By Jamie Harrison

Delph & Dobcross and Moorlands, both considerable underdogs in two of the league’s main cup finals, triumphed in the face of adversity to defeat their fancied opponents to win the T20 Trophy and Sykes Cup. 

Metham secured the T20 Shield final on the Duckworth-Lewis method, holding off Denby by the narrowest of margins. Rastrick lifted the Oddfellows Cup at the expense of Marsden despite Nicky Clee’s heroic century and Moorlands’ gigantic first innings score proved the difference as they became first time winners of the Paddock Shield. 

Hall Bower 2XI turned over Lascelles Hall 2XI to emerge victorious in the Earnshaw Cup.

Sykes Cup Final – Sunday August 7 at Shepley CC

Moorlands once again scuppered Hoylandswaine and secured the Sykes Cup final for the second time in two seasons. Whilst their league form has been challenging – they are still balanced precariously over the relegation zone – it was emphatically brushed to one side in a memorable match.

Whilst winning the Premiership seems a task that Hoylandswaine are expertly equipped for, Sykes Cup glory yet again eluded them with Moorlands’ determination and hunger for the battle coming out on top in similar circumstances to their 2021 victory. Once again, a dogged batting performance became the bedrock of their success and similarly James Rawlinson’s lengthy vigil in the middle became the keystone of their innings.

Hoylandswaine squandered a huge opportunity to take the game away from Moorlands in the first innings. Openers Asif Iqbal and Furqan Shafiq both scored 35 as Swaine dominated the early exchanges. A brilliant take down the legside by keeper Michael Rounding removed Sarjinder Pal Singh (8). 

However the match recalibrated following the dismissal of Chris Holliday. His innings, more of a steady and accumulating stay rather than the belligerent big-hitting he’s earned his reputation on, was brought to a close on 73 by another sensational bit of wicketkeeping by Rounding. 

Bowler, James Stansfield, sent a delivery down the legside for a wide, but lightning reactions by the wicketkeeper resulted in a brilliant stumping. Hoylandswaine’s remaining seven batsmen would only make 25 runs between them as Moorlands seized their opportunity to run through the tail and bowl out their opponents for 198 with five overs to play. Stansfield (3-44) was at the heart of the resurgence, as was homegrown all-rounder Nadim Hussain (4-35), and Moorlands went into the interval in a more upbeat mood.

Swaine’s prolific opening bowling duo, Muhammad Azzharullah and test star Junaid Khan, unusually drew a blank on this occasion to add further intrigue to the match. Former Swaine men Gharib Nawaz and Shoukat Ali both made 12 runs each, forcing their opponents to turn to other bowlers. 

Moorlands CC second team win the Paddock Shield

However James Rawlinson, just as he did in last year’s final, kept a vigil-like presence as they ground down Hoylandswaine’s bowling attack. Chris Holliday was a consistent threat, taking one wicket but only going for 20 runs from his ten overs. The arrival of captain Eddie Walmsley signalled a change of pace, complementing Rawlinson, who scored 64 runs but soaked up 112 balls. Walmsley though, after playing himself in, upped the tempo, feeding from Hoylandswaine’s slower bowlers. He finished the match with a fluent 62no and his attacking style won him the new Roger France Man of The Match award as Moorlands surged in the ascendancy with a winning reply of 199-4. 

T20 Trophy Final – Sunday July 1 at Thongsbridge CC

Delph & Dobcross pipped hosts Thongsbridge to lift the T20 Trophy following a dramatic run chase at a bustling Miry Lane. The final had been delayed by a week following rain on the originally scheduled date and Delph put their troubling league form emphatically to one side to run out winners on the final ball.

Thongsbridge began the stronger as openers Richard Marshall and overseas star Pragam Sharma started quickly and Marshall (19) was the first to fall on 61-1, thanks to a smart stumping from opposing wicketkeeper Nathan Walker. Had top quality all-rounder stayed in for a few overs more the game was in danger of escaping Delph, but he was snared by Xander Selby (2-20) who forced an error to remove him just after he passed fifty. Delph then grew into the contest and although Rory France hammered a rapid 31 from 11 balls, Thongsbridge’s 173-6 score felt about par. 

Delph’s star players, Nayyar Abbas and Mosun Hussain were removed early in the reply just as they breached double figures forcing the visitors to rebuild. Nathan Jones’ calm 63 was their focal point as they kept the board ticking, in touch with the required rate. 

It was smooth sailing until Jones under hit a lofted shot past midwicket which found Will Reeves, a moment that swung control towards Thongsbridge. Captain Xander Selby kept a cool head and two boundaries from him in the penultimate over left Delph requiring just six runs from the final six balls. 

A four and a single brought the scores level but took Selby off strike. Youngster Isaac Jones was then penned in by two yorkers by Tom Raven-Hill as the intensity increased. On the penultimate ball a rash mistake resulted in a frenetic run out but crucially got Selby (22no) back on strike. 

The Lancashire man held his nerve to send Raven-Hill’s remaining delivery flying for six towards Thongsbridge’s clubhouse to spark jubilant scenes.

