By Jamie Harrison

Chris Dennison sparked Armitage Bridge’s season into life as his influence scuppered Honley’s unblemished record on an afternoon which saw three teams claim their first victories of the season.

It perhaps illustrates how competitive the top division will be when after only three matches, every team – bar two – have enjoyed at least one success and suffered at least one defeat.

Honley’s perfect start to the season abruptly hit the buffers at Armitage Bridge, who were inspired by Chris Dennison’s audacious performance. His 53 was neatly complemented by essential contributions from a top three of captain Jaycob Curtling (41), Alex Blagborough (35) and Saqib Matlub (44).

Sam Denton took four wickets, accounting for the wicket of Dennison but the hosts’ 226-8 proved to be a tall order with Honley’s reply summed up by the disastrous early run-out of new man, Lewis Evans.

Jack Hinchliffe (4-44) was a constant menace to the visitors but the key wickets of Timmy Taylor and Eddie Wilson by Dennison (2-40) before they had a chance to cash in left Honley’s game plan in tatters. Denton’s 46no restored a little pride for Honley but this was certainly Armitage Bridge’s day.

Matty Weston demonstrated his prowess with the ball to claim a superb six-wicket haul as Barkisland celebrated their first win of the season over Moorlands.

Gharib Nawaz hit 65 in his second match for the visitors but the first innings was dominated by right arm off-spinner Weston (6-44) who restricted Moorlands to 190. The Yorkshire Academy prospect wasn’t at his fluent best with the bat meanwhile, but Luke Bridge’s crucial 50, backed up by a meticulous 29 from 100 balls by Saliq Rasheed, got Barkisland home.

Slow bowlers Shoukat Ali (3-24) and Siraj Sajid (2-57) were just as dogged with the ball for Moorlands, but it was ultimately Barkisland’s day as they reached their target for the loss of seven wickets in the final over.

Thongsbridge edged out Shepley in a high-scoring Miry Lane thriller, made possibly only by the domination with the bat by Kai Greig. The talented South African racked up a brilliant century by scoring 126 from 103 deliveries which contained 12 fours and six sixes.

Ben Raven-Hill (54) set the tone earlier as Thongsbridge made 277-4 batting first. Shepley’s run chase was dependent on a solid start, demonstrated by openers Dan Wood (65) and Tom Chadwick (61) putting on 112 for the first wicket.

At 152-1, Shepley looked to be favourites until the hosts’ UK passport-holding Australian, Keiran Abrams, emphatically announced his arrival at the club. The Perth-based right arm off spinner scythed through Shepley, taking 7-57. Will Mott (43no) still harboured hopes of the win but the visitors were eventually snuffed out on 266-9.

Jed Wiggins landed a blow on Golcar as Almondbury Wesleyans registered a second precious victory of the season at Swallow Lane. The Kiwi all-rounder claimed 4-46 to restrict the home side to a target of 166ao, boosted somewhat by Jay Cyrus’ rearguard 44. That total was well within range but Wesleyans still needed to dig deep against tenacious bowling led again by Cyrus.

The visitors were reduced to 46-4 but a solid partnership by Matt Henshaw (27) and Will Binns (30) pivoted control of the match. Dan Moorhouse (27) and skipper Bryn Jenkins (16) saw home the winning reply of 170-8, reached with four overs left.

Champions Hoylandswaine again conveyed their title-winning credentials in the face of a determined performance by Broad Oak. The visitors were reduced to 111-8 thanks to inputs by Harvey Anderson (4-48) and Fletcher Coutts (3-39, which included a hat-trick), but opening bat Asif Iqbal’s painstaking 85no from a mammoth 166 balls would eventually be the difference.

Hoylandswaine successfully defended their 182-9 first innings score by eliminating Oak’s danger men in the early exchanges of the second innings. Former Pakistan test player Junaid Khan (6-36) was in imperious form as he and Muhammad Azharullah (3-35) dismantled the hosts. Oak precariously rebuilt from 26-6 with Coutts (32) and Anderson (18) but Hoylandswaine still ran out comfortable victors by 43 runs.

A sublime century by Skelmanthorpe’s Jack Newby denied Delph & Dobcross to leave them as the only Premiership team yet to score a win.

Left-hander Newby (117) and Paul Cummins (56) produced a masterclass in pursuing a daunting first innings total after Delph had earlier put on 278-8.

Mosun Hussain (81) and Harry Partington (45) carefully laid down Delph’s foundations which allowed Adnan Ghani to launch a ferocious attack with the bat, bludgeoning 70 runs from just 28 balls. But Newby and Cummins put on 152 for the first wicket in reply which took the fizz out of Delph’s bowling.

A brisk 30 by Joe Sykes added impetus for Shat, who despite the fleeting concern of Ghani – who claimed two wickets in two balls – ran out worthy winners by reaching 279-4 with four overs left.

Scholes’ impeccable start to the season was kiboshed at Riley Lane as Kirkburton bounced back from their loss at Honley with a hard-fought 18-run win.

The 2021 leading run-machine Roscoe Tahttil made 60 on top of opener Aaron Joby’s 41 as Kirkburton aimed to post an imposing total. 107-2 soon became 115-5 but Craig Fletcher’s salient 64 proved to be the difference in the end despite Jack Shelley taking 5-87 for the visitors.

Scholes’ reply was hampered by losing two wickets in the first over to Aaron Moore, however Yorkshire’s James Wharton, making his first start of the season, was a more stubborn presence to shift. He made 66 but they perhaps may reflect on his run out becoming the turning point of the match.

Jack Byrne’s three wickets inflicted lasting damage upon Scholes’ middle order as they finished short on 223ao with five balls remaining.