Back to rain-affected wickets and teams desperate to get runs and wickets before the game’s abandoned. There were three positive results in the South Yorkshire Championship and all three involving teams desperate to win. Sadly for two of them, the result went the wrong way.
In the promotion race, Wath, Tickhill and Elsecar were neck and neck for the last place. Wath were rained off, so who could take advantage? Tickhill, most emphatically.
They won the toss and unceremoniously dumped Kexborough for 59. Their opening bowlers bowled eight overs each – James Stuart took 4-35 and Siviwe Gidana 6-24 (he must be glad he transferred from Rotherham - they were relegated from the Premier on Saturday – Tickhill may just have got promoted).
Andrew Rennison was out first ball, but there it stopped. Dominic McGough hit 43* in 23 balls to win, and the whole game took 23 overs
Elsecar tried but in the last fortnight have lost all their self-belief. They won the toss but couldn’t exploit it. Conisbrough took the initiative and rushed to 192 all out in 39.4 overs – Paul Cummins took 5-47, Jonathan Phillips top-scored with 39 in a team effort to get runs before the rain.
Then they bowled Elsecar out for 78, Scott Lowe taking 5-38 and Imran Zafar 4-15, but Elsecar weren’t losing wickets attacking the target. Their 78 runs took them 37 overs, as though it was Conisbrough who were the promotion challengers.
Wath, too, were humbled, before the rain rescued two points. Worse than Elsecar, they were bowled out by Darfield for 69 in 29 overs. Only Will Cooper got runs while Haider Jahangir (3-3), Lesroy Weekes (3-12) and Dominic Fell (3-19) fell upon the rest. Unfortunately for Darfield they got just one over in reply.
In the other games, Hallam enjoyed themselves at Collegiate’s expense, but Collegiate had the last laugh and Coal Aston, the third club desperate to win, were rolled over again.
Collegiate only needed two points to get more than a win’s worth in front of Coal Aston to avoid the drop. A torrent after tea at Sandygate ensured that, but only after they’d endured a torrent of a different sort.
League Champions Hallam belted 235-5 in 31 overs (Hale 90, Dymock 45, Cooper 39*, Hughes 32) and declared – too late. Only five overs were possible. Still two points there and seven – their first win – against Kexborough on Sunday mean they are now safe. Their Sunday match was a see-saw affair.
Collegiate were 69-7 before Luke Shutt (41) and Alex Varley (31) brought them to 143. Ross Diver (72) took Kexborough to 108-2 till Ben Fielding stepped in with 7-26 and removed the rest for 140 - three short.
Coal Aston’s openers made 54 between them - the team just 88. Callum Honeyman took 6-17. Not ones to mess about, Houghton Main hit 89-2 in 11 overs, Khurram Javed 32, Simon Ward 31*, and Coal Aston need a miracle.
So, with three games to go, Tickhill are promotion favourites - four points and a game in hand ahead of Wath and nine points ahead of Elsecar. But it could still go wrong. They’ve got to play Houghton, Conisbrough and Darfield and they certainly won’t roll over!
In Division One, Rockingham are on fire, which must be how they kept the rain off for 92 overs at home to Barnsley, winning by four wickets. They’ve gone top now on 77, with Thorncliffe on 76 and Hallam B on 71 but playing Thorncliffe next week. That could settle it.