Cricket is a succession of overlapping individual contests with endless variations, played by teams . It’s why “who’s winning?” is so difficult to answer.
On Saturday all the team results in the South Yorkshire League Championship went to form and might have been predicted, but the individual contests, the games within the games, were fascinating.
So top-of-the-table Hallam beat Whiston. The key contest, though, was always going to be between Hallam’s strong bowling attack and Whiston’s Danny Kemp and Andy Tomlinson, arguably the best batting partnership in the league. An early wicket brought them together and at 102-1 they were both in mid-forties, looking ominous.
Suddenly Humphrey Emery burst through. Five wickets fell for four runs and Whiston stumbled, then collapsed to 140 all out, Emery ending with 7-28. Hallam, in reply, fared even worse.
Alex Hughes stood firm for a while but when he went, they were 80-6 with their best batsmen gone. Losing seemed probable until rescue came from two partnerships held together by 17-year-old Vikram Singh, hardly known, certainly not expected, with 26*, steering Hallam to win with 143-7.
At Conisbrough’s small ground, it’s often a question of who can hit the most sixes. Conisbrough have several specialists, but on Saturday, it was Wath who romped to 329-5. Shaun Dyson hit 151 in 68 balls, with 14 sixes.
In successive partnerships he scored 117 out of 134. William Cooper, 62, and Rob Barlow, 59, also filled their boots but Conisbrough set off after them.
Stuart Coleman 71, in 46 balls, and Nathan Smith, 77, took them from 132-5 to 259-6 and a real chance of winning before two run outs in a flurry of wickets brought the end at 282 – and the six tally finished 17-10 to Wath.
Kexborough only managed 121 at Darfield, with Waqas Maqsood taking 4-37 and Tabassum Bhatti 3-14, but it could have been worse. Andrew Moore (32) had to haul them round from 31-5.
In Darfield’s reply, Bhatti completed a good day with 55 but was out on 73, long before the job was done, and it took old reliable Lesroy Weekes to steer them home, Matt Scholey taking 4-37.
Elsecar continued their pursuit of promotion, bowling out Houghton Main for 158, but only grabbed their vital two bonus points for taking 10 wickets with a Shahzad Rana LBW on the last ball of their 50 overs. Ainsley Swallow cracked 50 runs to win the match with 160-5 and eleven overs to spare.
Collegiate’s seconds made Tickhill work hard for 172-6, but, having just missed promotion last year, they are determined not to slip up now. Andrew Rennison had to bat through for 91*. Ben Fielding took 4-31. For Collegiate, relegation is more of a present fear and Nick Gaywood and Grant McCarthy stoically pressed 40 runs in the first 20 overs and you could see why they were so cautious as, when they had gone, the rest of the Collegiate batsmen fell apart for 53 all out, against Alex Rowland’s 5-17 and Josh Court’s 5-11.
Next week, the games to watch will be the resurgent Wath against Tickhill and Coal Aston desperate to get some points against Elsecar. Might be a tough call, that one, but they could take inspiration from Division One where, apart from Thorncliffe and Rockingham, the bottom clubs overcame the top. Notably Millhouses Works beat Aston Hall II and Shiregreen had a thrilling tie with Sprotbrough, 254 all out apiece.
Ali Asghar of Shiregreen scored 119* and took them from 66-7 to 252-8, only to lose their last two wickets when they’d done all the hard work.