By Jamie Harrison
Scholes skipper Josh Brook claimed four wickets to cut Hoylandswaine’s lead at the top of the Huddersfield Cricket League Premiership to four points.
Armitage Bridge plunged Delph into deep trouble by edging a crunch confrontation in the dogfight at the bottom of the table with Golcar’s win also propelling them towards safety.
Hoylandswaine v Scholes
For the second time this season, Scholes landed a knockout punch on Premiership title rivals Hoylandswaine to narrow the gap to four points. Their thrilling Heavy Woollen Cup victory at Chapelgate a month ago was already fresh in their minds and here Scholes hammered home their title credentials by claiming a pulsating victory at Haigh Lane.
The visitors made their intentions clear by reducing Swaine to 6-2 but Sarjinder Pal Singh (43) and Chris Holliday (57) fought back to put their team into a strong position to set a solid total.
Josh Brook had other ideas and he and spinner Yaasir Imtiaz (3-46) removed the two batsmen and got stuck into a Swaine middle order which has looked vulnerable most of the season.
Brook’s 4-76 restricted Hoylandswaine to a gettable 176ao although with Swaine’s lethal bowling attack to take into consideration, the outcome was very much in the balance.
Muhammad Azharullah’s rich vein of form continued as he took 5-44 to sway control Hoylandswaine’s way by removing four of the top five Scholes batsmen to leave them reeling at 102-5.
Tommy Boorman – who left Chapelgate for Australia some six years ago – made a triumphant, albeit temporary, return to hold together his side’s run chase. He finished unbeaten on 34 to frustrate the hosts and haul them over the line on 179-7.
Armitage Bridge v Delph & Dobcross
The bottom two sides Armitage Bridge and Delph & Dobcross faced off and it was hosts Bridge who secured a crucial win to heap more concern on new Delph captain Nathan Jones.
Xander Selby, who had passed over the captaincy in midweek, seemed to savour the conditions by taking 4-37 in a first innings which saw Bridge graft their way to 177-8. Saqib Matlub (34) and Chris Dennison (25) put on a decisive 60-run partnership which set up something to bowl at but Delph’s brittle batting was exposed once again as they frittered away a positive start.
Jaycub Curtling was Delph’s main antagonist as he took 4-43 but Adnan Ghani (34) showed some fight until he holed out off Curtling’s bowling. Dennison was the eventual hero as he took two wickets in two balls and the visitors’ misery was further compounded by squandering a batting point by just two runs when they were dismissed for 131.
Kirkburton v Golcar
A third win on the bounce lightened the mood for Golcar as they rose to three points from safety with a win at Kirkburton. Jack McNamara’s side showed the strong team-spirit that saw them to a third-placed finish last season with seven of their batsmen landing double figures in a 190ao total.
Muhammad Ali (42) and Dan Woodhead (43) were the highest scorers but almost everyone contributed as Golcar hit the ground running. Youngster Jack Byrne grabbed his 16th wicket of the season but his team were off colour when attempting to overhaul the total.
The 2021 best batter Roscoe Tahttil hit another wall as he was out for 22 which signalled Kirkburton’s demise. Will Hinchliffe was on fine form for a miserly 2-17 before slow bowlers Jack McNamara (4-21) and Steve Whitwam (3-43) finished the job by curtailing Burton’s innings on 136ao.
Broad Oak v Shepley
Young spinner Josh Hoyle turned the tables on Broad Oak to land Shepley a fourth win of the campaign. Shepley’s Yorkshire prospect took 4-46 and overseas Pranav Susarla claimed 3-28 as Oak were castled for 155 on a disappointing afternoon for the Sykes Cup quarter finalists.
It needed a majestic 42 from Hoyle batting at 9 to pull Shepley out of a sticky situation after the league’s leading spin bowler Dan Taylor got his teeth into the visitors with 5-26. Shepley had enough in the tank however to reply with 156-7.
Moorlands v Honley
Third-placed Honley conceded more ground on the top two after they sank to defeat away at Moorlands. Gharib Nawaz (38) and Shoukat Ali (45) put on 78 runs for the first wicket which set the tone for their 220-7; a score boosted by Moorlands batters Siraj Sajid (44) and Nadim Hussain (40).
Issac Eustance took 4-66 for Honley whose top two batsmen were removed by Moorlands’ latest emerging talent Braiden Fortis. Jeremy Hackett (61) frequently lost partners and Honley eventually lost their way as James Stanfield (4-59) harassed the visitors. Honley finished 74 runs short on 146ao.
Thongsbridge v Skelmanthorpe
Thongsbridge saw off Skelmanthorpe thanks to a brilliant 74 by Kai Grieg. A challenging 226-5 was put up by the visitors built steadily by Paul Cummins who batted the whole 50 overs for 88 and Matthew Smith (70).
Greig’s sublime innings proved the difference which was shored up by four other Thongsbridge batsmen hitting solid knocks, despite the close attention of ever-improving spinner Adam Rammell (4-64). The home side cruised home in relative comfort on 228-5 with four overs remaining.
Barkisland v Almondbury Wesleyans
A batting recovery wasn’t enough for Almondbury Wesleyans when they slumped to a loss at Barkisland who themselves moved up to mid-table with a fourth straight success.
Wesleyans rallied from a perilous 55-7 to set 142ao after brothers Jake (5-54) and Harry Finch (4-13) shared nine wickets between them. Barkisland boxed off a straightforward win on 148-4 with the Finch siblings both finishing with red figures on 32 and 38no.