Delph & Dobcross underlined their class as the best team in the Drakes League this season with a ruthless victory over Shepley in the All Rounder Sykes Cup final.
Andy Gleave’s side bowled out Shepley for just 108 in front of a large crowd at Honley and then posted an eight-wicket victory in just 26.4 overs.
Delph opener Chris Laker was voted North Light Physiotherapy man of the match for his unbeaten 69, but it could also easily have gone to teenage all-rounder Nathan Jones, who picked up four for 23 in his eight overs of spin.
Skipper Gleave – whose side have already won the T20 Trophy and are nine points clear in the Drakes Premiership – was delighted to take the famous old cup back to Huddersfield Road for only the second time (five years after the first).
WATCH Delph & Dobcross receive the All Rounder Sykes Cup:
“I can’t really describe what it means to us to win the Sykes Cup because we’ve worked hard all season and it’s everything – brilliant,” he beamed.
“It was our attitude and belief that we could chase anything down in the final, so that’s why we put Shepley in to bat, and knowing that bowling is Shepley’s strongest suit I’m sure they’d have done the same if they’d won the toss.
“We wanted to put the pressure on in the first 15 overs and our bowlers were really tight up top and restricted them.
“We weren’t sure where to go with the fifth bowler, whether it would be Nathan Jones or Chris Laker, but with it being a big ground we went with the spin option and Nathan bowled beautifully, thoroughly deserving his four-for.
“When it came to the batting, we felt if we didn’t lose too many wickets to the new ball we would be well on the way to that 108, and we lost only one.
“Chris Laker was superb. I told him to really knuckle down early on and he did exactly that and, yet again, one of our top six has come up with a productive knock, so it’s really pleasing.”
Gleave revealed a big celebration was on the cards, but they’d be back training on Tuesday and ready for the trip to Cawthorne, bidding to maintain their unbeaten record in the Premiership.
On the evidence of the 97th Sykes Cup final, played in good spirit and well handled by umpires David Haikings and John Wood, they will take some stopping.
Opening bowler Wasim Qasim made the first statement of intent with only the third delivery, getting vicious bounce from a decent length to have talented Tom Denton caught off the shoulder of the bat by Luke Hargreaves at cover point.
Qasim also had Shahban Raheem clean bowled (22-3 at the time) after partner Shakir Muhammad had a disgruntled Dan Wood caught behind and Shepley had scored 34 in the first 15 overs.
Danny Glover’s Marsh Lane side desperately needed a partnership and they started to rebuild thanks to Aussie Daniel Anderson and experienced Gary Bradley, part of the Shepley side which also lost to Delph in 2012.
Delph skipper Andy Gleave talks about the win:
They put on an innings-best 49 together before Bradley fell in Jones’ first over, with the total then 71-4, and Shepley skipper Danny Glover was unable to get himself in, going 10 runs later for just two.
Anderson, who faced 113 deliveries and hit four boundaries, deserved a half century, but he fell two short when caught by Shreevats Goswami off Jones – who had taken five wickets against Shelley the previous day – and Delph had a firm grip with their opponents struggling on 88-6.
Josh Ardron and Tom Burkinshaw went with the score on 97, both to Muhammad, who conceded just 30 runs in his 10 overs, and the innings was wrapped up as Oliver Davidson became Arron Lilley’s only victim and Nasir Jamal was run out, leaving Qasim with figures of two for 15 from 7.1 overs.
In reply, skipper Gleave and Laker put on 38 for the first wicket and, when Shepley got Greg Buckley without addition to the score – Jamal picking up both wickets – there was a glimmer of hope for an upset.
But Laker had other ideas and shared an unbroken stand of 74 with IPL player Goswami, who finished on 23 not out from 31 deliveries, including four boundaries.
Laker was 69 not out at the end after facing 91 balls and hitting 12 fours and a six.