By Jamie Harrison

Steve Whitwam hit 61 and claimed four wickets as Golcar proved they will fight all the way to retain their Premiership status.

In a clash of the top two Honley beat Hoylandswaine but the champions remain 18 points clear and at the bottom Moorlands now find themselves embroiled in a struggle for survival after they were crushed at home to Skelmanthorpe.

Thongsbridge v Golcar

Steve Whitwam put in an exceptional performance as Golcar grabbed a vital win at Thongsbridge to move within two points of Moorlands, and safety, in another compelling top flight matchday. Whitwam’s 61, along with a Ryan Adams half-century, laid down the perfect platform for a challenging first innings total. 

Muhammad Ali contributed with 41 as Golcar set 222-7, with Ben Balmforth taking 3-34 for the hosts. Ben Raven-Hill’s 57 forced the visitors to dig deep and it was the introduction of spinners Whitwam and captain Jack McNamara which changed the course of the match. 

McNamara (5-22) removed Raven-Hill and danger man Pragam Sharma (21) which opened the door for Whitwam (4-11) to rifle through the rest as Thongsbridge were whittled down to 117ao.

Hoylandswaine v Honley 

Simon Kelly blunted Hoylandswaine’s lethal pace bowling attack as Honley recorded a resounding victory at their Premiership title rivals. 

Their win still leaves a substantial gap of 18 points between the sides but Honley should take plenty of heart after they coolly dismantled Swaine’s bowlers. Kelly (90) was at the forefront but most of Honley’s batsmen freely set about their tasks with Jeremy Hackett (40) and Harry Moore (49no), excelling in the visitors’ 302-7.

Experienced pace bowler Sam Denton took 4-54 to keep the leaders under pressure and spinner Timmy Taylor (3-74) finished the job as Hoylandswaine were bowled out for 201.

Huddersfield Cricket League. Pic by: SEAN DOYLE

Armitage Bridge v Almondbury Wesleyans

A third straight win for steadily improving Armitage Bridge put them in touching distance of safety and pulled Almondbury Wesleyan back into hot water in an engrossing encounter at the bottom. 

Upper order batsmen Alex Blagborough (44) and Saqib Matlub (36) were mainstays in Bridge’s 173ao first innings total with Ben Shufflebotham and Ash Smith both taking three wickets for the visitors.

Shufflebotham went on to make 35 in the reply as the home side were made to work hard to earn their win. Chris Dennison took 4-34 and former Wesleyan Musa Ahmed 2-39 as Armitage Bridge turned the screw. The visitors finished 13 runs short on 160ao to leave them just five points away from the drop zone.

Moorlands v Skelmanthorpe

Sam Tyas ruthlessly exposed Moorlands’ batting frailties during a match that illustrated the contrasting fortunes of both clubs. A year earlier, the sides met on the same venue in the Sykes Cup Semi-Final, a division apart with Moorlands well en route to a trophy and finishing second in the Premiership. 

This time, the pendulum had clearly swung as Skelmanthorpe completed a rampant victory to emphasise the difference in fortunes. Jack Newby had earlier chalked up another half-century of a prolific season as visitors Skelmanthorpe put up 177ao.

However Moorlands were then blown away by former Denby Dale man Tyas (6-30) and overseas Dev Pradhan (4-19). The two bowlers dominated and the innings concluded inside 20 overs with Moorlands dismissed for 55.

Delph & Dobcross v Kirkburton 

A controlling position was surrendered by bottom side Delph & Dobcross whose wastefulness threatens to put an end to their 21-year stay in the Premiership. They had Kirkburton in a compromising position until Roscoe Thattil dug in and wrestled his side out of trouble. 

Adnan Ghani (4-31) and Nayyar Abbas (3-27) had the home side well shackled but as they ran out of overs, Kirkburton, led by Thattil (88), attacked Delph’s more vulnerable bowlers as they eventually checked out on 168. 

However, batting in the longer format has been Delph’s Achilles heel and again they failed to stand firm when questions were asked. Nathan Walker’s stubborn 26 desperately needed support but Kirkburton strike bowler Aaron Moore claimed an impressive 5-50 as the visitors were brought crashing down to their second straight defeat.

Barkisland v Shepley 

Former Shepley man Numan Akbar haunted his old teammates with a blistering pace bowling display for new club Barkisland. 

The Pakistan overseas took 8-50 as Shepley crumbled meekly to 74ao but they were able to give hosts Barkisland a taste of their own medicine in the reply. 

Craig Glover claimed 3-26 and brother Danny 4-41 to rock the home side as they slumped to 37-7, but that man Akbar batted sensibly for 11no before Jake Finch (31no) finished off the win by reaching 75-7.

Scholes v Broad Oak 

Resurgent Broad Oak were sent spiralling back to earth by Scholes who cantered to an easy 10-wicket victory. 

Oak’s batting collapsed under an inquisition by Scholes bowlers Wasim Javed (4-47) and Louis Brook (3-30) on the way to 98ao. The visitors had no such problems as Jack Shelley (74no) and Yaasir Imtiaz (28no) beetled their way to 104-0 in reply.