) have enjoyed a strong season together as they saw the job home in an easy win for Ryan Robinson's top-placed men.
Scholes go in to the Sykes Cup final in impervious form as they chased down a daunting Honley score of 272-8. Will Fraine (86) continued his splendid season and a half-century from minor counties player Richard Porter (63) asked Scholes plenty of questions but they reinforced their domination in the second innings as a fine platform from captain James Noble (53) and West Indian Devon Smith (166no) set the tone for a remarkable win which they'll need to replicate if they're to bringing back some silverware in the Sykes Cup final.
Broad Oak may have something to say about Scholes' Sykes Cup ambitions but Cawthorne had too much for the visitors in a one-sided seven wicket win. Liam Wiles (77) entertaining innings was the catalyst for a welcome win as Cawthorne all but assured their Premieship safety for another season by chasing down Broad Oak's 177ao with eight overs remaining.
Skelmanthorpe grabbed a lifeline with both hands by comprehensively beating bottom club Barkisland, who's paper thin hopes of staying up took another brutal hit. They were bowled out for 164 with a solid contribution from opening bat Alex Kaye (40) and Ben Westbrook (51no) running out of willing partners as Aizaz Khan (3-21) and Abbas Ahmed (4-60) inflicting the damage. The returning Allan Greenwood (63) got them off to a good start and Mike Kitson (46) ensured they secured a vital win which keeps them out of the danger zone by a point.
Kirkburton aren't out of danger yet and a century by Cameron French (109)for Moorlands helped fourth-placed Moorlands to a triumph which keeps the threat of relegation looming over Craig Fletcher's men. Moorlands set 237-6 in their innings with Andrew Smith (4-47) adding to his five wickets the previous week. Kirkburton were gliding along nicely but Michael Padgett's (4-50) introduction put thew skids under the reply and Kirkburton collapsed to 184ao. Siraj Sajid (73) was the top scorer for 'Burton.
Mirfield Parish Cavaliers hopes of back-to-back promotions were delivered a crushing blow as Clayton West gained quick revenge for their defeat in the previous Sunday's T20 Shield final. Home team Parish were bowled out for exactly 200, Nadim Hussain (71) was the top scorer but opening bowling pair Kyle Hitchman (4-50) and Craig Glover (4-51) both created havoc with the ball. Opener David Swan (64) serenely set a firm course and Tom Barber (48no) shaved his way to a superb win for Hitchman's Clayton West side that has improved as the season wore on in stark contrast to Mirfield Parish Cavaliers.
Shelley were the big benefactors of Parish's misfortune as they sized the chance of moving into second place with a rout of Almondbury Wesleyans. All-rounder Nick Sharp (5-49) showed his qualities by taking a five-fer as Wesleyans were skittled for 166 batting first. Two unbeaten half centuries from Joe Sykes (57no) and Yousaf Hasnat (51no) made sure of an important six points as Shelley look well-placed to bounce back from last season's disappointing relegation.
Elland are another team that are finding their groove at the end of the season but it may be too late for the Hullen Edge team to catch the top two. They piled on the runs at home to struggling Linthwaite as former Skelmanthorpe batsman Liam Fletcher (155) hammered a huge score to help Elland set a daunting 280-3. Linthwiate had a century of their own in reply as the well-travelled Qaiser Rashid (118no) showed his proficiency but no-one was able to stay around long enough to challenge the Elland total. Linthwaite eventually subsiding to 231-9 but they welcomed a point for their batting performance despite slipping into the relegation zone in the process.
Meltham fought tooth and nail to earn a win which kept opponents Holmfirth in a spot of bother. They bowled out Holmfirth for 162 with the help of a man of the match performance from Mudaser Butt who took 4-35 with the ball. In reply Meltham had to fight all the way after Max Gummerson (7-36) kept on the pressure with his bowling but Butt's 62 proved crucial as Meltham reached the target with nine wickets down. Holmfirth gained two useful points in their battle against the drop.
Rastrick completed an easy win at home to Lascelles Hall by bowling out the visitors. Details were few on the ground at time of writing as Rastrick reached the low target for the loss off 3 wickets and increase their lead at the top to ten points.
Slaithwaite added to Kirkheaton's woes and a 12-point gap to safety looks a big ask for the side propping up the table. They were bowled out for 136 with only Tom Gledhill (41) offering resistance as wickets were shared all around for Slaithwaite. A pair of Chris's saw the job home as Shannon (40no) and Coleman (40no) both carried their bats in an emphatic win.
Cedar Court Conference
Lepton Highlanders are another club feeling the heat as they crashed to their third successive defeat and allowed Hall Bower to move within two points of them at the top. Thurstonland helped themselves to 216-8 from their innings and Lepton fell to 165ao in reply.
Hall Bower put Emley Clarence to the sword to keep up their fine run whereas Marsden have kept things interesting at the top by defeating Denby by 61 runs. Elsewhere Cumberworth kept it congested at the top of the table with a well-earned win away at Denby Dale. Bottom side Birkby Rose Hill completed a morale-boosting victory at home to Mirfield and Upperthong came out on top in a low-scoring match at home to Almondbury.