By Jamie Harrison
Moorlands skipper Eddie Walmsley led from the front to help defeat champions Hoylandswaine to keep his side on course for their first ever Byrom Shield Premiership title.
Skelmanthorpe moved into second place by edging out Honley and Barkisland brought down lofty Kirkburton. Scholes pulled off a magnificent run chase as Benji Birkhead and Shepley’s Oliver Hing both made brutal centuries for their clubs.
Thongsbridge remained rock bottom by losing at Almondbury Wesleyans who moved themselves out of the danger zone with a critical win.
Hoylandswaine v Moorlands
Eddie Walmsley yet again became Hoylandswaine’s thorn as a superbly-paced innings laid the foundation to a victory that has started to shape Moorlands’ season.
Just as he’d done in last season’s showpiece Sykes Cup final, Walmsley (71no) dug himself in to help his side set an imposing target of 259-7. He and Brad Lay (21) put on a crucial 44-run partnership to build on the earlier good work of Amogh Bhatkal who made 59.
Muhammad Azharullah claimed four wickets but Hoylandswaine’s batsmen failed to spark. Shoukat Ali took the new ball in place of absent bowler Jon Rudge and promptly took out the top three to finish with 3-33.
Eddie’s brother Marcus Walmsley did more damage with 4-40 and Nadim Hussain’s 3-31 finished things off for the title holders whose iron-like grasp on the Byrom Shield appears to be weakening. They were bowled out for 106 and sit 16 points away from Moorlands at the top of the table.
Skelmanthorpe v Honley
An opening stand of 132 helped Skelmanthorpe move into second place at home to mid-table Honley. Skipper Allan Greenwood (62) and Jack Newby (65) set the tone for the afternoon as they put 274-8 on the board with spinner Lewis Kenworthy bagging a six wicket haul for the visitors. Harry Moore’s stock as an opening batsman is rising fast by making his highest score in the first team so far with a brilliant 86.
Yorkshire’s Will Fraine was removed on 22 to make life a little easier for on-song ‘Shat’ who then took charge. Lewis Evans’ dismissal on 60 left Honley with too much to do as the excellent Tawkal Zadran claimed 5-51 in Skelmanthorpe’s 28 run success.
Kirkburton v Barkisland
Kirkburton slipped down to third following a first home defeat of the season against Barkisland. Two half centuries from Harry Finch (52) and Seth Oddy (53), plus a useful 35 from Cameran Van Rensburg helped set 229-8 for the visitors. Jack Byrne’s 3-68 was the best of the home side’s bowlers and then Numan Akbar decimated Kirkburton’s batting with a brilliant spell on his way to 6-38.
Van Rensburg closed off Kirkburton’s reply by taking 3-14 as the hosts were dismissed for 123.
Almondbury Wesleyans v Thongsbridge
Almondbury Wesleyans claimed a crucial victory at home to Thongsbridge to move out of the relegation zone and leave their winless opponents rooted to the bottom. Things looked to be going well for the visitors when Gauteng-based batsman Jack Lees continued his sterling season with 88 to take him over the 500-run mark; his second half century for his new club.
Wes bowlers Daniel Moorhouse (4-42) and Chris Abbey (5-57) were persistent nuisances as Thongsbridge were castled in the final over for 206.
Tom Binns shrugged off their sluggish start by making an important 48 before Nathan Kenworthy scored 45 and overseas man Matthew Schubert crashed 55 from 38 balls to oversee the victory with a 207-7 reply.
Scholes v Shepley
Oliver Hing smashed a century for Shepley but they couldn’t hang on to a win after a resurgent Scholes second innings pursuit gave their stop-start season a shot in the arm.
The Sydney-based batsman hit 112 and Max Joice (53) added a half-century as Shepley piled up 256. At 27-4 Scholes looked to be on life support but captain Benji Birkhead helped drag his side to an unlikely win.
The former Yorkshire keeper hammered 118 from 106 balls with 14 fours and four sixes to thrust them back into the contest. Ben Tighe’s 83no was equally as vital a contribution as the former Denton St Lawrence man guided Scholes over the line on 258-6.
Mirfield Parish v Broad Oak
Cameron Todd saw Broad Oak to their fifth win of the season which dropped Mirfield Parish Cavaliers into the relegation zone.
Todd hit an unbeaten 48 to chase down 189ao set by Parish who earlier had Tom Olsen to thank for his middle-order 65no. Fletcher Coutts snared 4-25 along with Alex Slack’s 3-61 and Coutts then finished the job with 24 as Oak completed a comfortable victory.