A SPARKLING tie between Elland and Skelmanthorpe was the highlight of the Premiership’s stand-alone programme.
Chasing Elland’s total of 195-9 at Hullen Edge, Skelmanthorpe nudged closer to their target and set up an exciting final hour, with the result in the balance all the way.
When it came to the last delivery of James Thornton’s excellent spell – he had three for 46 from 18 overs of canny left-arm spin – Kristian Whittaker was facing and needed three to win, while Elland needed one wicket.
The Lidgett Lane all-rounder drove the ball high in the air towards long off, where Ryan Robinson made a valiant effort to get to what would have been the match-winning catch.
He couldn’t hold on as Whittaker and James Crossland were on their second run, but he recovered with a tremendous throw to Thornton at the bowlers end and Whittaker was run out with the scores tied on 195-9.
Earlier, Greg Buckley had anchored the Elland innings with a fine 70, while Craig Glover and Crossland had three wickets apiece. For Elland, Thornton got the vital wicket of Wasim Jaffer for 41, while Quiser Rashid had a top score of 44 for Skelmanthorpe as both sides pocketed three points.
Honley maintained their seven-point lead over Shepley at the top of the table thanks to an eight-wicket home win against Broad Oak.
Ritchie Howarth and Harlon Haye had three wickets each as the Oak were restricted to 160-8 – Stephen Rushworth with 54 and Alex Walker 57 not out providing the backbone of the innings – and the tally was never enough.
Simon Kelly, again in terrific form, hammered 82 at the top of the order and, with Michael Fraine chipping in an undefeated 50, Honley reached their target in just 27 overs.
Shepley stayed hot on the heels of the leaders with a comfortable win against Holmfirth, Don Bandula taking four wickets as the visitors were held to 198-6, openers Darren Lockwood (60) and Javed Iqbal (80) putting on 119 for the first wicket. Shepley soon made light work of the chase, Tom Denton (57 not out), and Tim Reese (71 not out) sharing an unbeaten century stand after SP Singh had gone for 53.
New signing Moreland Le Blanc made a big impact for Hoylandswaine, hammering 135 not out as they reached 254-8 at Barkisland, Matthew Steers taking five for 74. John Ashton and Zac Morris then had three wickets apiece as Barkisland were held to 226-8 in reply, Simon Wheelwright hitting 75 and Ben Wells 53.
Delph moved into third place with a crushing nine-wicket win at Kirkburton, who were dismissed for 200 thanks to a five for 39 haul from Arron Lilley.
Louis Aspeling (76) and George Smith (74) shared a 137-run stand for the third wicket, but Delph were never pressured in reply despite losing Irfan Zahoor with just 13 on the board. Bruce Cruse (84 not out) and Bilal Khiljee (107 not out) in an unbroken stand of 186.
Scholes picked up their second successive win with five points at Slaithwaite, Iqbal Khan (88), Ibrar Latif (63) and Luke Bird (63 not out) leading the way in their 265-7 total.
Skipper John Booth (86) was the mainstay of the Slaithwaite reply, but they didn’t get close as Shahnawaz took three for 63 and Khan four for 38.
Craig Horner (58), Eddie Wilson (50) and Leigh Kentish (72) were in the runs as Golcar posted 247-6 at home to Marsden, for whom Martin Berry had three for 42.
Marsden got to within 16 in reply thanks to 45 from Chris Coleman and 64 not out from Patrick Hartland.