By Jamie Harrison

James Stansfield and Shoukat Ali put in stellar performances to stun Scholes and lift Moorlands out of the danger zone. Golcar put an end to freewheeling Armitage Bridge’s recent good run to jump back above them but the signs look ominous for Delph who were edged out by Barkisland. Almondbury Wesleyan outmuscled Broad Oak to virtually secure their Premiership status, leaving Oak with work to do.

At the top of the table, Hoylandswaine – clear favourites to go on to retain the Byrom Shield – and Honley both won, whereas Kirkburton were beaten by Thongsbridge who are eyeing a strong finish to their season.

Scholes v Moorlands 

Shoukat Ali’s magnificent century and James Stansfield’s sublime seven-wicket haul sent Scholes tumbling to their second defeat on the spin and injected Moorlands with a win that lifted them out of the Premiership’s dreaded bottom three.

Moorlands’ leading run-scorer, Ali hammered a fluent 128 and James Rawlinson’s 24 – their second-top scorer – emphasised the importance of his contribution. 

At 153-1, Moorlands were set for a large total, however Scholes pulled it back well to dismiss the home side for 217 with Yaasir Imtiaz taking 6-58. Stanfield, enjoying his best return with the ball since his 2018 move, tore the heart out of Scholes’ reply with seven wickets to take his season’s tally to 66 in all competitions; 24 of them coming in the last six matches. 

His dismissal of Jack Shelley (50) quashed the visitors’ hope and Stansfield went on to seal the result as third-placed Scholes were bowled out for 105.

Armitage Bridge v Golcar 

Golcar spin duo Jack McNamara and Steve Whitwam revelled away at Armitage Bridge to land their team a timely victory and end Bridge’s recent strong run which had dragged them out of the mire. 

The two sides both remain in the bottom three but Golcar moved above Bridge in the table after their emphatic win that has both tied on 56 points.

A steady start left the home side nicely poised on 38-1 until the introduction of Golcar’s spinners turned the match on its head. McNamara finished with 3-13 and Whitwam shone with 5-13, both bowling 12 overs each. Bridge’s 66ao was overtaken as Golcar opening bats Whitwam (30no) and Ryan Adams (38no) denied their opponents valuable bonus points in the away side’s reply of 69-0.

Barkisland v Delph & Dobcross 

Barkisland left basement team Delph a monumental task to survive relegation by inflicting a defeat which looks set to end their 22-year stay in the top flight. 

Harry Finch’s 46 was the highest in a Barkisland batting performance which failed to put the game beyond Delph, yet it was enough to secure a compelling victory. Key Delph bowlers Adnan Ghani (3-37) and Nayyar Abbas (3-65) kept the home side in check as the hosts were all out for 177. 

A superb 76 from Mosun Hussain wasn’t enough for Delph who were opened up by Barkisland paceman Numan Akbar (3-52). Slow bowler Adam Scott (3-31) kept the pressure on and although Xander Selby (33no) valiantly shepherded the tail, he eventually ran out of partners as Delph were dismissed 21 runs short on 156. The defeat leaves Delph 14 points adrift of safety with only 24 points left to play for.

Hoylandswaine v Shepley 

Rampant strike bowler Muhammad Azzharullah blasted through Shepley with consummate ease to take Hoylandswaine to the cusp of their fifth straight Byrom Shield title win. 

Azzharullah’s 6-25 took him to 84 scalps in a dominant year as visitors Shepley were well beaten at Haigh Lane. After being bowled out for 82, Swaine went about knocking off the deficit by replying with 83-0. Opener’s Asif Iqbal (26no) and Furqan Shafiq (47no) moved them tantalisingly close to the title which potentially could be secured next weekend.

Honley v Skelmanthorpe 

Timmy Taylor made light work of Skelmanthorpe who were well beaten at Far End Lane. The all-rounder put in a ruthless performance to shatter Skelmanthorpe’s batting as he claimed 7-48. Jack Newby, Shat’s leading run-maker, scored 41 for the mid-table visitors who were castled for 123. 

Taylor went on to finish the match on 82no to complete the double over Skelmanthorpe as Honley replied with 124-1.

Almondbury Wesleyans v Broad Oak 

Almondbury Wesleyans virtually secured their Premiership status on their first season back by soundly beating Broad Oak. 

Their victory was solidly built around Matthew West’s stunning 98, made from 132 balls, as the Wesleyan’s reached 179ao with two overs left. Fletcher Coutts claimed 4-50 but was unable to prevent Oak sliding to their 12th overall loss which leaves them just five points above the bottom three. 

He top-scored with 26 in a reply which was controlled well by Daniel Moorhouse (4-41) and Matt Henshaw (4-42(, Adam France’s brave 23no low down in the order was not enough for a precious bonus point as Oak were finished off on 114ao.

Kirkburton v Thongsbridge 

Ben Balmforth and Ben Howitt’s rearguard blast denied Kirkburton their third straight success at Riley Lane as Thongsbridge came away with their second victory on the bounce. 

Balmforth made 44 and Howitt (60no) to revive the visitors who were flagging on 127-7 but went on to set 236-8. Jack Byrne took four wickets for Kirkburton but they went down despite overseas Roscoe Thattil’s strong display. 

The Sri Lankan totalled 70 and captain Jonny Butterfield hit 44 but Burton were left short on 177ao. Balmforth claimed 2-35 and Pragam Sharma (3-43) recorded his 55th wicket as Thongsbridge emerged victors.