THORNTON face a big nine days in their quest for a breakthrough first major trophy in the Halifax League.
The Hill Top Road club, who switched from the Bradford Central League for the 2003 season and promptly won the lower of the two divisions at that time, have established themselves as one of the league’s stronger clubs on the back of their ability to produce good young players.
Strong performances from the likes of Josh Hutchinson, Ben Harris, Ross Soames and Nikki Hutchinson this season have helped the Greg Soames-led side to second place in the Premier Division and the Parish Cup semi-finals on Sunday week.
The second half of the league programme starts tomorrow and Thornton face a crunch contest at home to leaders Triangle, followed by trips to bottom club Old Crossleyans and Copley in the cup the following weekend.
Thornton secretary and second team batsman Peter Butterfield believes his club are stronger now than they have ever been in the Halifax League and capable of winning some silverware.
“We have a good nucleus of young players and as a club we are very proud of them,” he said.
“We want to win both trophies but one would be nice because we have not won anything in the Halifax League since we got into the Premier.
“Hopefully this will be a breakthrough year for us and if do win something it might encourage us to go on and win some more.”
Thornton trail Triangle by nine points after both lost last week, Soames’s side’s run of four successive 10-point wins being ended by improving Copley.
Butterfield believes the clash with Triangle is important rather than crucial, bearing in mind that there will still be 10 rounds of fixtures to go after tomorrow.
“We want to keep as close to Triangle as we can but if we don’t win it won’t be the end of the world,” he said.
Thornton expect to be at full strength against Carl Fletcher’s visitors and will not lack incentive with memories of the teams’ meeting on the opening day of the season still relatively fresh in the mind.
Thornton must have been pretty confident of victory when they rattled up 360 for five with big scores from Josh Hutchinson, Soames and Mark Exley, and then reduced Triangle to 66 for three.
However, a 49-ball century from Christian Silkstone and 81 not out from Jack Gledhill saw the hosts home with three wickets and 10 balls to spare.
There are not too many similarities between Triangle’s petite valley bottom ground and Thornton’s lofty, rather exposed base, where spectators had a rare chance to emerge from the club’s refurbished clubhouse last weekend and bask in the sunshine on a new patio area.
Thornton will still be on their guard with Butterfield saying his men were well aware of the threat posed by a powerful Triangle side who were used to pushing for honours.
Just how 54-wicket pair Harris and Hutchinson fare tomorrow against the likes of Silkstone, Steve Senior and Dan Crosland - who have scored more than 1,500 league runs between them this season - could have a big say as to the outome.
HALIFAX under 17s will hope to be at the top of their game on Sunday when they play fellow unbeaten side Barnsley in their last Group C game at Penistone CC (1.0).
The match is a ‘winner takes all’ contest. Halifax top of the section with a played three won three record and Barnsley are also undefeated after two victories and a rained off match.
This means Halifax are two points clear but three points are up for grabs on Sunday.
The victors will progress into the semi-finals and face the winners of Division A with the York League current favourites.
The squad is the 11 players on duty in the latest game, when Halifax chased down 233 to beat Wetherby by three wickets, plus Harry Reynolds, who was unavailable.
Halifax: B Atkinson (Warley), F Fox (Blackley), F Hammond (Copley), C Hyland (SBCI), L Keywood (Warley), K Litjens (Northowram HT), S Mellor (Sowerby Bridge), E Mercer (Illingworth), M Scholefield (SBCI), H Reynolds (Old Crossleyans), D Syme (Sowerby St P), O Thorpe (Copley). Meet Crossley Heath 11.15.
P W A L Pts
Halifax 3 3 0 0 9
Barnsley 3 2 1 0 7
Scarborough 3 1 1 1 4
Doncaster 2 0 0 2 0
Wetherby 3 0 0 3 0