DELPH & DOBCROSS defied Saturday’s downpours to extend their lead at the top of the Drakes League, while Armitage Bridge got one hand on the Cedar Court Conference trophy after beating their main rivals.
Grant Jones’ Delph side invariably get the thin end of the wedge when it comes to the weather, but on this occasion they were grateful to be playing away at Shelley, where play was possible after a one-hour delayed start.
And despite being on the wrong end of a lusty 82 from Sam Scott, who has just returned from playing for Great Britain’s rugby league students in Australia, Delph completed their 12th victory of the season.
It was not without its problems however, as they lost seven wickets in chasing down Shelley’s 200-4 tally, with Bilal Khiljee (49) and Kyle Hogg (38) helping them recover from 34-2 to 120 before a mid-innings slump left skipper Jones (21no) and Luke Hargreaves (15no) to see them home.
Second-placed Kirkburton’s game at Marsden was one of three Premiership games not to make a start, and with Honley and Golcar both losing, Delph’s position at the top was significantly strengthened.
One team who can almost taste title glory is Armitage Bridge, who opened up a massive 25-point lead on Thongsbridge after completing a five-wicket win over their only realistic rivals.
For once home skipper Ben Raven-Hill failed with the bat, and but for a battling 36 from Guy Parkin would have perished for very little against in-form seamer Rick Lunn, who took six for 47 from 17.5 overs, and Carl Jump, who knocked over the middle order with four for 29 from 11 to dismiss the Miry Lane side for 101.
Australian opener Hayden Jones made 31 in reply as he and Danny Moorhouse (25) figured in the two mini partnerships which steered Armitage Bridge safely home and a substantial lead which should see them lift their first silverware for a very long time – providing they don’t implode between now and the end of the season!
Back in the top flight, Elland managed to get their match with Honley under way at 3.15 and despite Simon Kelly (52) and Max Joice (32) making a fist of a it with a stand of 71, elsewhere it was a procession as the current League champions fell to Chris Goulden who finished with figures of six for 24.
Greg Finn (50no) and Greg Wood (66no) then saw off the threat of Ritchie Howarth and Harlon Haye with a 99-run partnership, while new Honley signing, Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah, saw one of his deliveries vanishing into the pavilion from Wood’s bat, only for Stuart Fletcher to catch the ball on the balcony before it went through the dressing room window.
There was a cracking match at Hoylandswaine, where Golcar’s Steve Whitwam returned his best figures of the year, seven for 56, but couldn’t prevent John Sadler leading his side to 236 with a fighting 84.
In reply, Whitwam (49) and Lee Baxter (36) put on 94 for the first wicket, while James Howson hit 30, but five wickets from Ranjit Don-Bandula halted Golcar’s charge and they were held seven short of the Swaine tally.
Slaithwaite’s Ian Holt made a half-century at Lidgett Lane, but Sykes Cup finalists Skelmanthorpe made light of chasing down the visitors’ 189-5 total with Haroon Rashid (110no) and Louis Aspeling (74no) leading them to a nine-wicket stroll.
Clayton West took over top spot on their own in the Championship, skipper Mark Firth taking control in the absence of the Barber brothers.
Danel Del Prete picked up five wickets as Emley Clarence made 181-9 before Firth made an unbeaten 94, supported by Stuart Rank (46) in the seven-wicket win, while Hall Bower and Lepton were frustrated when rain ended their game early with the Bower needing one wicket and Lepton requiring 21 runs.
Pranesh Naidoo hit an 114 for the Bower, while Chris Sykes took five for 95 in Lepton’s reply, Gary Hodgson making 58, while at Fernside, skipper Martin Sykes hit eight fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 54 to steer Almondbury to victory over Holmfirth.
In the Conference , Mohammed Saddiq top-scored with 66 not out as Rastrick rattled up 201-4 in just 28 overs against Lascelles Hall.
Saddiq then took four for 97 and Ateeq Rehman 4-73 to deny the best efforts of John Booth (50) and Ben Robshaw (50) as the Hall were held seven short.
In the third game played in the bottom tier, Kirkheaton defeated Linthwaite, Hayden Charlton taking five for 33 as Linthwaite were bowled out for 71, reply to Kirkheaton’s 196-9 in which Kamran Saleem hit 63.