Elsecar top as title race turns upside down

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In a big turnaround, Elsecar are now favourites to win the South Yorkshire League title after going top for the first time this season on the penultimate Saturday.

However, they missed out on a double yesterday when local rivals Whitley Hall pipped them by two wickets in the Yorkshire Council Championship Play-off Final.

The Premier Division title race has been turned completely on its head after Elsecar beat the long time leaders Wickersley who had been pulled back to the rest two weeks ago by the 21 points deduction imposed by the League following a second disciplinary hearing for the club this season.

Elsecar’s five wicket win over Wickersley on Saturday means they go top of the table and with Whitley Hall only obtaining two points because their game at Treeton ended early due to rain, Elsecar go into their final game at Wath with a two point lead and a great chance of winning their 18th title which was Wickersley’s until the disciplinary punishment.

Wickersley were dismissed for 142 at Armroyd Lane (Lesroy Weekes 36, Mick Donson 31, Rob Jones 3-32) and Elsecar made sure of the full seven-point haul with Ainsley Swallow’s 71 guiding them towards 144-5.

In yesterday’s YCC Play-off Final, Elsecar made 170-9 with a sixth wicket stand of 65 between Shahzad Rana, 56no and Luke Townsend, 29, pulling them round from 62-5.

Holders Whitley Hall, who lost star man Jaco Castle cheaply, were struggling before skipper Alex Fletcher - man of the match - turned the final their way with a belligerent 57 and they reached 173-8 with an over to spare.

Whitley - two points behind in second place, are now hoping for an Elsecar slip up next Saturday after they were rained off at Treeton with 13 overs left.

Treeton made 248-9 with Steve Foster 66 and Greg Norton 39.

Whitley were on 159-4 with Jaco Castle still there on 79 when the rain forced a premature end.

Norton Oakes, 183 (Abid Younas 54, Alex Hughes 42) held Hallam to 176-9 (Rob Marcroft 58).

Coal Aston made 181 (Mark Barlow 6-66, Rob Barlow 3-16), and Wath were all out for 159 (Derek Mitchell 52).