Skelmanthorpe's brief to Tom Beaton before he returns to Australia is simple: “Help us reach the Sykes Cup final.”

The 23-year-old all-rounder from Perth has to leave at the end of this month to play with Western Australia, so he won’t be around when the final is played on Sunday, August 10.

Beaton has proved a big hit at Lidgett Lane and he’s determined to produce his ‘A game’ in Sunday’s semi-final trip to Hoylandswaine (1pm).

Skipper James Crossland explained: “Tom has been brilliant for us – exactly what you want from your overseas pro – and it’s a shame he’s got to go back home before the end of the season, but he knows his brief before then.

“Tom has played some valuable innings for us throughout the season, doing a lot of the donkey work and taking us through, and he has complemented the likes of Tim Sykes, Paul Cummins and Irfan Amjad, who has come in and done a superb job.

“You always want to be at home in the Cup if possible, but Tom and the rest of the lads will be going over to Hoylandswaine very determined to do well.

“Hoylandswaine are a really good, strong side and it will be a tough game, but we are pretty strong as well and we are looking forward to it.”

Swaine have a star-studded side and are favourites to retain the silverware in the arrowselfdrive-sponsored competition under new skipper Michael Cranmer.

Hoylandswaine captain Michael Cranmer
Hoylandswaine captain Michael Cranmer
 

Crossland added: “Anything can happen in the Cup and I think it will be a belting game.

“We’ve been going pretty well and there is no reason to go there thinking we can’t win. We are going there with a very positive attitude, with some match-winners in our team and they will be in for a game, let’s put it that way.”

In the Drakes averages, Skelmanthorpe have the top batsman, top bowler and top wicketkeeper at the moment.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum, and we want to take that into the semi-final,” said Crossland, whose side visit Shelley in the Premiership on Saturday.

“We’ve been batting and bowling well, and the whole team seem to have found their feet, which is encouraging with half the season still to go.”

Amjad has 242 runs in just four innings for the club, averaging 80.67, while off-spinner Cummins leads the way with the ball having claimed 36 victims at just 8.31 apiece to add to his 452 runs at 32.

Luke Webster then has 20 victims behind the sticks, level will Kirkburton’s Shaun Woodhams, while Bjorn Taylor is over 300 runs for the season in addition to some wickets, and spinner Josh Ingham has weighed in with 22 wickets at 24.45 to back up Cummins and strike bowler Tuseif Arshad (36 wickets at 14.22).

While the other Sykes Cup semi-final features Golcar at home to Shepley, Skelmanthorpe also feature in Sunday’s Fired Up Paddock Shield semi-finals at Broad Oak.

“We’ve got a very, very good second team – they are almost a first team with some of the players they’ve got – and Joe Hinchliffe has done a great job with them,” said Crossland.

“They also got to the semi-finals of the Crowther Cup and have been on a very good run – three different players have made centuries this season, which speaks for itself – and if we could get both teams through to the finals then that would obviously be the ideal for us.”

The other Paddock Shield semi-final on Sunday is Shelley v Slaithwaite.

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