A dramatic day of league cricket involving Sheffield and Phoenix United and Sheffield Collegiate in the All Rounder Yorkshire South Premier League.
United are now having to look over their collective shoulders after a record loss to leaders Wakefield Thornes - but with Appleby Frodingham losing at Whitley Hall, Collegiate closed the gap in third place with a controversial victory at Treeton.
Table toppers Thornes decided to bat first at Bawtry Road, but with United welcoming back skipper Azeem Rafiq, the attack took the task on with confidence and tied down the potent batting line up. Yaqoob Yousuf (2-36) accounted for both openers, and with Rafiq (2-34) keeping the pressure on, the innings never quite got going.
Overseas star Akila Isanka top scored with 37, before falling courtesy of the second run out of the innings and Suleman Saleem cleared up the middle order with 4-55, leaving Thornes feeling a little short of the target they set off to achieve on 180 all out.
Having chased down a similar score previously without their inspirational skipper, United would have been confident of springing a surprise, but it was not to be, by a shocking margin. Only keeper Rudkraksh Mangrola (10) reached double figures as the line-up capitulated. Faisal Irfan (3-13) and Mahmood Rassol (3-12) ruined the top of the line up, before Isanka completed a fine overall performance by polishing off the lower order with 4-15, and United had lost by 133 runs, in being all out for a paltry 47 and a chance wasted to maintain a strong mid table position.
At nearby Treeton, the home side batted first after winning the toss. After a promising opening partnership, the Treeton line up all contributed runs. Skipper Cobb made 51 with Archie Ogden adding 34, but Collegiate chipped away with a patient bowling display, led by skipper Matt Dixon (3-48). Dixon was backed up by Rob Shaw (3-55) and Josh Varley (2-29), Treeton posting 209 all out from their full 50 over allocation.
When the reply stood at 40-3 with Eliot Callis and Billy Root both back in the pavilion, the Treeton side looked well in command. Michael Simpson (41) led a middle order reply with contributions from Tom Dunn (32), Simon Guy (21) and Chris Pursehouse (21) but at 183-9, due to 5-54 from Muhammad Attari, it seemed the game was up.
Then came the drama. Josh Varley was on 22* and Dixon was on a single and the score on 196-9 after the 47th over. At this point the umpires decreed that Treeton’s all-pace attack had not bowled their allocation in the allotted time and awarded Collegiate 15 penalty runs – handing the Abbeydale side victory by one wicket and the three overs to spare. A decision that needless to say did not go down well with the home side or their faithful around the boundary and one that leaves Treeton relegation threatened and moved Collegiate to within 10 points of second placed Appleby Frodingham.
Collegiate look to maintain this superb run of form visiting Wickersley this weekend, while United travel to Whitley Hall looking to increase the buffer to the bottom two.
Standings (16 games): Wakefield Thornes 160; Appleby Frodingham 128; COLLEGIATE 118; Whitley Hall 108; Cleethorpes 102; Wickersley 102; Aston Hall 90, UNITED 88; Barnsley 86; Doncaster 80; Treeton 68; Rotherham 26.