Yorkshire League: Sheffield Collegiate lose out to champs York on final weekend

Collegiate's Henry Eldred shone with bat and ball against York
Collegiate's Henry Eldred shone with bat and ball against York
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A damp squib signalled the end of Yorkshire League cricket.

The reorganisation currently planned for the 2016 season means that the single league, played by teams across the county, will be no more.

Collegiate’s trip north to York allowed some respite from the weather and after a delayed start a 25 over game ensued. With the home side looking to sign off another championship winning season, Matt Dixon inserted the hosts looking to add metaphorical rain on the home side’s parade to add to the meteorological rain that had already fallen.

Luke Shutt and Robert Shaw certainly took advantage, reducing the innings to 9-3, including overseas star Whatley (2), top scoring Simon Lambert (2) and Ryan McKendry (first ball duck). Liam McKendry (26) combined with Brown (32) to get the innings moving, but further wickets from Harry Eldred and a run out from Simon Guy took York down to 74-7.

Skipper Nick Kay found support from Tom Pringle putting on 54 for the eighth wicket, and a final total of 128-9 ensued with Eldred (2-16) the pick of the attack.

The Abbeydale side’s reply never really got going. The largest partnership was 29, for the tenth and final wicket as Whatley made up for his batting failure by running through the middle order and finishing with 5-36. Eldred top scored with 38 and skipper Dixon finished 15* with his side dismissed for 108, 20 runs short with 2.3 overs remaining. This left Collegiate just one place above their city rivals, although with 21 points between them.

Billy Root topped the run charts with 805, the highlight being the majestic 218* against Doncaster. Simon Guy followed up with 684, and Dan Walton scored 349, but no one but Root scored a century. Root also took the bowling plaudits with 33 victims. Skipper Dixon ran him close with 32 wickets, particularly impressive since his season started late due to business commitments.

Sheffield United were due to line up against bottom side Hull, with the young United side desperate not to finish bottom of the final standings. The heavy rain that crossed the city on Friday night and Saturday morning meant an early cancellation and with points shared, United finished one place above the Humberside club.

Not the position that Steve Oldham and Lesroy Weekes had envisaged at the start of the campaign, but again, with such a young side, it was always going to be difficult. Overseas star Jaco Scholtz topped the run scoring table with 838 runs, while young opening bat Bilal Anjam followed up with 397. Suleman Saleem (365) and Waqar Ahmed (231) showed promise in the limited games they played and with a further year of development, the side shows promise for the future.

Weekes’ 26 wickets topped the bowling charts, with Matthew Rees (25) and James Exley (19) backing up their skipper, but overall the lack of penetration was an issue never fully addressed.

The challenge is clear to see for all at Bawtry Road, but patience and commitment will surely see further improvements.

And so it ends, York clearly the dominant side in the twilight years of the league. Both Sheffield sides had their periods of dominance over the years, but in recent times, the silverware has eluded them. New challenges and opposition await next season.

Final standings: York 144 points, Barnsley 123, YACA 114, Harrogate 111, Rotherham 110, Cleethorpes 85, Driffield 83, App Frod 79, Doncaster 75, Castleford 75, COLLEGIATE 69, UNITED 48, Hull 42.