By Jamie Harrison, media manager, Huddersfield Cricket League
Nathan Jones turned to spin to claim a seven-wicket haul as Shepley and Delph & Dobcross tied a pulsating match boosting both sides’ chances of reaching safety.
Nearest challengers Mirfield Parish Cavaliers crashed to their fifth straight defeat away to Slaithwaite and saw their gap to the team above them widen to seven points.
Nothing seems to be stopping rampant Hoylandswaine who again wriggled out of trouble to record their 12th win of the season at home to Golcar.
Second-placed Honley fell short at home to Armitage Bridge which opened the door for Moorlands to swap places with them once they negotiated a two wicket success at home to Scholes but Thongsbridge’s early season promise once again deserted them in defeat at Broad Oak.
Kirkburton’s recent good form was checked when they lost a low scorer at strong home outfit Barkisland.
Delph And Shepley Bowlers Dominate In Marsh Lane Melodrama
Shepley and Delph & Dobcross’ chances of survival were augmented following a remarkable match where the bowlers dominated on a precarious surface at Marsh Lane.
The inclement weather during the week resulted in a match where run scoring proved difficult, particularly in a riveting climax which left both teams tied on 129ao. Shepley were hampered by captain Greg Wood isolating following a Covid infection and the outlook appeared bleak after being put in to bat by visiting skipper Xander Selby.
Nathan Jones claimed his best ever first team figures with a well-controlled bowling display where the medium pace bowler switched to spin to suit the surface.
He took 7-46 in a first innings where few Shepley batsmen found much comfort with Luke Patel (24) and Numan Akbar (24no) the only men to resist. Delph got on the front foot early in the reply to race to 65-0 with opening batsmen Mosun Hussain (26) and Will Mott (30) targeting the Shepley openers with an attacking strategy. However once Shepley reverted to spinners Luke Patel (3-42) and Oliver Davidson (4-33) the runs dried up.
The loss of Hussain triggered a worrying collapse which quickly pivoted the match into Shepley’s favour as Delph slumped to 79-6. Youngster Isaac Jones dragged his side back into it with a rapid 26 from 11 balls but when he departed the visitors were still 13 runs adrift, backed into a corner by Shepley’s bowling inquisition.
Veteran Grant Jones (16no) bided his time to hammer two consecutive maximums and bring the scores level but was then run out attempting to avoid exposing his inexperienced partner. Both sides will be relatively pleased with the end result to claim four points each to put further pressure on the bottom two.
Slaithwaite Fend Off Parish In Bunfight Between Bottom Two
Slaithwaite earned only their second victory of the season in a match which offered as much entertainment as the thrilling affair that the sides played out in May.
The hosts gained revenge with a battling first innings display to put up a challenging 172-5 in their 30 overs. They were indebted to Harrison Quarmby’s bold batting as he helped arrest a worrying slide at the hands of Tom Fretwell (3-28) as Slaithwaite subsided alarmingly to 47-4.
Quarmby then exposed Parish’s brittle bowling with a superb 76 as he and Lewis Bradley (29) put on 57 runs with Quarmby seeing out the innings. Alex Walker opportunistically grabbed two early wickets to land a blow on the visitors but they recovered with a 94 run partnership between Nick Sharp (41) and Dan Broadbent (56).
The departure of both players a few runs apart opened the door for Sohail Butt (4-35) to provide a much-needed stranglehold to keep the visitors at bay. Parish did earn two points with their 162-9 total, but these may be in vain given teams above them moved further away from danger.
Golcar Rue Missed Opportunity As Swaine Rumble Closer To Title
Hoylandswaine grew their lead at the top to ten points when their strength in depth came to the rescue, not for the first time this season. Swaine have an uncanny knack of turning uncomfortable situations around to their advantage thanks to a late rearguard action.
On this occasion, penultimate batsman Max Morley registered his first half-century for the club to revive their flagging innings after wilting to 112-9 with Golcar spinners Jack McNamara and Steve Whitwam sharing six wickets between them.
