By Jamie Harrison, media manager, Huddersfield Cricket League

Jaycub Curtling played another captain’s innings with a century to put Armitage Bridge top of the table with victory over Broad Oak.

Mosun Hussain’s second consecutive century wasn’t quite enough for Delph as they fell agonisingly short in a brilliant chase set by visiting Moorlands. 

Slaithwaite were also left cursing their luck away at Shepley as they almost pulled off an unlikely victory in another of the day’s nip and tuck matches.

Hoylandswaine roared back from last week’s surprising defeat to dispatch Honley while Thongsbridge are up there with Armitage Bridge after they also made it three out of three so far this season.

Delph Nearly Pull Off Extraordinary Run-Chase

It was a case of so near, yet so far for Delph & Dobcross who came within a whisker of completing a breathtaking run-chase at home to Moorlands. The Mirfield side had to reach deep to deny a rampant second innings chase that went to the penultimate ball. It would have been a bitter pill for Moorlands had they not returned down the M62 with six points after they controlled much of the game with a dominating first innings batting display. 

Shoukat Ali (77) returned to the superb form which saw him top the Premiership batting table in 2019 with a brilliant innings, allowing room for others to enjoy freedom to inflict damage on the Delph bowlers. 

Siraj Sajid (40) punished the side who gave him his top-flight break in 2014 before skipper Eddie Walmsley lit up proceedings with 65 runs in only 35 balls including big maximums that cleared the adjacent A62. 

The home side would haemorrhage 64 runs in the final four overs on route to the visitors’ 255-5 first innings total. That would ultimately prove costly. Two seasons ago, Delph rose from the dead to snatch a last-ball victory at home to Moorlands and the same events threatened to haunt them once again with Xander Selby’s side almost pulling off a similar coup. 

Sajid (3-53) and Andrew Walker (2-35) bowled impeccably tight to thrust Delph some distance behind the required run-rate which at one point seeped to around 14 runs an over. Delph’s talisman, Mosun Hussain (109) batted tremendously for back-to-back centuries. 

He patiently bided his time, pouncing aggressively on any ball pitched slightly short. He and debutant Rizwan Ali (37) took the game to their opponents before both were out caught with 33 runs still required from the last two overs. 

This changed to 22 runs needed from the final six balls. Luke Hargreaves sent the first two deliveries from James Stansfield over the ropes for six to put the win into Delph’s hands before the Moorlands man pinned down the last two batsmen conceding four singles from the remaining deliveries.

Curtling Heroics Fire Armitage Bridge To Summit

A second consecutive superior first-innings display was enough to see Armitage Bridge jointly lead the Premiership table as they powered past lacklustre Broad Oak at home. 

Skipper Jaycub Curtling continued in fine form and his run-a-ball century the highlight of their 236-4 total. 

Curtling (110) played everything almost entirely along the turf with 19 fours scuttling past the boundaries as the Oak bowlers failed to get a grip. He was backed up well by the rest of the home teams upper order with Alex Blagborough (22), Bevan Coveley (32), Chris Dennison (30) and Josh Taylor (27no) all contributing heavily to the cause. 

Taylor (3-41) and Curtling (3-25) kept the pressure firmly on the visitors after the restart as the visitors battled to stay in touch with the rate. 

Ian Hall (27) and Jack Hargreaves (26) couldn’t make their time at the crease count and the skipper Charlie Roebuck (47), being out three runs short of fifty summed up their afternoon as they fell to their second defeat on the road on 153ao.

Slaithwaite Made To Pay For Modest Gambit At Shepley

Slaithwaite were left wondering where their first Premiership win will come from after Shepley made heavy weather knocking off the visitors’ meagre offering at Marsh Lane for their first 2021 success.

They were rolled over for just 89 at out-of-sorts Shepley with 14-year old Josh Hoyle (4-11) impressing. Earlier, Nasir Jamal (2-6) never gave the Slaithwaite batsmen a crumb in yet another tight bowling display as the visitors were left ragged with Virad Mujhaud (35) making the most of what was on offer. However, Slaithwaite had Shepley in early trouble on 14-3 as opening bowlers Alex Walker (4-30) and Tommy Woodhead (3-35) dazed their opponents.

The vast experience of wicketkeeper Imran Dawood (23) – brought into Marsh Lane for the second time in 12 months – settled nerves as he and skipper Greg Wood (28) gelled well but both were dismissed with work still to do. The visitors were left to lament not putting up a firmer first-innings score on the board as Shepley’s tail enders hobbled over the line to secure their first win of the season on 90-8.

Swaine Boosted By Ansar Arrival To Bounce Back Versus Honley

Pakistan international Shakeel Ansar flew in to enhance Hoylandswaine’s chances of retaining the Byrom Shield for a third season as they recovered from their setback the previous weekend. 

Honley were the team to feel the full force of Swaine’s backlash as they were restricted to 136-9 after winning the toss. Defeat was made more painful for Timmy Taylor’s men by former spinner Max Morley’s dominant display with the ball, taking five wickets in his first match since making the switch in the winter. 

Taylor (21) and Eddie Wilson (25) provided a small amount of respite but couldn’t recreate the big scores they’re capable of. Chris Holliday (41) put the title-holders well on the way before the star turn of debutant Ansar (34); his runs adding nicely to his first innings stumping, and Asif Iqbal (40no) sealed the win.

Scholes Suffer Further Anguish Against Revitalised ‘Burton

Brows will be furrowed amongst the Chapelgate faithful as Kirkburton consigned Scholes to their third straight league defeat of the season. 

The excellent, dogged display in the Heavy Woollen Cup couldn’t be replicated as home bowlers Andrew Smith (3-24) and John Keeling (3-32) prolonged their domestic woes. 

Once again, Scholes batsmen were unable to convert reasonable scores into remarkable scores as Yaasir Imtiaz (39) and captain Brad Birkhead (23) failed to kick on from their decent earlier work in a sub-par 128ao total. 

Javaid Ahmed (40) set up the win which Ben Carrington (28) and Roscoe Tahttil (41no) duly completed as Kirkburton cruised to 131-2 in reply.

France Flays Parish As Thongsbridge Rise To Joint Top

Mirfield Parish Cavaliers were pegged back after their daring victory over title-favourites Hoylandswaine by a defeat at home to Thongsbridge who kept their perfect start to the season intact. 

A fine century by Parish opener Shan Devraj was answered perfectly by Thongsbridge opener Rory France who finished with exactly the same score, 101. 

Brilliantly consistent all-rounder Nazar Hussain also chipped in with a half-century and captain Dan Broadbent (43) helpfully topped up the total but Parish’s first innings total of 217-4 wasn’t enough to keep Alex Kemp’s table-toppers at bay. 

Thongsbridge’s France has been in fine form at the start of this campaign and his ton added a solid platform to claim victory. 

Small contributions arrived throughout the upper order as Thongsbridge reached a victorious 218-6 with four overs to go.