By Jamie Harrison, media secretary, Huddersfield Cricket League

Ben Balmforth’s four-wicket haul was the difference as the clubs with the only 100% records – Thongsbridge and Armitage Bridge – went head-to-head in Sunday’s Premiership fixtures.

The first round of Sunday fixtures saw Thongsbridge become the first clear leaders of the Premiership when they came out on top in the early season showdown.

The top flight’s newest outfits endured more heartache as Simon Kelly and Owen Kenworthy orchestrated Slaithwaite’s downfall and Scholes chalked up their first win of the season at home to Mirfield Parish Cavaliers. 

Hoylandswaine appear to be back to their ominous best following a nine-wicket success at Kirkburton, Barkisland racked up an impressive home win versus Shepley and there were effortless walkovers for Broad Oak and Moorlands.

Thongsbridge Become Top Dogs After Balmforth Unsettles Rivals

Something had to give at Miry Lane where the only two 100% records faced off with Thongsbridge completing a routine win to pull away at the top of the table. 

Ben Balmorth’s four wickets upset the Armitage Bridge applecart with teammate Ben Raven-Hill celebrating the birth of his second child by taking 2-25, including the key scalp of captain Jaycub Curtling (29). 

The visitors attempted to rally after Saqib Matlub (43) – who’d dropped down into the lower order – got things going again. Veteran Richard Holmes (21) helped wag the tail to get Armitage Bridge to 146-9 but, in fairness, the harm had already been done. 

Raven-Hill (33) and Richard Marshall (19) put on 57 before the first wicket before Harry Franklin (70no) compiled his highest 1XI total to add to his impressive start to the season which saw Thongsbridge home comfortably on 148-2.

Kelly & Kenworthy Add To Slaithwaite’s Woes

A biggest first innings total of the season couldn’t get Slaithwaite over the line and they remain the only side not to experience a win as Honley eased to victory at Hill Top. 

There have been plenty of positives for the division’s newest side who have caused nervy moments for every team they have faced, however it’s results which Benn Thornton’s new boys desperately need. 

The top five all put decent scores on the board on the way to Slaithwaite’s considerable 212-6 total. Lewis Bradley (49no) will probably curse the 40-over format for costing him a likely fifty and Alex Walker (25no) once again chipped in for the home team’s cause.

Honley 2021 – Picture by: Sean Doyle

In Simon Kelly, Honley possess one of the Premiership’s most deadly weapons and his 62 with Owen Kenworthy (46) set the stage for Honley’s victory. 

They survived a wobble when they fell from 161-2 to 165-5 but as they have shown in their thrilling win at Moorlands a week earlier, their youngsters stepped up once again with Charlie Jakeman (17) and Isaac Eustance (28no) wrapping up a third success of the season. Honley replied with 213-6 and three overs remaining.

Barkisland Maintain Perfect Home Record After Seeing Off Shepley

The two teams who excelled in last season’s T30 competition met at Barkisland and ironically, rain reduced the fixture to just that – a 30 over affair. Shepley slumped to their fourth defeat in five competitive matches this season as both teams scored freely. 

Shepley’s top six batsmen are up there as one of the best in the league and all registered decent personal tallies. Daniel Wood (19), Tom Chadwick (28), Luke Patel (27), Greg Wood (35) and Max Joice (24) all enjoyed time at the crease along with Imran Dawood (27no) to see Shepley reach a very competitive 178-6. 

This would have been the perfect match for seamer Nasir Jamal who sat this one out and Shepley were unable to subdue Barkisland’s attacking intent. They welcomed back George Booth (4-55) who enjoyed the best return but tighter lines were needed as Barkisland pursued doggedly.

The win was built around Luke Bridge’s fine appearance scoring 72 runs off 49 balls after captain Ben Heritage (40) had started well. With Bridges out, Barkisland still required fifty more runs but George Hampshire (20), Jake Finch (16) and Jasper Male (17no) obliged with smaller contributions as the hosts nudged home on 183-6 with 11 balls remaining.

Hoylandswaine Back to Irresistible Best At Kirkburton

Sarjinder-Pal Singh built a classy century to help Hoylandswaine to their second successful win of the weekend as they disposed of Kirkburton in the clinical way which has become their hallmark. 

