Top two in the clear

Mytholmroyd v Warley'Matthew Schofield 100
Mytholmroyd v Warley'Matthew Schofield 100

The opposition looks to be melting away as Thornton and Booth continue their scrap at the summit of the Spencer Wilson Halifax League.

The leading lights made it nine wins out of 10 yesterday with clear-cut successes after posting big scores batting first while chasing pair Warley and Triangle were both beaten.

The top two hold a 17-point lead over rivals who may now be looking more towards the Parish Cup for some silverware this season.

Josh Hutchinson is on target to join the 1,000-run club, having taken his tally to 565 in league games in 2018 with 127 not out in Thornton’s 112-run win away to Sowerby St Peter’s.

Hutchinson, one of the Premier Division’s most destructive batsmen, slammed 10 maximums in his side’s 273-5.

He followed up with 4-21 off six overs as Sowerby replied with 161, the rugby playing Hoyle brothers, Ben (34) and Matthew (46), tackling the visiting attack better than their teammates.

Booth, seeking a hat-trick of titles, remain two points behind Thornton after their anticipated win away to bottom side Bridgeholme.

The visitors made 399-6 with Jon Midgley (85), Robert Laycock (104) and long-serving Ian Sharkey (86) not about to pass up a golden opportunity for runs on a small ground.

Chris Kibble (43) and Sohail Sajjid (45) helped the bottom side to 133-3 but Nigel Horsfall (5-33) prevented them banking maximum batting points for reaching 180, claiming the final wicket on 179.

Warley lost by five wickets away to fellow Parish Cup semi-finalists Mytholmroyd, for whom opener Matthew Scholefield hit an unbeaten 100 to complete victory.

Scholefield hit 14 fours and four sixes after two of Mytholmroyd’s slower bowlers, James Cowens (4-47 off 18) and Adie Gawthrope (3-53), had limited the visitors to 181-8.

Triangle suffered a surprise five-wicket home defeat at the hands of a Shelf Northowram Hedge Top side they had beaten easily at the same venue in the cup quarter-finals six days earlier.

They must have been reasonably happy at tea, having posted 323 all out, but the visitors were up for the challenge and knocked off the runs.

Copley slipped into the bottom two when they lost by 49 runs at Southowram and SBCI followed up their win over Warley with a six-wicket home win over Oxenhope.

Dean Crossley and Dan Pummell hit 53 apiece as the Rams made 216.

Oliver Thorpe took 5-56 but his figures were bettered after tea by Tom Belfield, whose 6-52 helped dismiss Copley for 167. Belfield’s wickets included the key one of William Rushton for 72.

Lewis Hopkinson was the dominant figure in the first half at SBCI, the talented all-rounder making 140 out of Oxenhope’s 249-9.

Oliver and Ross Benson took four wickets each for SBCI with the former particularly inexpensive.

Lewis Firth made 54 at the top of the Church Institute’s order and Simon Wood’s 71 not out helped complete victory with 11 deliveries to spare.

Premier Division: Booth 399-6 (Rob Laycock 104, Sharkey 86, Midgley 85), *Bridgeholme 179 (Sajjid 45, Kibble 43, Horsfall 5-33): pts 12-3. Warley 181-6 (Cowens 4-47), *Mytholmroyd 182-5 (Scholefield 100*): pts 4-11. *Southowram 216 (Pummell 53*, Crossley 53, Thorpe 5-56), Copley 167 (Rushton 72, Belfield 6-52): pts 12-5. Oxenhope 249-9 (Hopkinson 140, O Benson 4-38, R Benson 4-76), *SBCI 250-4 (S Wood 71*, Firth 54, Dalby 41): pts 4-11. Thornton 273-5 (J

Hutchinson 127*, Burkill 44, R Soames 40*), *Sowerby St Peter’s 161 (Hoyle 46, J Hutchinson 4-26): pts 12-3. *Triangle 323, Shelf Northowram HT 324-5: pts 4-12.

Points (after 10 games): Thornton 108, Booth 106, Warley 89, Triangle 86, Mytholmroyd 81, Oxenhope 79, Shelf Northowram HT 70, Sowerby SP 68, Southowram 63, SBCI 55, Copley 53, Bridgeholme 34.