Greg Soames and Oliver Thorpe have been the Premier Division’s top performers so far this season and they kept up the good work with match-winning performances yesterday.
Soames took his tally to 35 wickets in seven matches with 7-41 to help Thornton to a five-wicket win away to second-placed Warley.
Last year’s runners-up have generally been misfiring apart from Soames, who sent Warley plunging from 49 without loss to 136 all out. It was a tale of woe for the home side apart from openers Chris Marsh (43) and Nolan Bottomley (20) and No 6 Greg Keywood (31).
Thornton were 4-2 in reply, bringing Josh Hutchinson to the crease. The renowned match winner made 93 not out, hitting eight maximums, to ensure Soames’ great work with the ball was rewarded.
Thorpe has 22 wickets and 427 runs to his name so far in 2019, his batting helping Copley to a four-wicket home win over Sowerby Bridge.
Thorpe made 90 not out and timed matters to perfection as his side topped Bridge’s 196-9 with just two deliveries to spare.
Bridge took the early honours as Lewis Mattock (62) and Tim Helliwell (46) helped their side to 126-1. Thorpe, Gavin Whipp and Josh Wrigley took three wickets each as the visitors failed to cash in on their solid start.
Thorpe came in at No 3 and face 133 deliveries, receiving good support from experienced Mark Baldwin (39) as Copley emerged victorious.
Illingworth extended their lead at the top to seven points with a comprehensive win over SBCI at Jammy Green.
Put into bat on a slightly damp surface, the home side lost Matty Smith to the first ball of the day.
Stand-in opener Richard Farrell Smith made the most of his opportunity with an attractive 58, putting on 84 for the second wicket with Hamza Mehmood (38).
Ben Robertshaw (38) and Luke Brooksby (34) lifted the score to 171 before Veryan Brooksby, playing with a damaged finger, hit a swash buckling undefeated 30 off 12 balls to lift the score to a challenging 206.
Ollie Benson was the pick of the visiting bowlers with 3-52.
SBCI were always behind the clock in reply and when Simon Wood sacrificed his wicket in an attempt to accelerate the run rate for a well constructed 53, the game was slipping away at 116-6.
Daniel Brock offered some late resistance with 24 but Luke Brooksby’s pace was too much for the tail as Illingworth seized full points with five balls to spare. Matthew Watson was instrumental in SBCI’s downfall with a first XI best of 5-52 in 14 overs.
After a poor start, champions Booth have moved ominously into second place. Their 116-run win at Shelf Northowram HT wasn’t quite as straightforward as their victory margin suggests.
Booth were tottering at 161-6 on a normally high scoring ground but Rob Laycock was still there and he went on to make 115 not out in a total of 260-7.
Usman Saghir slapped four sixes in an unbeaten 26 off six balls at the end to help give the scoreboard a very different look and he followed up with 3-23 off 14 overs as the hosts replied with 144.
Shelf-Northowram looked set to mount a challenge at 44-0 but once skipper Dan Cole (31) was controversially given out caught behind his opener partner Keir Kitjens (71 not out) was left to fight a lone battle as Moazzam Ayub (6-34) tore through the home ranks.
Three points separate five teams at the foot of the Premier with Sowerby St Peters and Mytholmroyd among them after their meeting.
Sowerby have had a torrid time recently but they got back on an even keel by bowling out ‘Royd for 113 after making 171-9 themselves.
Aiden Green’s painstaking 49 proved valuable for the home side as Royd, 26-4 at one stage, saw a partially recovery halted when Chris Punda (4-19) polished them off. Taufeeq Ahmed took four wickets and scored 25 for the visitors.
Oxenhope made it four league wins on the bounce with a four-wicket win at Triangle,
A quick win looked a possibility when Liam Dyson (4-59) had Triangle 71-5 on a ground famed for its big scores but Dan Crosland (60) and Mark Uttley (55) lifted the home total to 202.
Oxenhope were 60-4 in reply but a 90-run stand between Lewis Hopkinson (69) and Chris Kibble (56 not out) set up the visitors’ win.
Premier Division: Sowerby Bridge 196-9 (Mattock 62, Helliwell 46), *Copley 198-6 (Thorpe 90no): pts 4-11. *Illingworth St Mary’s 206-6 (R Smith 58), SBCI 161 (S Wood 53, M Watson 5-52): pts 12-3. Booth 260-7 (Rob Laycock 115no), *Shelf Northowram HT 144 (Litjens 71no, Ayub 6-34): pts 12-4. *Sowerby St Peter’s 171-9 (Green 49, Ahmed 4-64), Mytholmroyd 113 (Punda 4-19): pts 12-3. *Triangle 202 (Crosland 60, Uttley 55, Madded 40, Dyson 4-59), Oxenhope 203-6 (Hopkinson 67, Kibble 56no): pts 4-12. *Warley 136 (Marsh 43, Soames 7-41), Thornton 137-5 (J Hutchinson 93no): pts 2-12.
Points (after seven matches): Illingworth 70, Booth 63, Copley 61, Oxenhope 56, Warley 56, Shelf Northowram Hedge Top 50, Thornton 49, Mytholmroyd 46, Sowerby St Peters 45, Triangle 44, Sowerby Bridge 43, SBCI 43.