By Jamie Harrison, media secretary, Huddersfield Cricket League

Muhammad Azharrullah ripped through the Thongsbridge batting line-up to return a season’s best 8-29 as Hoylandswaine moved eight points clear at the top.

‘Swaine have a firm grasp on retaining the Byrom Shield for the third successive season. Title rivals Moorlands fell further behind when they slumped to a defeat away at improving Kirkburton while Honley moved into second when they saw off Delph & Dobcross.

Shepley’s defeat at Golcar was tempered by earning a point and with Mirfield Parish Cavaliers slipping to defeat against Barkisland, the gap to safety incrementally increases to seven points. Slaithwaite, anchored to the foot of the table, were soundly beaten away at Armitage Bridge to leave their hopes of staying in the Premiership looking remote with matches rapidly running out.

Azzharullah Keeps Cool Head As Swaine Add Distance At Top

Muhammad Azharrullah left a searing trail of destruction at Thongsbridge with both bat and ball to propel champions Hoylandswaine eight points clear at the summit. The former Northants man decimated Thongsbridge’s batting attack by taking 8-29 – a season’s best return for a bowler.

The Miry Lane side who have led the league for much of this season seem to have lost momentum, hampered by a bout of Covid infections. Opener Rory France (23) offered a little resistance when wickets clattered around him and then Alex Kemp attempted to steer his side to a more robust total with a well fought 48.

Thongsbridge’s 110ao looked unlikely to stop rampant Swaine, however Zafar Iqbal (4-35) and Ben Balmforth (1-45) had the visitors sweating on 20-3. Another devastating bowling spell put more pressure on Hoylandswaine as they slipped from  65-4 to a precarious 87-8. It was then, Azzharullah (20no) decided the best form of defence was attack and proceeded to launch three sixes on the way to Swaine’s 116-8 winning reply.

Huddersfield Cricket League action by: SEAN DOYLE

Kirkburton Complete Remarkable Moorlands Double 

Kirkburton rounded off an astonishing league double to land a hammer blow to Moorlands’ title chances in an engaging tussle at Riley Lane. The hosts who came out on top in the reverse fixture back in May, rose to the occasion once again after setting 186-9 batting first.

Much of Kirkburton’s success was down to a diligent 100-ball stay for opening batsman Javaid Ahmad (47). Overseas player Roscoe Tahttil reigned in his usually swashbuckling style for 37 before Jonny Smith (20) and Sam Carroll (24no) added some vital runs to deny Moorlands’ probing bowlers with former Burtoner Sarid Sajid (2-18) one of four bowlers to pick up a brace.

James Rawlinson dug in for a similarly assiduous 35 from 67 balls however his departure, followed closely by the visiting skipper Eddie Walmsley at the hands of Andy Smith (4-38) flung the match into the balance. James Stansfield (31) again proved his worth in the middle order but his dismissal by Tom Burkinshaw (2-46) sparked a second, fatal collapse. Tahttil (2-11) took advantage of Moorlands’ vulnerability as they then fell from 129-5 to 134-9. Despite a last throw of the dice by final man Darrell Sykes (15) he was run out to conclude a notable win for the hosts to end the visitors interest on 152ao. 

Electric Start Enough For Honley To Move Second

Honley were straight out of the blocks away at strugglers Delph & Dobcross to claim a victory that took them second in the table. Simon Kelly (87) was at his intimidating best as he and Timmy Taylor (87) shrugged off an early wicket to put on 151 runs before the drinks interval on 25 overs. Delph, whose spearhead with the ball, Umer Yaqoob was prevented from bowling due to a muscle tear, did manage to show character to reign in the runs with opening bowlers Xander Selby (2-69) and 15-year old Isaac Jones (3-54) finding their rhythm.

Middle order batsmen Eddie Wilson (39) and Charlie Jakeman (42) put on the runs that would eventually take the game away from the home side as Honley made 302-9. Delph themselves took advantage of a similarly weakened Honley bowling attack to stay in the hunt thanks to Mosun Hussain (34) and a rapid 65 from 33 balls by Rizwan Ali.

