ANDREW SMITH’S sparkling century helped title-chasing Kirkburton close to within a point of Drakes Premiership leaders Delph & Dobcross on Saturday.

The Burton opener stood firm for almost 48 overs to steer his side to a commanding 288-7 against Elland, scoring 124 from 135 deliveries, which included 18 fours and two sixes, backed up by 34 from Ryan Robinson and a late 45 from newly-signed Jonny Butterfield, who has left Byrom Shield holders Honley.

Robinson then took four for 18 from seven overs to dismiss the Hullen Edgers for 156, earning Kirkburton maximum points to keep up the pressure on Delph.

The League’s front-runners claimed their 11th win of the campaign beating Hoylandswaine in a high-scoring game at Huddersfield Road which was reduced to 45-overs-a-side.

Batting first, Delph’s top three all made half-centuries in racking up 265-7, Bruce Cruse hitting 10 fours in his 57, while Bilal Khiljee hit six fours and two sixes in his 60-ball 51.

Swaine lost three early wickets in their reply, Lancashire’s Kyle Hogg taking all three, but skipper Alex Morris was then joined by Chris Schofield in a 158-run stand for the fourth wicket before Morris fell for 95 (nine fours, four sixes).

Schofield went on to finish unbeaten with 86 (seven fours, six sixes) but ran out of overs with his side on 228-7.

There was another half-century for Simon Kelly as Honley remained in third place with a seven-wicket win over Broad Oak, who were shot out for 96, Harlon Haye taking four for 55 and Ritchie Howarth three for 28 from 19 overs.

Meanwhile, Steve Whitwam’s 66 and four for 28 was enough to see off Marsden as Golcar also remained in the title hunt.

Gary Colman had a good day for Barkisland and gave his side a glimmer of hope in the relegation battle as he hit 64 when the home side registered 196-9, and then claimed three for 36 as Shelley were bowled out for 139, which now leaves them sharing next-to-bottom spot in the table on 20 points apiece.

Sykes Cup finalists Shepley are not out of the hunt as they took a six-point maximum from their clash with bottom club Slaithwaite, Danny Glover making an unbeaten 56 before brother Craig took six for 37 to dismiss the Hill Toppers for 82.

Clayton West joined Meltham at the top of the Frank Platt Championship after their eight-wicket win over Lepton Highlanders, Mark Firth making 59 and Tom Barber an unbeaten 46, the latter having earlier taken three for 22 to help dismiss the visitors for 161.

Holmfirth beat Emley Clarence but still dropped to bottom of the table, having been deducted 12 points for playing Javed Iqbal senior, prior to him being registered.

Matt Gummerson made 37 not out and Iqbal 34 in the seven-wicket win over Emley, who had been bowled out for 118, Sam Denton taking four for 48, while Iqbal (snr) and Tom Hanman each took three wickets.

Mirza Mobeen was once again a one-man assault team for Almondbury, as he smashed an unbeaten 95 off 58 balls (eight sixes, five fours), putting on 144 for the ninth wicket with Martin Sykes (68) after the Fernsiders had slumped to 119-8.

Sykes blased seven sixes and four fours in his knock off 46 balls as Almondbury closed on 285 before Mobeen claimed five for 62 to bowl out Paddock for 176.

Results in the Cedar Court Conference put Armitage Bridge firmly in the driving seat for the League title as they took maximum points from their meeting with Kirkheaton, while nearest challengers Thongsbridge were crashing spectacularly at Cawthorne.

Down at the Bridge it was a combined effort from the home bowlers to dismiss Kirkheaton for 134 (Kamran Saleem making 46) as Rick Lunn and Faheem Hussain each claimed three scalps. Danny Moorhouse then took centre stage with an unbeaten 50 to bring up a six-wicket win for the leaders.

Over in Barnsley, Cawthorne were being dismissed for 138, Tom Raven-Hill taking four for 53 and Ijaz Shah three for 50, helped by three run-outs.

And Thongsbridge would certainly have backed themselves after reaching 30 without loss and Ben Raven-Hill going strong.

However, a cataclysmic collapse started by Paul Tasker with three for 13 saw the visitors shatter – Chris Walmsley claiming five for 14 – with Raven-Hill making 71 of the final total of 87!

Lascelles Hall defeated Micklehurst by four wickets, Matthew Simpson making 50 fr the winners, after Danny Mulhall had taken five for 62, while Linthwaite beat Rastrick by six wickets, Mohammed Asam taking eight for 38 for the Manchester Road club.