Morley’s partnership with last man Adnan Ghani (22) was worth a crucial 62 runs in the end with Ghani run out on the final ball to set Golcar a chase of 174ao. Opener James Howson (21) was ultimately to be the visitors’ top scorer in a reply that struggled to get going against Hoylandswaine’s potent bowling attack.
Ghani helped himself to four wickets but Muhammad Azharullah is in a fearsome vein of form as his 6-34 made it his 22nd scalp in the last four league matches alone. Golcar eventually surrendered on 79ao as Hoylandswaine completed a resounding 95-run win to strengthen their grip at the top of the table.
Armitage Bridge’s Matlub Mauls High-Flying Honley
Saqib Matlub hit his best score of the season for Armitage Bridge as they dealt Honley a bloody nose to register back-to-back successes.
The hosts struggled to contain Armitage Bridge number three Matlub who’s 81 added to skipper Jaycub Curtling’s 44 provided a solid foundation for Bevan Coveley (48no) as they set the home side a 199-4 total.
Honley’s Harlon Haye celebrated his first match since June with four wickets but his side were too reliant on their senior players with the bat as they fell narrowly short. Simon Kelly (42), Timmy Taylor (51) and Eddie Wilson (53) enjoyed the lion’s share of Honley’s 184ao reply. Slow bowlers Josh Taylor (3-42),
Curtling (2-58) and Musa Ahmed (3-28) picked off the rest as Bridge ran out winners by 15 runs for their ninth win of the season.
Moorlands Eye Final Charge With Painstaking Victory Over Scholes
Title contenders Moorlands found another gear to ease past a challenging inquest at home to Scholes. Set 195-7 to win, Eddie Walmsley’s side dug deep to wrestle back the initiative against their mid-table opponents, sensing a double having beaten them in the reverse fixture.
Nico Georgiou-Nicola (36) and Bradley Birkhead (34) spent lengthy sessions at the crease to score highest for Scholes with James Stansfield (4-37, above) one of seven Moorlands bowlers sent in.
The hosts had to be equally diligent when batting with Shoukat Ali and Siraj Sajid both totalling 34 before being dismissed. At 123-5 it was anyone’s game and Nadim Hussain’s 25 helped get them close to the target before Scholes bowler Yaasir Imtiaz (4-54) struck with three quick wickets. However the home side held their nerve to remain in contention.
Their three upcoming matches against Hoylandswaine will now define their season.
Slack Shock For Lofty Thongsbridge As Oak Stand Firm
Alex Slack poured more torment on Thongsbridge’s season whose title hopes were essentially extinguished at a revitalised Broad Oak.
The tall all-rounder took 2-48 in Thongsbridge’s first innings total of 200ao with Richard Marshall (76) top scoring. South African bowler Alistair Snowdon (5-29) reaped his best score of the season during the process but it was Slack who claimed the glory in a thunderous reply with an unbeaten 74 that held together the innings.
Sean Mee’s half century was equally as vital, despite Thongsbridge turning up the heat with Ben Raven-Hill’s 3-50. Mike Fisher (18) and Adam France’s 16no down the order finally helped them over the line on 203-7 with three overs to play.
Kirkburton Suffer At Barkisland Stronghold
Kirkburton were the latest team to succumb at Barkisland’s ironclad Woodfield home in a low scoring encounter.
Andrew Smith and John Keeling took three wickets each as the visitors controlled with the ball in Barkisland’s modest 144ao total, which was given a shot in the arm by Seth Oddy’s decisive 40 run input. The visitors’ were hampered by the enforced absence of talismanic overseas Roscoe Tahttil, forced to isolate via the Track & Trace system, badly needing his input as Barkisland struck a devastating early blow to reduce them to 5-2.
Captain Jonny Butterfield hung about gamely for 45 but Cameron Van Rensburg (4-19) and Luke Bridges (4-16) bowled perniciously in tandem to rout the visitors who eventually yielded on 73ao