Thornton leave fancied Copley stuck in the starting blocks

COPLEY’S worrying start to the season in the Towergate Halifax League continued on Saturday when they mustered only 78 at Thornton and were crushed by nine wickets.

Mohammed Seraj’s Parish Cup holders had been comprehensively beaten at SBCI on the opening day and with just five points in the bag from three games - one of them washed out - they are already eight points adrift at the foot of the Premier Division table.

Thornton had also disappointed in their opener, at home to Sowerby, but were on top from the moment Josh Hutchinson bowled Chris Dennison with five runs on the board.

Number 10 Richard Turner top scored for Copley with 18 before falling to four-wicket Ben Harris.

Ian Hartley removed Nikki Hutchinson with six scored in reply but Ross Soames (38 no) and Mick Shanks (34 no) completed the job for Thornton in just the 14th over of the reply.

Sowerby, the only top section team with two wins on the board before Saturday, remain top in spite of losing by 36 runs at Blackley.

Middle-order men Barry Hawksworth (32), Dan Houldin (38) and Jon Stenson (49 no) helped the hosts to 190 for eight and that proved enough with Ibi Mir, Paul Dowle and Bilal Sheraz taking all 10 wickets between them in reply.

Gareth Standeven made 40 at the top of the order for Sowerby.

Blackley share second spot with champions Triangle, who shrugged off their surprise defeat at home to Bradshaw the previous week with a 32-run success at SBCI.

It was far from plain sailing, however. Triangle lost openers Steve Senior and Dan Crosland for ducks and were grateful to a knock of 67 from ex-Mytholmroyd skipper Jon Lord, who added 79 for the third wicket with Christian Silkstone (40).

SBCI debutant Matthew Hoyle, back quicker than expected after a serious injury playing for Old Brodleians RUFC, then took five for 49 and he and Jamie Sykes (three for eight) left SBCI needing 154 for victory.

That proved beyond the home side, even though they were looking good when Sam Hinchliffe’s 36 helped them to 64 for one.

Pacemen Kurtis Whippey and Robert Cole, both back in the Triangle ranks this summer, took four wickets apiece to send SBCI sliding to 121 all out, aided by three slip catches from Gary Rodger.

Warley, Booth and Sowerby Bridge all registered away wins.

Warley belatedly got their season under way at Jer Lane and hit the ground running, dismissing the hosts for 117 with four wickets each from Aussie Dean Auciello and veteran campaigner Rob Keywood.

Michael Midwood was fourth out for 45 with the total on 79 in reply, Chris Marsh (20 no) and Keywood’s son Greg (21 no) wrapping up a six-wicket success.

Booth won by the same margin at Bradshaw, who recovered from 34 for five to reach 160 for nine with 63 from the previous week’s bowling hero Chris Shannon and 40 from Lee Broadbent.

Opening bowler Rick Laycock took five for 43 for Booth and his 21 not out in company with Andy Truscott (31 no) completed victory after Laycock’s older brother Rob (50) and four-wicket Aaron Buckley had taken the honours earlier in Booth’s reply.

It was tighter for Sowerby Bridge at Southowram, even though the visitors were only chasing 127 to win.

Kiwi Matthew Scott (39) and Andy Measey (29) fared best of the home batsmen but Ashton Richardson, Steve Shannon and J.Dixon accounted for a succession of batsmen after Southowram had reached 90 for two.

Bridge lost wickets more steadily and took only 25 runs off 20 overs from Safir Hussain at one end but Richard Price’s 37 not out proved the match-winning innings.

POINTS (after three games): Sowerby SP 21, Blackley 19, Triangle 19, Sowerby Bridge 18, Thornton 18, Booth 18, Bradshaw 17, Warley 16, Southowram 15, SBCI 15, Jer Lane 13, Copley 5.