Yorkshire League South: Root’s hundred ruined by rain pain

Billy Root of Sheffield Collegiate CC
Billy Root of Sheffield Collegiate CC
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The weather intervened yet again in the All Rounder Yorkshire South Premier League last weekend and both Sheffield Collegiate and Sheffield and Phoenix United were negatively affected.

Both had tough fixtures, facing the top two with Collegiate hosting Wakefield Thornes and United also at home, welcoming Appleby Frodingham.

At Abbeydale, home skipper Matt Dixon made first use of the wicket on winning the toss and after a late start reduced the game to 42 overs per side, the visitors made two early breakthroughs as Eliot Callis and Dan Walton fell to Faisal Irfan with the score at 23-2. The home middle order failed to stretch the scoring with significant exception of Billy Root. With wickets falling around him, a partnership of 52 with Josh Varley took the score onto 185-7, with Root losing his wicket for a superb 127 off 128 balls.

Spinner Matt Varley took 3-59 and Akila Isanka 3-81 for the visitors as only Walton (15) and Chris Pursehouse (12) reached double figures.

Collegiate removed the Thornes’ openers early in the innings as Rob Shaw and Henry Eldred picked up a wicket apiece. David Toft and James Wolfenden took the innings forward in response and with the weather closing in, the calculators were coming out for both sides. Dixon’s leg spin took two quick wickets to liven up proceedings, but when the rain prevented further play at 6.13pm Thornes, at 100-4 after 23 overs, were two runs ahead of the target. With no further play possible, the leaders took the points and Collegiate were left empty handed.

At Bawtry Road, Appleby Frodingham decided to bat first and their skipper Duncan Heath continued his poor run of form, out second ball, bowled by Yaqoob Yousuf without scoring. The remaining top and middle order all contributed to the innings however, with the highlight being a 108 partnership between Matt Fowler (48) and Ian Snowden (39).

United’s attack fought back strongly at that point and curtailed the visitors’ push for a large score. A score of 188-3 looked like it could go big, but tailed off to finish at 222 all out off the final ball. The wickets were again shared across the young attack but Azeem Rafiq again excelled taking 3-51, although he will have been disappointed with his side contributing 27 wides, both in terms of the runs and the extra balls.

United’s reply was poised at 44-2 with new opener Danial Rafiq (two) and Rudraksh Mangrola (five) both falling to overseas star Chris Groenink. Suleman Saleem was 28* at this stage, but before the innings could progress past 44-2 in the tenth over, the heavens opened and the game abandoned at a crucial juncture.

The benefit of reduced travel shows clearly this weekend. United host Cleethorpes at Bawtry Road as fifth meets third, while Collegiate travel to Aston Hall hoping to avoid further inclement weather that marred the Twenty20 group games of last Sunday where bowl-outs in one semi-final and the final saw Collegiate through to the league finals day.

Standings (eight games): Thornes 88 points; Appleby Frodingham 78; Cleethorpes 64, COLLEGIATE 56, UNITED 50; Whitley Hall 50; Wickersley 44; Aston Hall 36; Treeton 32; Barnsley 30; Doncaster 22; Rotherham 10.