SKIPPER Paul Winrow marked the biggest day in Barkisland’s history by lifting the Romida Sykes Cup amid jubilant scenes at Honley last night.
Man-of-the-match Winrow scored a brilliant 138 to set up his side’s 27-run victory over Delph & Dobcross, Matt Steers weighing in with six for 46 as Barkisland got their name on the famous old trophy for the first time.
It was a special win for the Calderdale club, making their first final appearance since joining the Drakes League in 2001, and they will hope to use it as a springboard for a late assault on the Byrom Shield as they remain within three points of Premiership leaders Golcar.
Boosted by the return from India of all-rounder Love Ablish just 24 hours before the final, little went wrong for Barkisland or for Winrow after he won the toss and batted and, while Bruce Cruse responded with a valiant 92 for Delph, they performed well below their best in what was a second disappointing final for the club who lost to Honley in 2005.
Dozens of Barkisland fans in a crowd of 700 – some of whom had travelled on a double-decker bus – invaded the pitch when Steers claimed the last wicket and the cheers had barely faded by the time Drakes League president Bob Platt presented the silverware in gathering gloom at 8.50pm.
Winrow was deservedly the man to the fore.
His run-a-ball 138 – just three short of the record 141 scored by John Webster of Elland in the 1998 final – was one of the best knocks in the competition’s history and typified the spirit with which Barkisland approached every delivery of a showpiece in which 38 minutes were lost to rain after just one over had been bowled.
Delph opener Bilal Khiljee, in fact, sent down five successive maidens and six out of seven to open his spell, but Mike Smethurst (despite capturing the first wicket) could not match that accuracy and Winrow shared a stand of 128 in 28 overs for the second wicket with experienced Dave Weston.
The pair rarely missed a loose delivery and Winrow’s 50 came up in the 22nd over off 73 balls and in just 79 minutes, taking his side towards a half-way total of 90-1. Two overs after drinks, Winrow offered a sharp return catch to Irfan Zahoor, who was comfortably the best of the Delph bowlers with four for 39 from 10 overs, but he was unable to hang on.
When Weston went for 39, bowled by one which kept low from Kamran Mirza after hitting six boundaries, Winrow continued to dominate and his century was reached in the 38th over off just 116 deliveries. In two hours 21 minutes at the crease, he had 13 fours and two sixes and his ton came out of a total of 160-3 at the time. Only the 13th man to score a century in the final, he looked like becoming the all-time record holder after half chances for Zahoor (off his own bowling) and Tom Wood on the boundary, went begging but he was eventually out with the total on 215 in the 45th over as Barkisland lost five wickets for 12 runs to be all out for 229 off 49.5 overs.
While Khiljee (1-29 off 14.5) and Zahoor both bowled tidily, Smethhurst (2-77 off 10) and Mirza (2-75 off 15) were not at their best and Barkisland had the momentum and the scent of success.
After an early flurry by Zahoor, who battered a quickfire 25, Tinashe Panyangara and Ablish displayed far more control with the ball than Delph had done and it put the Huddersfield Road side – who were without Kyle Hogg on Lancashire duty – behind the clock for much of their innings, although they were level on 90 at the half-way stage, but for the loss of two wickets.
It was then that Steers took command and, showing clever use of flight and changes of pace, he had four clean bowled and pegged the run-rate to such an extent that Winrow didn’t have to recall Ablish until right at the end.
Wickets fell steadily as only Jamie Haynes (21) and Luke Hargreaves (19) reached double figures alongside Cruse, who was eventually run out by Jack Taylor in the 47th over after hitting eight fours and two sixes in his gutsy two hour 55 minute knock.
All that remained was for Steers to wrap up the tail and for Skelmanthorpe chair Margaret Dollive to credit him before naming Winrow as man-of-the-match.