By Jamie Harrison

Chase specialists Honley continued their pursuit of victory as Timmy Taylor struck a magnificent century.

Jaycub Curtling’s exploits with bat and ball helped drag Armitage Bridge towards safety as the battle to avoid the drop from the Premiership intensified at the half-way point of the season.

Rock-bottom Delph & Dobcross defeated Moorlands to give themselves a shot in the arm with an on-fire Adnan Ghani leading their charge. Broad Oak and Barkisland both suffered damaging defeats.

Armitage Bridge v Skelmanthorpe 

Sykes Cup semi-finalists Armitage Bridge drew from their eye-catching cup run to ratchet up the tension at the bottom with a determined effort that downed Skelmanthorpe in a ‘must-win’ contest for both sides. 

Jaycub Curtling hit form with both bat and ball with a stand-out show to put the game beyond the jaded visitors. After Alex Blagborough (65) and Saqib Matlub (40) had laid the ideal foundations to set a tough chase for Skelmanthorpe, Curtling’s 46 propelled Bridge to 224-6. Paul Cummins’ steadfast 66 needed a partner somewhere but his side were found wanting in a rain-interrupted second innings which sheared six overs from the game. 

Curtling (3-44) and Chris Dennison (3-43) almost matched each other in the bowling stakes to round off a big win for Bridge as they restricted the away team to 174-8 chasing 208.

Moorlands v Delph & Dobcross 

Adnan Ghani downed Moorlands with a masterful quick bowling display to pull Delph & Dobcross closer to safety, with an 11-point gap between their opponents. Pace bowler Ghani produced a devastating 11-over spell which probably deserved more than the 3-16 figures he finished with as he and rapidly improving 16-year old left-arm quick Braeden O’Donnell (3-25) nullified Moorlands’ dangermen. 

Arman Hussain chipped in with 4-15 to rifle through the tail as the hosts were shot out for just 58. Openers Nathan Jones (28) and Mosun Hussain (25no) had no such worries knocking off the trivial target as they romped to a much-needed victory inside 11 overs with 62-1.

Kirkburton v Barkisland 

Seasoned Kirkburton bowler Tom Burkinshaw demolished Barkisland to pull themselves further away from trouble. The vastly experienced medium pace man helped himself to 5-18 to dismantle stunned visitors Barkisland who crashed out to 91ao with Luke Bridges (27) top-scoring. 

Overseas man Roscoe Tahttil (23) led Kirkburton to an easy seven-wicket success as they responded with 92-3.

Broad Oak v Thongsbridge 

Ben Balmforth and Zafar Iqbal combined to devastating effect as Thongsbridge completed a resounding win at Broad Oak who were dismissed for a disappointing 77. 

Impressive fast bowler Balmforth took 5-33 contrasted well with Zafar Iqbal’s nagging line and length who finished with 4-16. 

Visitors Thongsbridge lost four wickets themselves in only ten overs but they still coasted home on 82-4 with Kai Greig’s 31 the centrepiece of their reply.

Hoylandswaine v Golcar

Premiership leaders Hoylandswaine remained on course to retain their fifth straight Byrom Shield with an easy dismantling of Golcar to keep the gap between them and their nearest challengers to 12 points. 

The top two bowlers in the division with 101 wickets between them, Junaid Khan (6-17) and Muhammad Azharullah 4-37, single-handedly spearheaded the assault which took down the visitors who were bowled out for 63. 

The contest was finished after a shade over two hours as Asif Iqbal (30no) steered Swaine to victory on 67-1.

Honley v Almondbury Wesleyans 

Chase specialists Honley pulled off their second impressive pursuit in six days to derail in-form Almondbury Wesleyans at Far End Lane. 

Yet again a visiting side assembled an imposing first innings score which was overhauled in relative ease by Danny Howard’s side. Will Binns (47) missed out on a half-century but Jed Wiggins (56) and Ben Shufflebotham (58no) obliged as Wes set 261-8. 

Timmy Taylor’s brilliant century was at the heart of Honley’s run chase as he slammed a stunning 108no from 89 balls around Honley’s rapid outfield. 

Aussie opener Lewis Evans (70) played a vital supporting role with the pair putting on 149 runs for the second wicket as Honley passed a revised 219 target in just 39 overs for the loss of three wickets.

Scholes v Shepley 

Jack Shelley had Scholes upbeat ahead of their crunch Heavy Woollen Cup semi-final next week after he helped take down visiting Shepley. 

Max Joice (85) helped Shepley set a reasonable 229ao, embellished by skipper Danny Glover’s 43. 

In-form Australian Shelley took 3-58 including the wicket of Joice to peg back the visitors before following it up with another dominating performance with the bat. 

Shelley (85) put on 145 runs with opener Nico Georgiou-Nicola (47) for the first wicket and Scholes never looked back as they overhauled a revised 192 target with 194-4 in 36 overs.