T20 Shield Final – Sunday July 24 at Thongsbridge CC

Denby’s Khaleel Ahmed smashed a stunning century, yet his team were scotched by Meltham who claimed the trophy with a narrow Duckworth-Lewis success. 

Ahmed plundered a huge 127 from only 64 balls as Denby amassed 187-5 at Thongsbridge for the T20 curtain raiser, ended prematurely by rain. Meltham struggled to contain the former Thurstonland and Elland batsman but were setting about a steady pursuit when it was their turn to bat. 

Opener Alex Clegg was an early casualty for just 2, but Mark Askham (44) and Sam Clegg (58) quietly rebuilded as they kept the scoreboard pootling along. Both men succumbed within minutes of each-other but critically Meltham had enough wickets in the bank to sway the game slightly into their control. When rain forced the players off, and with little sign of continuing, Meltham were ahead on DL by 4 runs and ran out victors for the second time in three seasons. 

Oddfellows Cup Final – Sunday August 14 at Rastrick CC

Nick Clee’s magnificent century for Conference side Marsden was overshadowed by a thrilling run chase performed by Rastrick who lifted the Oddfellows Cup. The divisional separation wasn’t apparent with visitors Marsden recalling former semi-professional footballer Nicky Clee into the side. 

The former Hyde and Altrincham man had only played one previous match this season (a 90no in June!) and he showed no sign of rustiness as he took the game to their Championship opponents with a brilliant 115 made from 94 balls. 

Parth Naik (27) was the second-highest scorer as Marsden set 241ao but crucially, left behind four overs. Rastrick’s Jack Pearson pulled it back by taking 4-65 running through Marsden’s tail after the departure of Clee, and the home side got off to a good start by putting on 73 runs for their second wicket. Opener Tom Barnett made a half century and Will Smith chipped in with 35 but Columbian cricketer Chris Laas steered Rastrick to victory with a splendid 87no, well supported by Tom Stead (31no).

Fired Up Corporation Paddock Shield Cup Final – August 14 at Delph & Dobcross CC

Moorlands spoiled Delph’s day in the sun in front of their own supporters by launching a batting onslaught to secure the Paddock Shield for the first time. The two sides were evenly matched despite being a division apart and Championship Two side Moorlands shone when batting first. A first wicket partnership of 185 set the tone as talented 18-year-old skipper Alex Rowden bristled with menace, slamming a huge 134. Australian Declan Jackson (57) happily played a supporting role as Rowden took centre stage to pepper the boundaries on a scorching afternoon. 

A large crowd assembled to take in the young talent on both sides but Moorlands’ openers subdued their Premiership opponents to devastating effect. Adam Roberts made 45 and Oliver Rounding 21 to further compound the score as the Mirfield men put an imposing 297-6 on the board from 45 overs. 

Youngsters George Partington and Will Potts both matched their figures with 2-47 but their teammates absorbed some fierce punishment in a tiring first innings. 

Delph’s reply began steadily and they sensibly took no chances, opting to keep precious wickets in reserve. 17-year-old Potts, opening the batting, made a neat 24 and 15-year-old Lancashire junior Luca Pemberton (39) was unflustered as the hosts stared down an epic chase. 

Luke Hargreaves, their long-serving player, came out of retirement to add steel to the middle order and he took the game to Moorlands as he started to hit his straps until he was bowled by Rowden on 37. Rowden (4-55) went on to assert control by targeting the lower order as wickets began to tumble. 

Jack Hague made a spirited 38no in Delph’s 189ao, but it was clearly Moorlands’ day who secured the Paddock Shield to go nicely alongside the league’s other main domestic trophy; the Sykes Cup.

Earnshaw Cup Final – Sunday July 31 at Lascelles Hall

Lascelles Hall hosted Hall Bower in the Earnshaw Cup final with Hall Bower being put in to bat on a slow pitch in a game reduced to 37 overs per side, following lunchtime rain. 

Bower made steady progress reaching 42 before the first man fell. Wickets were then lost at regular intervals with only Jack Brook (58 off 59 balls) getting to grips with the pitch. 

When he fell, 96-3 quickly became 127-7 thanks to excellent bowling from under 15s Daniel Marshall 1-26 and Tom Wilson 4-18. A patient 31 from Jonah Thackeray and a quick fire 24 not out from Ryan Beaney however pushed the Bower on to 173. Catching was excellent throughout, particularly from captain Tom Hoyle, with a spectacular one handed grab to remove Imran Siddiq.

In reply, Lascelles Hall were met by some miserly bowling as Thackeray 6 overs for 9, and Sajjad Muhammad 8 overs 2 for 25 restricted scoring. 

Progress was difficult and Callum Taylor battled hard for 23. Matthew Dickenson briefly threatened to get the score moving, but when he was run out with a direct hit from cover by man of the match Brook, Mark Beaumont 4-31 and Harvey Swift 3-9 quickly wrapped things up, as Lascelles Hall were dismissed for 76. Leaving Hall Bower Captain Ray Bottomley to lift the trophy with his team.