By Jamie Harrison, media manager, Huddersfield Cricket League

Shoukat Ali battered a season’s best innings of 130 from just 72 balls as Moorlands kept up the pursuit of Hoylandswaine at the top.

Ali plundered 13 sixes and six fours in a big-hitting knock which left Thongsbridge reeling. Hoylandswaine show no signs of faltering, however, with Shakeel Ansar also in destructive form smashing 77 from 48 balls to defeat Broad Oak.

With the top two on form it sets up a mouth-watering Sykes Cup Final, which had to be put back a week to Sunday August 15 because of the rain-soaked conditions at Honley this weekend.

Talking of the weather Delph & Dobcross were unable to get onto the pitch on a wet afternoon in Saddleworth at home to Golcar and Scholes v Barkisland was the latest fixture to succumb to Covid-19 abandonment.

Moorlands Crush Thongsbridge To Hang Onto Leaders’ Coat tails

Shoukat Ali hammered a memorable century as Moorlands breezed past failing Thongsbridge in a 97-run victory. The visitors declared five overs early on 272-4, undoubtedly helped by Ali’s 130 from 72 balls. The opener, signed from Bradford League club Scholes in 2019, hit six fours and 13 sixes in this season-best innings as Moorlands clinically eliminated the threat of Thongsbridge’s opening bowlers.

James Rawlinson (45) was conversely far more conservative in his approach which was enhanced by captain Eddie Walmsley’s run-a-ball 37 and James Stansfield’s fluent 27. Kair Greig (43) and Harry Franklin (47) were both removed as they neared fifties and with that disappeared any hope of an unlikely victory. Nadim Hussain took five wickets and Siraj Sajid three as Moorlands ran out easy winners to maintain their fading hopes of thwarting Hoylandswaine at the top.

Shepley Make Major Step Towards Top-Flight Survival 

Losing Tom Chadwick to a lengthy lay-off from a broken foot was the latest in a litany of setbacks that has pockmarked Shepley’s season. Ten defeats this year have plunged the Premiership’s longest serving club (they were promoted in 1998) dangerously close to the relegation trapdoor but the former Scholes all-rounder produced a superb batting performance just a week after returning from a two month absence.

Chadwick’s 117-ball 79 set Shepley up for the biggest first innings total of the season at Armitage Bridge as the visitors posted an imposing 182-9 in a 40 over match. His calmness at the top of the order gave the impetus for others to build on with Tom Barber (22) one of five batsmen to add double-figure contributions.

Wickets were shared equally amongst the Bridge bowlers with Jack Hinchliffe, Jamie Hopper and Musa Ahmed all picking up a pair of victims. However the hosts’ reply got off to a flyer with Jaycob Curtling (58) posting another half-century in a productive year and his opening partner Joshua Taylor weighed in with 46 as the home side motored along to 96-0. Josh Hoyle (2-33) played a pivotal role following his own return from a minor injury as the spinner continued to impress allowing Shepley to tighten the noose during Armitage Bridge’s chase.

Andy Gledhill (22no) threatened to tilt the balance his sides way in tense end game but Nasir Jamal and George Booth bowled tightly in the final two overs to leave the hosts short on 170-7.

Huddersfield Cricket League action by: Sean Doyle

Time Running Out For Parish After Honley Loss 

Mirfield Parish Cavaliers face an uphill battle following their latest defeat at home to bullish Honley in a 25-over thrash. With just six matches remaining and the gap extending to ten points, Parish can ill-afford any more slip ups in their quest to avoid an instant return to the Championship.

Visiting Honley launched an assault on the home bowlers with the prolific Simon Kelly slamming 44 runs in 26 balls in contrast to the conventional approach by fellow opener Lewis Kenworthy (41). Jamie Hardcastle (4-38) dragged his side into it by claiming Timmy Taylor and Eddie Wilson as two of his victims but the efforts of long-serving Honley servant Danny Howard gave Parish a mountain to climb as he pulverised five sixes on his way to 49no.

In reply to the visitors 181-6, Nick Sharp (42) once again starred, albeit in vain. Parish wickets fell too frequently to challenge an imposing run-chase although Dave Blakeley’s 33 kept alive a glimmer of hope. In addition to Sam Denton’s 3-40, Kenworthy’s spin helped gain two wickets as Parish’s tail ran out of momentum but secured a point on 153-9.

Ansar Thrives As Hoylandswaine Chop Down Oak

Shakeel Ansar produced a destructive performance to subdue Broad Oak as Hoylandswaine continued their march towards the Byrom Shield title. The international wicket keeper blasted 10 fours on his way to a 48-ball 77 until caught by Dom Finn. SP Singh (25) and Asif Iqbal (36) both featured with breezy contributions to thrust Swaine to an unassailable 170-4 in this 20 over match.

Oak restored some pride with a respectable stab at the overbearing total. Opener Sean Mee top scored with 27 with good support from Alex Slack (24) and Daniel Rushworth (25) but the innings lacked the upsurge that Hoylandswaine demonstrated in the final half. Adnan Ghani, Max Morley and Singh all claimed two wickets each as Oak finished considerably short on 130-7.

Keeling’s Joy Of Six Scuppers Ailing Slaithwaite

John Keeling enjoyed another lethal performance with the ball to hammer the latest nail into Slaithwaite’s Premiership survival hopes. The former Broad Oak right arm spinner is finding his best form in the twilight of the season as he took 6-28 to derail visiting Slaithwaite.

Brett Thornton’s men who won the reverse fixture in June were distinctly off the pace as they were dismissed for 102. Opener Javaid Ahmad helped himself to 50no as Kirkburton made light work of the reply with fellow opener, homegrown Matt Crookes (46no) as the hosts cantered home on 105-0. Slaithwaite remain marooned at the bottom, 17 points from safety.