The Sunday section overcame a spirited fightback by fellow promotion chasing Northowram Hedge Top to claim a sixteen point win and retain top spot in the Sunday division two table. The victory was thanks to some assured top order batting with three players making half centuries.
The were four changes from the side that picked up maximum points against Sowerby the previous week with Simon Wood
, Jon Hampshire
, Paul Keighley
coming into the side as well as Lewis Firth
who was a late replacement for the injured Callum Bowmer
. Unlike the previous week, where we appeared to be short on batting, we looked to be lacking in depth in the bowling department. With that in mind, and amongst the backdrop of morning and early afternoon showers which meant a delayed start and a lively looking wicket, captain for the day Dave Brown would have asked the opposition to bat had he won the toss.
Of course, the opposition captain called correctly, and we were asked to bat first. Lewis and John Greenwood
opened proceedings and both carried on their form from their previous innings sharing in a 111 run opening stand, with Lewis being the main run scorer in the partnership sending the ball to the fence on no fewer than sixteen occasions including one maximum. A fast scoring opening partnership meant that our run rate of over six an over saw us reach the hundred run mark inside the first fifteen overs, with the maximum batting points on offer a near certainty. After Lewis miscued one and was caught for 84, Simon Wood
came in and carried on the good work. Never one to pass up on taking quick singles and turning one's into two's, Simon and John shared an eighty three run partnership with John accelerating his score to 59 including two sixes including one that easily cleared the leg side boundary down the bottom side of the pitch despite us playing on the top pitch. Both had passed their half century when John was caught having made 59. This brought Jon Hampshire
to the crease and together with Woody sent the score on by 47 before they misjudged a second run to mid-wicket and Simon was run out. With Jon making 29 before being clean bowled and Paul Keighley
and Brad Holt
sharing an unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 20 with Paul making 24 not out, our biggest score of the season looked to be more than enough for any opposition.
In testing conditions, following the tea break, the side struggled early on with Lewis bowling up the hill and into a pretty strong breeze. We finally managed to remove their opener with the score on 76 with Simon Wood
on as first change getting him trapped in front for 34. This didn't see the end to our problems as the second wicket pair put on 96 before Greeny took a chance behind the timbers to give Lewis a well deserved wicket. At the other end, Andy Boocock
was his normal economical self bowling ten overs for a miserly twenty runs and taking one wicket in the process. The Hedge Top opening batter was still at the crease and had rapidly made a half century and was looking to turn it into a three figure score. With half of the overs gone, it looked to be anyone's game with the score on 112 for 1 with plenty of batters still to come and the opposition making the most of the occasional loose delivery. That wasn't to say that the Northowram innings wasn't without incident with at least half a dozen chances dropping short or a couple of yards either side of the fielder or edges making their way to the boundary. The introduction of Brad Holt
into the attack saw the game swing in our favour bowling six overs for 26 and taking the all important wicket of the aforementioned opener, for 92. Despite starting explosively and scoring rapidly, he slowed his scoring rate considerably once he had reached the mid eighty run mark.
That priceless wicket effectively ended the game as a contest with Northowram quite happy to see out the remaining overs and deny us the chance of another maximum point return. We did get close though, with Simon returning for another three wickets, one courtesy of another caught behind from Mr Greenwood, Brian effecting a run out with a great throw from the mid wicket boundary and Paul Keighley
somehow clinging onto a skier whilst looking directly into the sun. He also took a wicket bowling the final over of the day with his 'occasional' off spin which bamboozled the Hedge Top batter with his flight, drift, loop, spin and bounce to send the bails flying. In the four balls left we were unfortunately, unable to dislodge the last man and so ended up winning by a comfortable 73 runs and a very satisfying 16 point win.
This result sees us consolidate our position at the top of the table, with a decent gap opening between the top two and third. Two out of the next three weeks matches are morning starts (30 overs a side) with Booth providing the opposition twice in the next fortnight.
Fielding mark:- Paul Keighley