Words by Jamie Harrison, media secretary, Huddersfield Cricket League: Pictures from Honley v Broad Oak by Sean Doyle

Eddie Wilson battered a unbeaten century against his former club as Honley secured an opening day victory over Broad Oak at Far End Lane.

The home side recovered from losing influential opener Simon Kelly after three balls to set a hefty target but Broad Oak almost matched their high-tempo hosts before slipping to an 8-run defeat. 

Wilson showed a maturity to steady the ship after Honley lost both openers. He struck 112 not out off 90 balls hitting 15 fours and hit three sixes. His innings was complemented by skipper Timmy Taylor’s 51-ball 56 in Honley’s 235-6 first innings total.

With Charlie Roebuck in their side Broad Oak are capable of anything and they ran their adversaries close in a thrilling run chase. Roebuck (61) now skipper, fell at a crucial time and his dismissal could have proved decisive.

Daniel Rushworth (31) also contributed to the cause as did Jack Hargreaves, returning after a long layoff, but Oak consoled themselves with two points as a reward for their part in an excellent opening contest.

A minute’s silence at Honley

The Huddersfield Cricket League season got off to its typical rip roaring start in the mid-April sunshine, though all matches were paused for a minute’s silence to mark the funeral of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. 

Thongsbridge pulled off a nail biting success away at Shepley in the Premiership. Moorlands rallied after being stung by a spirited Slaithwaite fightback as they registered an opening day victory at the newly-promoted side with Golcar, Kirkburton, Armitage Bridge and current champions Hoylandswaine all easing to victory. 

READ MORE: Mel Booth on the teams and players to watch in the 2021 Huddersfield Cricket League season

Thongsbridge Come Out on Top at Shepley

Tom Chadwick’s battling century wasn’t enough for Shepley as they slipped to a disappointing defeat at home.

A long 19 months have passed since the last form of competitive cricket was played but batsmen were in fine fettle as the season spectacularly fired into action at Marsh Lane as 461 runs were shared between home side Shepley and visiting Thongsbridge in 80 overs. 

The away team set the pace, anchored by a dazzling century by Ben Raven-Hill (133) over 133 balls. The opening batsman scored 10 fours and 6 sixes in his dominating performance which was supported by Harry Franklin’s 45 as Thongsbridge made 237-8. Shepley’s new signings made an impression with the ball as young Pakistan paceman Numan Akbar (5-74) and former Clayton West man Tom Barber (3-68) took all of the wickets that fell. 

A tantalizing ton from Tom Chadwick put Shepley in the contest as they seeked to chase down their opponents daunting opening day tally. Chadwick (104) kept his team in the hunt scoring 14 fours as Thongsbridge chipped away at the other end. 

Seasoned bowler Zafar Iqbal took no wickets but dried the runs up over 12 overs allowing Ben Balmforth (4-64) to make a dent in Shepley’s charge. The hosts managed 224-8 which at least secured a pair of bonus points as they ran out of steam once Chadwick was out by 13 runs.

Moorlands Emerge Victorious After Spirited Slaithwaite Revival

Siraj Sajid’s 44 pushed Moorlands to victory away at Slaithwaite

Newly promoted Slaithwaite gave lofty Moorlands a surprise at Hill Top, although they had to reorganise themselves after slumping to 58-6 under an opening bowling assault as new arrival from Shepley, Nadim Hussain (5-35) thrived in the first day conditions. 

Slaithwaite’s long-serving former skipper Alex Walker (22) used a bit of nous to try and steady the ship although the home team’s 115 didn’t look like flustering Moorlands at the break. 

The visitors have impressed with their off-season business but returning opening batsman Shoukat Ali fell on his first ball to stun the visitors. 

Slaithwaite may have scented a shock win after Moorlands slumped to 95-6 as Walker (3-50) starred with the ball however Siraj Sajid’s 44 proved decisive as the title-hopefuls eased home.

