Illingworth St Mary’s and Sowerby Bridge booked their tickets to the Halifax League’s Premier Division in 2019 with wins in contrasting fashions on Saturday.
Former Aire/Wharfe side Illingworth needed only a couple of points to make it back-to-back promotions but had to fight hard for a 16-run success over third-placed Great Horton Park Chapel at The Ainleys.
Bridge, meanwhile, had an emphatic seven-wicket success at Blackley and will go into next week’s final fixtures in this section eight points behind Illingworth in the quest for the silverware.
Illingworth were sent in to bat and tight bowling limited them to 70-2 at drinks. Run machine Daniel Murfett then departed for 24, having reached 1,000 runs for the season, and when Luke Brooksby fell to a brilliant catch the North Halifax side looked in deep trouble at 86-4 with 16 overs remaining.
Hamza Mehmood (43) and skipper Ben Robertshaw (47) came to the rescue with a fifth wicket partnership of 52 and Callum Cook, batting with a damaged hand, made a brisk undefeated 22 and helped add 43 in the last six overs.
Illingworth scraped a third batting bonus point but a target of 183 seemed below par.
Great Horton’s innings was pretty much a carbon copy of the home team’s in the early stages. They were 78-2 at half way, and dropped catches didn’t help the home cause as the score progressed to 100-2.
The visitors wobbled to 104-4 but anchor Adam Beesley (58 no) helped them to 140-4. Ben Robertshaw stuck with his opening bowlers and Murfett and Moorhouse rewarded him with 4-78 as Horton’s effort faded away, a brilliant run out from Mehmood with an inch perfect throw from the boundary aiding his side’s cause.
Sowerby Bridge slow bowler Jake Dixon had his second six-wicket haul in three Saturdays and Sam Mellor mopped up the other four to dismiss Blackley for 82 with Bilal Sheraz and the returning Matty Britton the only batsmen in double figures.
Bridge lost three early wickets before Joshua Wood (28 no) and James Holdsworth (20 no) completed victory.
Queensbury are going down fighting, the next-to-bottom side winning by three wickets on a greenish track at Clayton.
Visiting skipper Josh Dougall certainly liked the conditions, taking 6-25. He was supported by pace-man Joe Clough (3-84) as Clayton’s innings closed on 164 with Joseph Brown’s 47 the top offering.
Queensbury were 16-2 but Oliver Challis shored up the innings again with 71 not out. Harris Cunningham, aged 14, stood up well to the threat from Sam Wilson (6-51) with 20 to help see Queensbury over the line for only the third time this year.
Bradshaw had been well beaten by Illingworth the previous week but showed little mercy to bottom side Stones.
They piled up 326-6 at Swift cross thanks to Dean Cotton (138), Connor Ryan (55) and James Thompson (50). Stones managed only 82 in reply, Aaron Buckley finishing with 5-8.
Scores: *Blackley 82 (Dixon 6-41, Mellor 4-28), Sowerby Bridge 83-3: pts 0-12. *Clayton 164 (Brown 47, Dougall 6-25), Queensbury 165-7 (Challis 71*, Wilson 6-51): pts 4-12. *Illingworth St Mary's 183-8 (Robertshaw 47, Mehmood 43), Great Horton PC 167 (Beesley 58*, Moorhouse 4-78, Murfet 4-78): pts 12-4. Bradshaw 323-6 (Cotton 138, Ryan 55, Thompson 50, Collins 46), *Stones 87 (Buckley 5-8): pts 12-1.
Points: Illingworth SM 206, Sowerby Bridge 198, Great Horton PC 175, Clayton 161, Bradshaw 146, Blackley 113, Queensbury 85, Stones 46
Mount look poised to go up from Division Two as champions in their second season of Halifax League cricket.
The Dewsbury side won their top of the table match at Luddenden Foot by 37 runs on Saturday to confirm their promotion.
A fine day and dry pitch mean a high-scoring affair was always on the cards at High Lea Green and Mount set the ball rolling by posting 361-9, Mahmad Gheewala (94) took his season’s total to 1,055 at an average 81.15.
He was ably supported at the top of the order by Imran Ravat (47) and Imran Rawat (42) and four more batsmen topped 20.
Foot were not going down without a fight and Tom Hosker (86) and Lee Broadbent (85) led the counter-thrust. Hayden Bruce added 50 but scoreboard pressure told and Foot fell short.
Upper Hopton closed to within two points of Foot in a battle for the second promotion place with a 177 run win over Cullingworth and look to have the easier remaining fixtures.
David Stones (60) and Ian Wightman (76) sets things up nicely for Jack Stephenson, whose 94 not out, took the game away from their nine-man foes.
Chasing 301, Steve Welch batted admirably for 55 but his efforts were in vain as Cullingworth were bowled out for 124.
Low Moor ended Bradley and Colnebridge’s promotion hopes with a three-run win. Low Moor posted 243-8 with 61 from Mark Stokes and 33 from James Overend. Andrew Mitchell bowled through and took 4-84.
Bradley’s reply faltered but Abubaker Iftikhar (66) gave them hope, only for Ryan Williamson (3-39) and James Overend (3-31) to give Moor victory in a tense finale.
Leymoor dominated against Outlane. Jack Roberts carried his bat with 120 and Martin Allison (65) and Pierce Walker (48 no) provided support as Leymoor accrued 290-2.
Outlane lost their top three for a total of 12 runs. Luke Webb (42) and James Page (27) stabilised things but the tail fell to Mitchell Phillips (3-15).
Old Town managed only 121 against Greetland with Mushtaq Mohammed (4-49) and Hizar Hayat (5-44) doing the damage.
However, it was then the turn of the Greetland batsmen to struggle and they capitulated to 100 all out, Abdul Ghaffer Baig taking 4-6.
Scores: *Bradley & Colnebridge 240 (I Hussain 56, A Iftikhar 66), Low Moor HT 243-8 (Stokes 61, Mitchell 4-84): pts 5-12. Old Town 121 (Hayat 5-44, Mohammed 4-49), *Greetland 100 (Baig 4-6): pts 12-4. Mount 361-9 (Gheewala 94, Ravat 47, Rawat 42), *Luddenden Foot 324 (Hosker 86, Broadbent 85, Bruce 50, Mayat 4-81): pts 12-5. Leymoor 290-2 (Roberts 120no, Allison 65, Walker 48no), *Outlane 140 (Webb 42): pts 12-2. *Upper Hopton 301-6 (Stephenson 94*, I Wightman 76, Stones 60), Cullingworth 124 (Welch 55, Broadbent 5-28) played at Stainland: pts 12-2.
Points (after 20): Mount 197, Luddenden Foot 178, Upper Hopton 176, Old Town 155, Bradley & Colnebridge 151, Leymoor 142, Low Moor 136, Outlane 119, Greetland 87, Cullingworth 47.