It was inevitable really, given the season as a whole. In fairness to meteorologists, they don’t often get it wrong, and they certainly didn’t this weekend.
Rain was forecast to ruin the cricket activities last weekend and it didn’t disappoint. Such was the severity of the rain, that not a single game started and four points were shared across the board on Saturday.
This meant that the standings remained unchanged from the previous double week made up of Saturday cancellations and Monday games. Except for Sheffield and Phoenix United and Barnsley who were due to play on Sunday. Thankfully the weather relented enough for a game of sorts to take place on Sunday at Clifton Lane.
It didn’t get away from the weather scot-free. Barnsley were put into bat by United and made a strong start. After Jon Trower was picked up by Matt Rees for 25, James Brown (50) and Stephen Walters (44) took the home side to 130-1. Bilal Anjam then took two quick wickets, and Yaqoob Yousuf with another, got United back into the game at 148-4.
Harvey Wootton struck 22 and with rain returning, the innings was curtailed at 207-7 in the 48th over. Rudraksh Mangrola took four catches behind the stumps for United, helping Yousuf finish with 2-37 to support Anjam’s 2-35.
With United in dire need of points to settle relegation nerves that your correspondent had suggested at the time of Azeem Rafiq’s departure to Headingley, the target was subject to the statistical adjustments of Duckworth Lewis. As the Barnsley innings was incomplete, the target resembled a much harder one that you might imagine, set as it was at 171 off just 27 overs.
Yousuf’s eary dismissal for nought courtesy of Dan Waldron didn’t help matters, but Suleman Saleem and Danial Rafiq took the score to 32 before Saleem fell for 22. Once Anjam fell for 14, with the score on 74, all hopes rested on Danial Rafiq, as his trademark quick scoring could get United close, but it wasn’t to be.
Ali Jahangir dismissed the United skipper for 46 from just 51 balls, and picked up three more to finish with 4-35 as United fell well short on 119-9 from their reduced allocation, picking up two points. Which, given the points scoring system this season, may well end up neither here or there.
With the title delivered to Wakefield Thornes, who now face Harrogate at Scarborough on September 17, all eyes will be on the games at Doncaster, who face Collegiate and at Bawtry Road, where United face Treeton.
Initally it looked like this match might be key for both sides, but Treeton’s late good form, following the controversial loss to Collegiate a month ago, has seen them safe for next season, leaving just United and Doncaster left to fight for their place in the Premier League.
Doncaster must win, or they will face the drop. A win over Collegiate would see United needing points to stay above them. Weather intervening would likely see the status quo remain. A tense weekend for the two sides, as this wettest of seasons draws to a close.
Elsewhere, with all other matters confirmed, champions Thornes welcome second placed Appleby Frodingham to Wakefield, while third face fourth as Whitley Hall host Wickersley. Barnsley take on the trip to Cleethorpes and Aston Hall look to finish the season in style as they take on Rotherham Town.
STANDINGS (21 games): Wakefield Thornes 204; Appleby Frodingham 164; Whitley Hall 152; Wickersley 138; COLLEGIATE 132; Cleethorpes 122; Barnsley 118; Aston Hall 110; Treeton 104; UNITED 98; Doncaster 90; Rotherham 36.