ELLAND and Slaithwaite ensured it was tight at the top of the Drakes League by slowing the early-season surges of Scholes and Thongsbridge.
The Holme Valley pair had begun the season with five straight wins, but came firmly unstuck in round six.
Scholes suffered a five-wicket defeat at Hullen Edge while Thongsbridge went down by seven at Hill Top.
That meant just two points separated the top four, with leaders Scholes and their neighbours on 24, Slaithwaite on 23 and Elland on 22.
Scholes’ new Indian signing Wasim Jaffer, the replacement for Test star Chetan Sharma, had another good knock, this time of 56.
But apart from Ian Gray (24), the Scholes batsmen could not handle the firepower of Matthew Betsey, who took a superb seven for 11 to hold the visitors to 115-9.
With prize batsman John Webster missing, Elland might also have been expected to struggle, but skipper James Thornton (31 not out) led them home, assisted by Mark Kingston (27).
Derbyshire player Glenn Roberts made his first appearance of the season for Slaithwaite and helped them see off Thongsbridge.
He took three wickets as the visitors were held to 159-8 (Brandon Nash 44; Jeremy Finnemore 4-33), then made 38, with opener Dave Ellis unbeaten on 65.
Meltham stayed in touch with the top four by slamming Hall Bower by nine wickets.
New signing Neil Carter made a promising debut with four for 33 and 22 runs.
Paul Booth took six for 24 while Chris Fisk top-scored in Meltham’s reply with 32 not out.
Sher Ali got his season under way with an unbeaten 77 as Marsden took the derby honours at home to Linthwaite.
Norman Clee, with three for 22, and Daniel Anchor, with three for nine, had helped restrict Linthwaite to 111-9.
There was a close neighbourly contest at Lascelles Hall, where the home side suffered a 10-run setback at the hands of Kirkheaton.
Australian Darren McCabe cracked 11 fours and a six in his 101 not out.
And with Richard Whitehurst adding 53, the Bankfield men totalled 190-3.
Skipper Graham Hallas then bagged five for 50.
Simon Birtwhistle made 81 and Craig Horner 49, but the home side suffered through losing their last seven wickets for 41.
Section B leaders Delph and Dobcross were predictably too strong for basement team Paddock, winning by eight wickets.
And a five-wicket haul for leggie Andy Moore helped second-placed Holmfirth beat Honley by 59 runs.
Huddersfield and Lockwood’s Adil Nisar made 99 in the win at Skelmanthorpe.