By Jamie Harrison
Seasoned former County man Muhammad Azharullah laid waste to rivals Honley with a withering assault at Far End Lane to fire champions Hoylandswaine nine points clear as their nearest contenders stumbled.
Second-placed Scholes slumped to a harmful loss at home to Broad Oak who climbed to fourth. At the bottom, a miserable home defeat for Delph & Dobcross consigned them to their sixth loss from seven, already putting their 22-year stay in the Premiership in jeopardy.
Hoylandswaine v Honley
Former Northants star Muhammad Azharullah blitzed shellshocked Honley to inflict a damaging defeat which served to strengthen Hoylandswaine’s grip at the summit.
The experienced pace bowler walked away with 7-17 from 11 overs to leave the hosts stunned after their ordeal. Honley opener Simon Kelly was left helpless as he witnessed his teammates melt away under a searing inquisition as Honley were bowled out for 65 in just 90 minutes play. Predictably, Hoylandswaine had no troubles themself as they routinely knocked off the required runs to surge further ahead in the title race.
Scholes v Broad Oak
Second met fourth at Chapelgate but title hopefuls Scholes suffered their second defeat of the season against a Broad Oak side who earned their fourth win of the campaign.
Scholes may have been satisfied after Louis Brook’s 3-26 kept Oak within range on 164ao for whom opener Ben Lowden high-scored with 45. However Oak bowler Dan Taylor recorded back-to-back five wicket blasts to send Scholes spinning to defeat as he took 5-22 and helped dismiss the Chapelgaters for 131.
Delph & Dobcross v Kirkburton
Batting frailties were once again ruthlessly exploited by mid-table Kirkburton who waltzed to a simple victory at Delph & Dobcross who slid further adrift from safety.
John Keeling’s 5-19 wrapped up a gloomy innings for Delph after they were softened up by Jack Byrne’s 3-27 on their way to 73ao, three runs less than they managed the previous Saturday.
It took Kirkburton 18 overs to complete victory as they replied with 74-1 thanks to Andrew Smith’s unbeaten 47.
Shepley v Barkisland
A dress rehearsal ahead of their Sykes Cup Round Two clash 24 hours later took place at Marsh Lane where home side Shepley were soundly defeated by Barkisland.
Had it not been for Tom Chadwick’s stout-hearted half-century; a 59 ground out from 117 balls, the target would have been much lower for the visitors. Shepley eventually subsided to 140ao with Cameran Van Rensburg (4-31) the pick of Barki’s seven bowlers on offer.
Ben Heritage’s equally resolute innings was key to his side’s success as he dug in for 108 balls with a 35 to anchor their 141-5 reply.
Skelmanthorpe v Moorlands
Inconsistent Moorlands came off second best away at Skelmanthorpe as they slid to a seven wicket loss. Garib Nawaz (66) has proved an astute addition for Moorlands as he notched his third half-century since signing in week two.
However Skelmanthorpe’s progress since the sides last met in last season’s Sykes Cup semi-final couldn’t be more distinct on this showing. Alistair Snowdon’s 3-50 paved the way for Adam Rammell (4-9) to take his 17th wicket of the season as Moorlands were dismissed for 149. Shat’s star winter signing Jack Newby 81no, provided the bedrock of their successful chase as they reached 153-3 with over 15 overs remaining.
Golcar v Thongsbridge
Golcar got a grip over Thongsbridge to pull themselves closer to safety with a second win. James North (58), Jack McNamara (62) and Muhammad Ali (43) all made crucial contributions to Golcar’s 229-8 as the visitors struggled for control.
Golcar’s strike bowling duo Jay Cyrus and Will Hinchliffe first shared four wickets between them to assert authority before Steve Whitwam (4-47) provided the coup de grâce as Thongsbridge were bowled out for 138.
Almondbury Wesleyans v Armitage Bridge
Almondbury Wesleyans did this season’s aim of consolidating in the top flight following last year’s promotion no harm as they edged out strugglers Armitage Bridge. Visiting batsmen Alex Blagborough (49), Alec Jakeman (41) and Bevan Clovely (45) squandered chances to set up an unassailable target which ultimately proved their undoing as they were restricted to 202-9.
The tie was kept in the balance until captain Bryn Jenkins’ fluent 83 swayed things. Despite Jaycub Curtling’s 3-39, Daniel Moorhouse (24) helped set the win up as Wesleyans rallied to reach 205-8 with three overs left.