Title race blown open as 1st XI lose to second-placed Sowerby Bridge
Jamie Moorhouse's second hat trick of the season in vein after poor batting performance
In the top of the table clash at The Ainleys, nerves seemed to get hold of batsmen from both sides in a bizarre game. 19 wickets fell for just 113 runs as the visitors clinched a one wicket win by the skin of their teeth.
Asked to bat first on a pitch which had been well protected from the Friday night rain, Illingworth got off to the worst possible start losing two wickets in the very first over. Jake Dixon seemed to have a mesmerising hold as he removed Calum Cook and Daniel Murfet in quick succession and when Sam Mellor added two more in his second over Illingworth were in dire trouble at 7 for 4. Worse was to follow as that score rapidly became 15 for 7 in just the tenth over and which was scarcely credible to a decent crowd.
A brief rally between Jamie Moorhouse and skipper Ben Robertshaw doubled the score but when Robertshaw was adjudged lbw there seemed no way back at 31-8. Moorhouse and Adam Mellor continued a recovery of sorts and became the only home batsmen to reach double figures but when Moorhouse was out for 24 the end was not long in coming. Mellor was left not out on 14 with the home side posting their smallest total of the season at 56 in just 19 overs. Jake Dixon 6-36 and Sam Mellor 4-18 doing all the damage.
If the first half had been barely believable, the second half did as much if not more to out do the first. Needing a solid start Sowerby Bridge, got the exact opposite with a bizarre run out in the very first over which sent opener Paul Smith back to the pavilion without scoring. Nerves were steadied as Tim Helliwell looked in little trouble and at 26 for 1 the visitors looked home and dry.
The introduction of Daniel Murfet brought a couple of wickets and, even when Helliwell (18 ) hit Moorhouse straight to Luke Brooksby, a bowling point looked like the only reward for the home team at 34 for 4. Jamie Moorhouse had other ideas as his second hat trick of the season threatened to turn the tables as Bridge slumped to 48 for 7. Hearts were really pumping as two more wickets fell before James Holdsworth managed to steer his side home to the tightest of victories with an undefeated 19, only the fourth player on both sides to reach double figures. Bridge picked up 12 points to Illingworth's two which barely reflected the closeness of the result and pulls Bridge to within 8 points of the leaders. Jamie Moorhouse was unlucky to be on the losing side finishing with 5-15.