Mytholmroyd take Premier Division title on dramatic final day of the season in Halifax Cricket League
Mytholmroyd claimed the ENCO Halifax Cricket League Premier Division title after all the top three championship contenders lost their matches at the weekend.
Thornton beat Booth but, astonishingly, if the latter had claimed ten points or more it would have been champions.
Whilst the Royd, the last match apart, has had a terrific run-in and are to be congratulated it is hard to explain the poor performances of Triangle over the last month in capitulating after leading by nearly 20 points at one stage. As for Booth..........!
At the other end of the table Bradshaw was early winners at already relegated Shelf Northowram HT, thus retaining its top flight status which left Blackley and Sowerby Bridge battling it out at Lindley Road. Two stalwarts of the League in opposite camps, Steve Williams and Tim Helliwell, were jointly, figuratively and literally, watching a nail-biting contest that went to the next to the last ball – the Bridge escaping the drop in winning by one wicket.
At Moderna Way if Mytholmroyd thought that its match against Illingworth St Mary’s was going to be straightforward then Callum Cook (60), Matthew Smith (53) and Luke Brooksby (40) had other ideas and with other teammates it posted a challenging 262-9. It proved too many for Royd who could manage only 228 all out, despite sound knocks from Jack Earle (66) and Matthew Scholefield (52) - Ben Robertshaw taking 4-63.
Triangle entertained Warley who batted first and scored 217-8 with Gareth Standeven (69) and James Whitworth (60) top-scoring. Under normal situations at Grassy Bottom that should have proved easily achievable but the home team, despite a couple of players missing, has had a dreadful closure to the season and was 173 all out – Greg Keywood on top with 6-51. The tea-time score from Hill Top Road, of Booth 94 all out, rather indicated a team that was pleased its disappointing season was about to close and yet one wonders if it had had a crystal ball, regarding the scores of the two teams above it, whether a different approach would have been made? The match malaise continued when Thornton batted and soon 13 wickets had fallen for 119 runs in the match.
Unsurprisingly normal service resumed when Josh Hutchinson reached the middle and his 55 runs in only 28 balls ensured a home win at 97-5.
The one downside was that he just missed out on 1,000 league runs for the season with 989 but his all matches total of 1,330 runs simply echoed one word – class.
Bradshaw ensured its top flight safety with a comprehensive nine wickets win at already relegated Shelf Northowram HT.
The match lasted just over 50 overs as Jonathan Lister chose exactly the right time to achieve a personal best, as his figures of 10.5-4-18-7 demolished Hedge Top for 107 all out.
Charlie Holt-Conway (68 not out) and Jonny Sykes (39 not out) required just 66 balls to hit the 108-1 needed and maintain their team’s place in the 2022 Premier Division. Not so for Blackley where its home match versus Sowerby Bridge did a fair impression of a fast swinging pendulum.
The home was in trouble at 79-6 but veteran Michael Midwood came to the rescue with a belligerent 62 runs, that included four sixes, to push the 45 overs score to 164-7. In reply the Bridge score also did not look healthy at 63-5 but the middle order, missing for weeks, found its feet and led by Paul Smith, with 57 not out, managed to scrape a win and survival with a ball to spare at 165-9. SBCI, struggling at the start of the season, have impressed and improved as it progressed and closed with another excellent win to finish fifth. Copley was its latest victim at The Arches as, after scoring 191-6, it bowled its hosts out for 125 runs. Chris Dalby (66) Arun Kandy (65) and Alex Scholefield 4-17 taking the plaudits.
The First Division brought the tightest ever points promotion issue where, due to the enforced Covid-19 calculations, Luddendenfoot joined Great Horton PC in the top flight by the margin of 0.22 of a point!! Sowerby St Peter’s, leading for most of the season, were the unlucky third place team as it finished with 172 points against the Foot’s 172.22. Who would have thought that an escaped tiny bug in Wuhan China would have affected a final cricket league table in Yorkshire, some 20 months later? It could be argued that Sowerby should not have been in such a situation as it lost vital matches over the past few weeks, none more so on Saturday when it failed to chase, at Clayton, a 207-9 total set by the home team.
Chris Ramsden (67) and Matthew Roe (41) featured whilst Patrick Lennon took 4-45. However the visitors fell seven runs short of a win, and therefore promotion, as it could only muster 201-8. Too many of its batsmen failed to make decent contributions, Ryan Brook (81) and Hayden Bruce (32 not out) excepted, as five Clayton bowlers shared the wickets. The Foot, bowled out for only 128 at Horton, must have thought at that stage its promotion chance had been blown as the Bradford team ensured its first appearance in the Premier Division as champions by a margin of 16 points.
Both relegated teams, Upper Hopton and Mount lost to Low Moor HT and Oxenhope respectively, with the best performance in those matches coming from Trinity’s David Horsfall, who hammered 114 not out in 93 balls out of a 177-5 winning score.
In the Second Divivion champions Greetland had a careless, or maybe carefree, off day as it lost at home to Old Town so the focus switched to who joined it in next season’s First Division.
Southowram inexplicably succumbed to Stones by nine wickets – a score of 51 all out hardly one representing a team still in with a chance of promotion. Jack Westerby finished his season in style with a personal best return of 10.1-4-14-7. At that stage Stones itself still had a chance of promotion but it needed Queensbury to lose its home match with Cullingworth. The hosts batted first and posted a score of 228-7 with skipper Oliver Challis leading the way with a 101 run century, aided by Nick Richardson (56) as they enjoyed a 112 run fourth-wicket partnership.
Full credit to Cullingworth, who did not make it easy when it batted, and there were some worrying moments for Challis and Co as the visitors started off in style with openers Richard Leach (68) and Richard Nichols (48) setting a foundation. However, once they had been dismissed only Jack Rogers (35) really took up the challenge and it closed on 211-6, seventeen runs short as Gareth Walker took 4-37 – Queensbury promoted.
Elsewhere Leymoor defeated Augustinians by four wickets, as Colin Johnson took 6-27, whilst bad light spoiled an intriguing finish at Bradley and Colnebridge, in the best match of the day, where Bridgeholme visited. The home team batted first and with Iqrar Hussain in fine form, scoring 131 runs in 128 balls (9x4s 7 x 6s), a score of 315-7 posed a formidable target. The visitors more than took up the challenge and as Zaheer Abbas (40) and Awais Khalid (58) kept the score rolling it was Tuffique Butt who posed the biggest threat.
Alas his fine effort of 123 not out in 98 balls came to a disappointing end as, with 18 balls remaining and 23 runs required, bad light ended proceedings with Bridgeholme on a tantalising 294-8.