Jonny Butterfield’s men just about saw out their 40 overs setting 185ao but more runs were needed to stretch Swaine. 

Chavez Younes (66) made a fist of things in the middle order however visiting bowlers Adnan Ghani (2-22), Muhammad Azharullah (2-71) and Arron Lilley (2-23) had long since drawn the sting from the more proficient batsmen. Christian Jackson (3-47) brought the innings to a close before Hoylandswaine made light work of chasing Kirkburton’s total down. 

A slight adjustment to their batting order pushed up Alex Peters, a close season signing from Greenfield, to open the batting and the former Delph man thrived with 68.

It was Singh (100no) who guided home the victory in a 122-ball stay which included 12 fours. The visitors relinquished just the solitary wicket in reply on their way to 186-1.

Broad Oak Shrug Off Roebuck’s Loss To Win By Ten Wickets

The prognosis looked ominous at Broad Oak after skipper Charlie Roebuck hobbled off when his studs stuck in the turf after only three balls of their home match with Delph & Dobcross. 

Both teams were crippled with absences and Oak could ill afford to lose such a talismanic performer but surprisingly it seemed to spur them on as they trounced the visitors with an accomplished bowling performance. 

South African Alistair Snowden (4-29) extracted some menacing bounce from the wicket, unnerving Delph’s jaded young batsmen who were missing captain Xander Selby on Lancashire Academy duty. Conor Woodruff replaced the stricken Roebuck and looked to have the bit between his teeth taking three notable scalps before Dan Taylor (3-41) wrapped up the innings. 

Rizwan Ali (40) and Luke Hargreaves (17no) put on fifty runs for the final wicket which gave Delph something to bowl at but a 127ao total is always more likely to be a losing one than a winning one in any event. 

Delph’s two pace bowlers Ali and Umer Yaqoob weren’t able to produce the same results with the ball as their opposing bowlers but credit must go to opening batsmen Dominic Finn (51) and Ian Hall (59) who carefully shielded a fragile looking batting line-up excellently. 

The opening pair put on a rock-solid show, sensibly leaving balls that zipped off a length and punishing anything that landed short as Oak cruised home with 14 overs remaining on 128-0.

Fantastic Yaasar Fires Scholes To First Win Of 2021

Yaasar Imtiaz soothed Scholes’ worries with a pristine batting performance to send Mirfield Parish home pointless. 

Premiership newcomers Parish suffered a winless weekend after setting Scholes a conservative 169-9 with their two most potent batsmen Shan Devraj (32) and Nazar Hussain (30) out before they could seriously test the hosts. 

Dan Hope (36) batted well and runs elsewhere came in dribs and drabs but they badly needed an injection of runs somewhere to put the vulnerable home side under pressure. 

Scholes looked anything but frail in the reply as they welcomed new signing Ashton Blakey (59no) into the side having recovered from a hand injury which delayed his season. 

He put in a cool performance with Imtiaz (90no) on the way to a dominating 9-wicket waltz, cantering to 171-1 with 13 overs to play.

Powerful Moorlands Make Swift Work Of Golcar

Moorlands flexed their muscles as they registered their second win of the weekend and third of the season by cruelly punishing the Golcar bowlers in a 25 over match at Mirfield. 

Eddie Walmsley (50no) notched another baleful 25-ball half-century a day after a 34-ball 66 run total at Delph as the Moorlands captain enjoyed the best of weekends. But it was James Stansfield (70) who performed a crushing coup de grâce on Golcar with some lusty blows in his frantic 31-ball assault. 

The former Bradford League man crashed 6 sixes and 5 fours to set Golcar an unassailable 241-2 total. Earlier, openers James Rawlinson (43) and Shoukat Ali (47) ticked the score over with the latter man retiring hurt prior to reaching his fifty. 

Unsurprisingly Golcar were well out of the contest and they laboured to 126ao in a chastening 19 overs batting second. Steve Whitwam (28) top scored before Siraj Sajid (5-43) rifled through a beleaguered visitors for his second five-wicket haul since his 2018 move from Kirkburton.