Hoylandswaine took a big step towards winning the Drakes League title by opening an 11-point gap at the top – even without talented skipper Michael Cranmer.
The Aussie all-rounder – who is expected back for next Sunday’s Sykes Cup final against Golcar after treatment for a knee sprain – sat out a thrilling five-run victory in a reduced-overs clash with nearest rivals Shepley at Marsh Lane, but his men still did the business in a classic encounter.
Swaine were in all sorts of trouble with the bat early on as Kenya international Duncan Allan took five for 74 and Shepley skipper Danny Glover four for 76, but the visitors were pulled round by a Ryan Robinson half century and 26 from Gharib Nawaz to reach 163-9.
Allan with 33, former Swaine player Amar Rashid with 34 and captain Glover with 51 edged Shepley towards their target, but Yasir Abbas took four for 48 and stand-in skipper Richard Wilkinson three for 18 to peg them just short.
Swaine now have 75 points compared with Shepley’s 64 and, even with Scholes and Barkisland just two points further back after wins against Elland and Skelmanthorpe respectively, it looks a commanding position to hold.
Alex Scholefield and Matt Steers did the damage for Barkisland, after they had totalled 137-9 against Elland at Woodfield, where the visitors’ Wasim Qasim took six for 51.
Luke Bridges (28) and Scholefield (26) held the Barkisland batting together and Ashton Blakey tried to do the same for Elland, but Scholefield had four for 50 and spinner Steers four for 49 to dismiss them 12 short of the target.
Kiwi Pete Drysdale his a fine 106 not out in to ensure victory for Scholes in a 32-over clash at Lidgett Lane, where Skelmanthorpe posted 185-7 thanks to a classy 77 from Irfan Amjad and a hard-hitting 49 from keeper Luke Webster.
Adam France picked up five for 70 for Scholes, who made a solid reply thanks to Drysdale and in-form Joe Lumb skipper Toby Booth (43) before Tom Brook hit a flurry of sixes to put them ahead of the rate. Drysdale then saw them over the line in fine style with his first ton of an excellent season.
At the bottom of the table, Aussie Nathan Freitag is the toast of Slaithwaite after helping lift them out of the relegation placings and creating a four-point lead over Meltham.
Freitag hit 79 and Chris Kilner 34 as Slaithwaite totalled 174-4 at bottom club Holmfirth, and the Melbourne-based all-rounder who is trying out for Tasmania at first-class level when he returns home then picked up six for 77 as Holmfirth were bowled out for 135.
The win lifted them above Meltham, who were crushed by a six for 41 haul by Martin Sykes as Shelley picked up all six points.
Shelley posted 203-7 thanks to 60 from Jonathan Hart and an unbeaten stand between skipper Greg Wadsworth (43no) and Ibrar Younas (40no). Young Jack Hinchliffe was the best of the Meltham bowlers with three for 17.
Only Darren Hinchliffe with 28 showed much resistance to Sykes when Meltham replied and they were all out for 113.
At Delph, Greg Buckley hit an unbeaten 62 and new signing Charlie Roebuck (from Kirkburton) 34 not out to take them past Golcar’s 178-6 in which Steve Whitwam hit 51 and Jake Lockwood 39 – Craig Fletcher picking up three for 87.
Kirkburton lost by four wickets at Honley after posting 145-5 thanks to Iqbal Khan’s unbeaten 65 and 25 from Usman Malvi.
While Lewis Richardson took three for 26 for the visitors, Eddie Wilson built on his century against Slaithwaite with 72 more and skipper Simon Kelly hit 56 to ensure five points for the hosts.
In the Jedi Sports Championship, Broad Oak tightened their grip on the title race as both Moorlands and Marsden suffered defeats while they won by 18 runs at Clayton West.
Jack Pulley hit 53 as the Oak reached 152-6, Jacob Hawke taking five of those at a cost of 77. Stuart Rank with 42 was the best of the home batsmen as they fell for 134, Jarryd Vernon taking four for 33 and Daniel Rushworth three for 31.