Sunday, September 3, 2017

With two matches to play Triangle threw the Premier Division title chase wide open with a shock success at Booth to leave the champions only 4 points ahead of Jer Lane, who won at Thornton, Booth batted first and its 265-7 score, with Rob Laycock (92) and Jon Midgley (76) featuring, looked challenging. However Triangle stepped up to the plate and with contributions from Adam Stocks (88) and Adam Fryer (64) set the stall for Joshua Graham and Kurtis Whippey to add a 55-run unbeaten partnership to win by five wickets. Jer Lane will have been boosted by the news from Broad Field Park and further capitalised by taking maximum points in a 33-run victory that squashed Thornton’s slim hopes for the title. The home team’s Joshua Hutchinson did all he could to thwart Jer Lane, with 101 runs and 4-85, but he was short of assistance with both bat and ball and a trio of Lane half-centuries ensured the visitors stayed in the race. There was a high-scoring affair at Copley where visitor’s Sowerby St Peter’s pulled off a two-wicket win in a mid-table derby, despite Oliver Thorpe’s contribution of 112 not out. St Peter’s in reply literally batted down the order with No 10 batsman Matthew Hoyle (43 not out), together with Jack Leonard (36 not out), steering the visitors past a target of 263 runs, after the scoreboard had read 203-8 with earlier knocks from Aiden Green (69) and Ben Watkins (41). Warley also flourished, batting first in the sunshine at Northowram HT, rattling up a score of 322-5 with Chris Marsh (90), Matthew Whitworth (71) and Tyrone Schiller (70 not out) all hitting half-centuries. Hedge Top had clearly wilted in that sunshine and not even the tea ladies could produce sustenance enough to prevent a second innings score of 85 all out, as Luke Duckett took 5-43. Despite Hedge Top losing it is Queensbury that will finish as wooden spoonists making a swift return to the First Division. It’s loss at Mytholmroyd confirmed its fate, despite one of its better batting performances of the season in achieving 241 all out, skipper Phil Sharples (63) finding his bat, rather than a club, for the first time. The home team however made light work of the runs required winning by eight wickets as Thomas Conway hit 107 not out ,ably supported by Wajid Ali (59 not out) and Jack Earle (50). There was an unusual finish at SBCI where, after Simon Wood’s 60 helped to set Oxenhope 240 to win, the Keighley team declared its innings at 181-7 after 40.3 overs, gifting SBCI maximum points. No doubt the League Executive will be asking questions about this, not least with the Spirit of Cricket in mind.

Southowram is just one match and five points off winning promotion from the First Division, due the infamous Taylor fixture crystal ball throwing up a mouth-watering final week match between the other two promotion contenders Bridgeholme and Cullingworth at Eastwood, Sowerby Bridge blew its chance of a quick return to the top division by losing at the latter venue. The Rams beat Great Horton PC by 55 runs at Ashday Lane, as Dean Crossley hit an impressive 120 runs with Ashley Johnson assisting with his 56, Tom Belfield then chipping in with 5-55. Bridgeholme won the vital match in the division chasing a modest 211-7, by the standards of its small ground, set by Sowerby Bridge who lost its top three batsmen for a meagre four runs but James Holdsworth (80) and Sam Mellor (56 not out) pulled the innings together. It was always going to be a tight finish however and so it proved. The home team provided a solid team batting performance, led by its top five in the order, which was finished off, just, with the last ball of the day by Yasir Mahmood (54 not out) to give it a vital 11 points. Rivals Cullingworth had it much easier at home to Blackley with batsman-of-the-year Ben Birkill (137) hitting his highest score of the season, to pass the 1,200 runs mark, as Steve Welch (69) kept him company in a stand worth 157 runs. The visitors started well, chasing 284, but somehow then contrived to lose seven wickets for 37 runs to leave Macaulay Shiel (67 not out) and No 10 batsman James O’connell (48) to add some respectability to the score, Phil Poole being the scourge of Blackley taking 6-23. The basement battle in the division proved to be the tightest match of the season for both sides as relegated Stones came within a whisker, six runs actually, of recording its first maximum of the season against visiting Shelf. The visitors were thankful for match-winning performances from Sadiq Ali (95) and Robert Ramsden (7-46) as it claimed its second maximum of the season.

In the Second Division Clayton ended the unbeaten 19-match run of champions Illingworth St Mary’s with Mitesh Mistry the destroyer. Clayton batted first and its 209 all out, with Joseph Brown (64) and Tim Evans (47) top-scoring, nevertheless looked well within reach. St Mary’s was never in the hunt, as Mistry got busy with two early wickets and finished with 7-40, taking his season’s tally to 65 wickets. The win just kept it in the second place race, some 10 points behind Bradshaw, who remain favourites after been gifted maximum points in its match against an absent Birchencliffe. Greetland’s long-serving Council representative, Les Forester, must have dived for his club history books as his beloved team hit 300 runs for the first time in many years at Leymoor. It’s eighth win in a resurgence season saw Istiraj Khan (108), Paul Quarmby (63) and Damien Reynolds (57) make significant contributions and, despite an excellent 127 from its host’s Jacob Giles, a 24-run was achieved. There was a curious match at Mount, versus Old Town, where the top four batsmen from both teams contributed only a cumulative 50 runs. Mount eventually managed to set a target of 145 for the Hebden Bridge team and it duly obliged after a sticky start, at one stage 58-5, but the rally came from Adil Shah (41 not out) and Abdul Baig (32 not out) in a winning stand of 51 runs. Low Moor HT recorded its fourth maximum of the season at a surprisingly out of sorts Outlane, who could only muster 166 al out, of which the major contributor was opener Alan Davies with 82 runs, five Moor bowlers taking wickets. Not to be outdone in reply Adam Forbes (49) and James Overend, batting at No4, scored 90 not out, the latter unlucky in so much as the winning runs came in sight of his century. Daniel Barron (52 not out) guided Luddendenfoot to a four-wicket win at Upper Hopton for whom Steven Adams top-scored with 57 runs.