Champions Hoylandswaine Hit Their Straps At Home To Barkisland

Christian Jackson’s performance with bat and ball helped secure the win for Hoylandswaine

Barkisland laid a gauntlet down to reigning champions Hoylandswaine but the the Byrom Shield holders were well up to the task as they coasted to a five wicket win with 13 overs left to play. 

Dauntingly, the illustrious Barnsley-based team can get even better with Arron Lilley yet to come in. Barkisland’s total of 179-6 looked first to be a competitive score with two half-centuries for George Hampshire (57) and Luke Bridges (68) setting the tone.

Hoylandswaine, normally a busy club in the post season, handed debuts to five players but it was Christian Jackson (3-36) and former Northants pace bowler Muhammad Azharullah (3-48) who sullied the Calderdale side’s copybook by taking key wickets to hold up Barkisland. 

Chris Holliday (91) helped fire Swaine to their first win with a typically bullish knock in 62 balls. One debutant; Asif Iqbal (33) impressed with a calm presence although two more succumbed without registering a run; Alex Peters and Shabir Rashid. Jackson (31no) rounded off a pleasing performance personally to guide his team home on 181-5.

READ MORE: From Melbourne to Golcar – Jack McNamara’s story

Youthful Delph Kept Easily At Bay By Kirkburton

Andy Smith and Roscoe Tahttil’s hundred partnership for Kirkburton saw off Delph & Dobcross.

Delph & Dobcross fielded their youngest ever first team with an average age of 22 at home to Kirkburton with 18-year old captain Xander Selby experiencing defeat although there were positives to take from it. 

Mosun Hussain (37) looked in good nick before he was removed LBW but Xander (48) and his brother Lucas (22no) looked unflappable as they put on 56 runs to push Delph to 144-7 batting first. 

The Saddleworth side desperately craved an opening batsman with the quality of ‘Burton veteran Andrew Smith as it was his half-century in a 105-run partnership with Sri-Lankan Roscoe Tahttil (63no) that sealed the visitors’ victory. 

Smith (54no) along with two wickets from the first innings was the difference as Kirkburton replied with 145-2.

Going, going…

Perfect Start For Golcar

Golcar skipper Jack McNamara helped about bring the downfall of Scholes. It was a chastening return to cricket for Scholes as they were harried and harassed by the Golcar bowlers in their defeat at Swallow Lane. 

Former Slaithwaite man Jay Cyrus (4-33) and Golcar captain Jack McNamara (3-14) put the skids under Brad Birkhead’s visitors who need to learn how to win in the absence of their Yorkshire stars Benji Birkhead and James Wharton. 

Opener Nico Georgiou-Nicola (33) top scored in Scholes’ 112 all out as they succumbed to an energetic Golcar bowling performance. The hosts cantered to a crushing win without breaking sweat as openers James Howson (37) and the talismanic Steve Whitwam (47no) set the platform for their 115-1 reply.

READ MORE: Meet Jamie Harrison, media secretary at the Huddersfield Cricket League

Rude Awakening For Parish Away At Armitage Bridge

Armitage Bridge’s UK Passport-holding South African Josh Taylor made an impression with a five wicket haul at home to Mirfield Parish.

Mirfield Parish Cavaliers found Armitage Bridge a tough place to visit on their return to the Premiership after a humbling 9-wicket defeat. 

Shan Devraj (37) and Daniel Hope (26) couldn’t make their contributions count as Mirfield Parish, batting first, were undone by good work from debutant Josh Taylor (5-25) in the visitors’ 122ao. Parish won’t be the last side to succumb to the challenges of playing at Armitage Bridge’s fortress-like ground and will look to make their own place as difficult to take points from. 

Bridge skipper Jaycob Curtling (62no) made sure they didn’t have to work too hard to and another new signing in the form of Musa Ahmed (40no) linked up well as they completed an easy win to get off to the perfect start to the season.

See a list of full results here