The loss of both of these knocked the hosts off their stride at vital moments. Lucas Selby’s pyrotechnic 40 from 22 balls followed by Will Mott’s first ever first team fifty from 25 balls had the visitors sweating until Delph eventually ran out of steam on 257ao and were made to settle for a bonus point towards their safety goal. Extra credit must go to Harry Moore (pictured above) bearing the brunt of Delph’s big hitting, yet stuck to his task to claim 6-108.

Scholes Rout Stunned Broad Oak

Bowlers Tom Brook and Wasim Javed ensured an early finish at Chapelgate as Broad Oak were dismantled in a match that only lasted 28 overs in total. Charlie Roebuck’s 11 was the most a visiting batsman could manage as Brook (6-27) and Javed (4-31) ran riot with Oak dismissed for 59 in 18 overs.

Scholes lost a solitary wicket in reply; that of Yaasar Imtiaz (17). Nico Georgiou-Nicola (27no) and Louis Brook (18no) effortlessly whittled off the desired runs in pursuit as the hosts replied with 64-1 in just 9 overs.

Barkisland In Victorious Canter To Solidify Parish’s Drop Fears

Matty Weston hammered a second successful century for Barkisland to push Mirfield Parish Cavaliers further into trouble at the bottom of the table. The Yorkshire player slammed a 136-ball 127 containing 14 fours and 6 sixes to deflate the hosts with fellow opener Ben Heritage helping himself to 81 in Barkisland’s opening partnership of 224. Dan Hope took 3-42 but it was a damaging five over spell with Jake Finch (22no) and Cameron Van Rensburg (21no) finding the boundaries easily in a frantic end to the first innings.

Barkisland’s 294-5 was well out of reach for second-bottom Parish, still reeling from the unfortunate loss of overseas Nasar Hussain half-way through the campaign. Van Rensburg took 5-54 in the second innings which unravelled for the home side after reaching 57-0. Luke Bridges (3-18) picked off wickets, one being Parish top scorer Nick Sharp (36) as the visitors ran out worthy winners by dismissing the home side for 158.

Huddersfield Cricket League action by: SEAN DOYLE

Painful Visit To Golcar For Weakened Shepley

Shepley suffered once again on the road as their absence-hit patched-up side became Golcar’s ninth victim at Swallow Lane. With Shepley skipper Greg Wood attending his wedding, it was down to Dan Wood to guide a relatively inexperienced side.

Max Joice (23) and Luke Patel (54) restored their innings following a poor start as they recovered from 16-2. Nasir Jamal (24) aside, the Shepley lower order suffered a tumultuous time under the spell of creative spinners Steve Whitwam (2-22) and Jack McNamara (3-33) as they finished on 161ao with an over to spare.

Golcar’s industrious approach has almost always reaped rewards on their own patch and this match was no different. James Howson (25), Mohammad Ali (27) and McNamara (24) all put building blocks in place despite the efforts of Shepley overseas Numan Akbar (4-63). However with the loss of talented youngster James North (18) it was left for Craig Ruscoe (pictured above) to shepherd the side home. Long-serving Ruscoe hit an unbeaten 43 as Golcar replied with 163-6 and Shepley took away what could be a useful point.

Slaithwaite’s Safety Hopes Fade Further After Bridge Loss

Slaithwaite’s chances of staying up look even more remote following another loss on the road at Armitage Bridge. Opener Wajid Hussain (31) was the best a Slaithwaite batsman could manage as Jack Hinchliffe (6-54) enjoyed his best display so far this season to bowl out the visitors for 100. Alex Walker (2-6) bowled miserly, earning a couple of wickets but Armitage Bridge simply laid in wait for any loose deliveries from other bowlers. Skipper Jaycub Curtling (45) fell short of a half-century but Saquib Matlub (13) and Bevan Coveley (22) saw their side to a six-wicket victory on 101-4 in 16 overs.