Title hopefuls Midgley United and Ryburn United refused to be blown off course in the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL on Saturday.
In very windy conditions, Midgley won 2-0 at home to Sowerby Bridge and Ryburn crushed hosts Holmfield AFC 5-0.
The pair moved into the top two positions in the Premier Division with previous leaders Stump Cross on cup duty.
The first half at Midgley Rec finished goalless, Andrew Butterworth and Tom Booth hitting the woodwork for the hosts and lowly Bridge’s best effort coming from Martin Bates, whose shot struck Calum Rodgers.
Midgley got on top after the break and went in front after 55 minutes. Dean Park handled on the line - Midgley thought the ball had crossed it - and Andrew Butterworth followed up to score after Danny Jennings had blocked his penalty.
Ian Hudson and James Adey were outstanding for the home side and it was the former who completed the scoring with 10 minutes left following Shaun Frewin’s perfectly-weighted pass.
Holmfield are haemorrhaging goals in alarming fashion and Christian Silkstone bagged four against them for Ryburn, Reece Uttley getting the other.
The wind was so strong that Ryburn keeper Ash Rayner took a dead ball kick in the first half, down the slope, which blew back behind him for a corner.
Playing against the elements didn’t stop the visitors from taking a 2-0 interval lead, Silkstone twice adding finishes to quality crosses from right back John Wadsworth.
Silkstone completed his hat-trick in stunning style, crashing the ball into the top corner after it had arrived over his shoulder.
Ryburn brought on their three subs at that stage and one of them, Uttley, mopped up from the edge of the box after Silkstone’s effort had been blocked by the ‘keeper.
Silkstone bagged his fourth 10 minutes from the end.
Chris Conroy scored another hat-trick, taking his tally for the season to 27, as runaway Division One leaders Northowram overcame promotion outsiders Elland Allstars 5-1.
In a wind that would have discouraged many kite fliers, the Rams made the perfect start up the slope at Northowram Rec with a goal after four minutes.
James Fearnley’s quick throw-in found Conroy and his turn and low cross was converted by Danny King from close range.
Ross Risdon cleared off the line to prevent an equaliser, after which there was little of note until the half hour mark when Allstars drew level.
A slip by Matthew Rushworth let in Ash Smith. The defender made a fine recovery tackle, only for the ball to land at the feet of Connor Bell who shot straight at James Bunn but the ball squirmed over the line.
The Rams’ response was immediate, Mark Eade’s persistence enabling Conroy to scoop home the loose ball.
Five minutes from half-time, and with the wind strengthening, good build-up play between Danny Rushworth and Eade left Conroy in the clear and his assured finish gave the Rams a 3-1 lead.
There were few clear-cut chances in the second half as the Rams over hit passes and Allstars’ shorter passing game fell foul of a glutinous pitch.
Mark Eade went close and Bell was unlucky, showing great technique to bring a shoulder-high ball under control and firing a low shot against the foot of the post.
As the rain swept in, Alex O’Keefe brought a good save from the keeper and Conroy put the rebound over the top from close-in whilst Bunn’s smart save kept out Bell’s free kick.
The Rams clinched the game with two goals in the last five minutes. O’Keefe, after neat close control, fired over the ‘keeper and defensive uncertainty let in Conroy.
Salem moved level on points with inactive second-placed club Shelf United thanks to a 3-1 win over fellow Savile Park side Volunteer Arms.
Tyson Illingworth, Liam Huson and Adam Gaze scored for Salem with Greg Thomas getting his 10th of the season in reply.
Wadsworth lifted themselves off the bottom and up three places with a 3-0 home success against Halifax Irish Centre, who are now at the foot of the table.
Adam Brown gave Wadsworth the lead after 30 minutes with a lob or cross from 30 yards.
The home side, who were without substitutes, had to play with 10 men in the second half when Steve Lee was injured.
That didn’t stop them from extending their lead through David Bamford, who finished well, and centre back Kieron Sim, who won the ball on the edge of his own area and sped down the pitch before side-footing past the Irish ‘keeper.
Only one game went ahead in Division Two and AFC Crossleys took a giant stride towards the title with a 5-4 home success against main rivals Spring Hall Celtic.
Tom Boyle and Chris Woodhouse scored twice each for the winners, who now lead Celtic by four points having played one game more.
Des Morris got Crossleys’ other goal and Ahsan Farooq (two), Terriq Pervez and Sameer Ahmed were on target for the visitors.
Leaders Brighouse Sports and third-placed West Central won the two games in Division Three.
Brighouse stretched their advantage over Shelf FC, who have played one game more, to five points with a 4-0 win away to St Columbas.
Borhan Doski got his 20th of the season and Brighouse’s other goals came from Connor Durkin, Michael Balmforth and Nathan Shaw.
Brighouse boss Gary West said: “We are in the driving seat but I would never say we are comfortable.”
Durkin’s goal, the only one of the first half as Brighouse played against the wind, was the best as he shot under the ‘keeper from the edge of the box after some good passing.
West Central’s slick passing game was suited to an artificial surface at Calderdale College and they won 5-1 against a Salem Reserves side they had drawn 2-2 against in the Savile Park mud recently.
The first half somehow finished 0-0 with both sides playing attacking football.
Salem’s Steve Hawksworth was slightly the busier keeper but his back four of Brad Cahill, Rob Worthington, Howard Walker and Tom Jenkins limited a lively Central side to a few wind-assisted efforts.
Salem appeared to have done the hard work but within 90 seconds of the resumption skipper Worthington was robbed by Shabaz Ali, who fired the home side in front.
Five minutes later Jenkins put through his own goal, under pressure from Zameer Asif, but Dave Holcroft played in Calum Burnside, who curled the ball round the keeper to make it 2-1 with an hour gone.
With the weather deteriorating fast , Lamin Jannah Junior cashed in on Howard Walker’s sloppy pass across his own area.
Josh Skinner dragged a penalty well wide for Salem but it was becoming one-way traffic and Ali and Awais Harron added to West Central’s tally, Hawksworth limiting the damage with numerous one-on-one saves.
Stump Cross look favourites for the Skircoat Green Physiotherapy Challenge Cup after beating Greetland 3-0 away in Saturday’s battle of the heavyweights in the third round.
Goals from Ben Hiley, Damian Watkins and Tom Robinson earned Stump a semi-final against Copley United. Sowerby United play second division outfit Mixenden United in the other game.