STEVE WHITWAM hit all-round form for the first time this season as Golcar tipped Honley out of the Romida Sykes Cup in a nail-biting second-round tie at Swallow Lane.
The Drakes League’s top all-rounder for the last few seasons has been struggling for runs and wickets as the Colne Valley club have battled to put points on the Premiership board.
But he bounced back to something like his best with 85 not out and three for 38 as Golcar marched into tomorrow’s quarter-final draw with a four-run victory.
It was another cruel blow for Honley, who had lost five of their six league games going into yesterday’s full programme of matches, but they just came up short as Adam France delivered the killer blow with his haul of four for 21 as the visitors suffered an horrific collapse in the last over.
Whitwam provided the base for victory, the left-hander batting through for his unbeaten highest score of the campaign and received decent support from Mick Illingworth (24) and Ben Robshaw (23) before skipper Ashley Pamment weighed in with a valuable 18 not out at the end in a total of 182-5.
Ritchie Howarth and Ibrar Ali had two wickets apiece for Honley, who got off to the worst possible start in reply when Matthew Wood was caught and bowled by France for nought with just six on the board.
Simon Kelly (48) and Michael Fraine (73) then shared in a 109-run stand for the second wicket and, with Danny Howard adding 22 in the middle, Honley moved up to only 11 runs short with four wickets down.
In a dramatic late collapse, however, they lost five wickets for seven runs to be held at 178-9 to crash out in incredible fashion.
Joining Golcar in the last eight are Scholes, who won the battle of the Premiership’s top two at Delph & Dobcross despite playing with 10 men due to the absence of Joe Lumb skipper Tom Brook.
Scholes, continuing their innings from 56-1 from 25 overs from the previous week, reached 149 thanks to a solid 48 at the top of the order from Tom Love and a valuable 29 in the middle from Australian Shane Mott.
Arron Lilley claimed four for 25 from 12 overs – Mike Smethurst had two wickets – but it wasn’t enough as Scholes’ new signings Mohammad Shah Nawaz and Iqbal Khan got to work with the ball.
Delph reached 97-4 and looked well set, but the former Mirfield Parish Cavaliers duo ripped through the lower batting to leave the home side 119 all out, Shah Nawaz claiming four for 18 from 13.1 overs and Khan four for 25 from 10.
Graeme Simpson top scored for Delph with 40, but last season’s beaten finalists are out.
So too are Kexborough as Slaithwaite put their league woes to one side to scored a fine seven-wicket victory at Hill Top.
Ijaz Khan and non-EU man Marcus Hainsworth were the stars of the show for the Colne Valley side, the former taking seven for 30 in 14 overs as Kexborough were dismissed for 167 – Luke Potter the best of the visiting batsmen with 46 and Mark Bray scoring 28.
Hainsworth was not to be unnerved in the reply, however, and by the time he was out he’d scored 90 and Slaithwaite were well on their way, John Booth and Khan being there at the end with 35 not out and 14 not out respectively.
Rastrick are through to the quarter-finals with a 23-run victory against Emley Clarence thanks to a fine captain’s innings from Matthew Lambert, who was out for exactly 100 off the last ball of the 50 overs.
Rastrick’s total of 197 – Nicky England had four for 60 and Alex Moors three for 60 – proved too much for Emley despite 33s from Patrick Moors and Daniel Onions, and the visitors closed on 174-7 thanks to some tight bowling from Ateeq-ul-Rehman (3-34 from 15 overs), Elliott Lawrie (2-38 from 15) and Tom Owen (2-25 from five).
In-form Sarfraz Ahmed (77 not out) and Tim Sykes (45 not out) took Skelmanthorpe to a 10-wicket home victory against Hall Bower, who were dismissed for 131 with Kris Whittaker taking four for 38 from his 10 overs.
Ben Dunne (47), Tom Cliffe (36) and Safwaan Mohammed (22) were the best of the Bower batsmen, but the bowlers could do nothing to shift the Skelmanthorpe openers.
Elland also cruised through as Lee Baxter scored 52 not out and Ryan Robinson an unbeaten 26 as they overhauled Meltham’s 91 all out for the loss of just three wickets.
Chief destroyer for Elland with the ball was leg-spinner Greg Buckley, who took six for 20 in 9.5 overs to wreck the home account – experienced keeper Dave Robinson top scoring with 32.
Runaway Cedar Court Conference leaders Hoylandswaine proved unstoppable in the cup, too, as they crushed Thongsbridge even without the services of Ian Simon.
Despite a four for 39 haul from Javed Iqbal, Hoylandswaine totalled 211-9 thanks to openers Liam Dickinson (48) and Clark Pickles (45), who put on 86 before Simon Chadburn boosted the scoring late on with 28 not out.
Thongsbridge were never in the hunt, being reduced to 34-4 and then 119 all out as Mandara Lakmal took four for 34 from 12 overs and James Pringle four for four from six.
Micklehurst and Holmfirth continue their tie tonight with the latter in control having posted 270 and reducing the home side to 100-5 in reply.