The quality has most definitely risen to the top over the past two years of Yorkshire South Premier League cricket and with the English weather all conditions can be faced and overcome to be considered champion.
Dry dusty conditions are probably most alien to club cricketers in this part of the world, but even these are being faced down by Wakefield Thornes and Sheffield Collegiate as their march at the head of the table continues.
Thornes looked to have the trickiest fixture at Treeton on Saturday, but they overcome the Rotherham side with embarrassing ease.
Choosing to insert their hosts, Thornes started strongly and never gave up that advantage.
Faisal Irfan bowled with great accuracy after dismissing Chris Cobb for a second ball duck, but Qaisar Ashraf (4-6) and Steve Morgan (3-4) poste extraordinary figures as Treeton were dismissed for a paltry 51.
Steve Foster and Greg Norton joint top scored with 12 apiece, and the innings finished in the 30th over.
Treeton fought back to reduce the reply to 27-2, but David Toft (18*) saw his side home despite Vinnie Ogden taking two further wickets as Thornes finished on 52-4 in just the eleventh over.
Collegiate took on Whiston at Abbeydale and batted first by choice. The Whiston attack chipped away at the home line up and at 143-6, looked like they might make Collegiate struggle.
However, Billy Root and Jack Timby combined to add 134 for the seventh wicket.
Timby posted 38 from 30 balls, but Root was the star as he scored 129 from 127 balls as Collegiate finished on 281-9.
Whiston’s attack was led by Richard Spurr’s 2-38. The reply needed a strong start but Collegiate ensured that never came to pass. Henry Eldred and Robert Shaw both took two early wickets as Whiston fell to 38-4.
Root then showed his bowling prowess by removing the lower half of the visitors line up picking up 5-16 from 7.1 superb overs. Sajid Khan offered resistance with 17 but Whiston fell to a paltry 90 all out in 26.1 overs, for a 191 run victory.
Barnsley’s run of form continued to take them up to third with a close run victory at home over Cleethorpes.
Batting first Harpreet Bhatia kept his fine form going to form the majority of the Barnsley total of 253-5.
Jason Booth and Ali Jahangir both posted 24, but Bhatia’s 157 from 133 balls with 21 boundaries and 5 sixes was by far the highlight.
Cleethorpes were thankful for Alex Osmond’s 2-34 in keeping the run rate at five an over. Cleethorpes replied strongly, and looked in command of the home sides spin attack although the run rate climbed. Jahangir took 3-55, with all three being catches from his father Haidar.
Vusimuzi Sibanda scored 67, and James Osmond pitched in with 51, but Cleethorpes fell eight runs short after 50 overs.
Doncaster dropped to fourth after shock loss at home to Appleby Frodingham.
After choosing to bat first Doncaster started well at 110-1, thanks to 61 for James Stuart and 33 from Graeme Attenborough.
The visiting bowlers chipped away however, and the highest partnership from then on was 25 for the fifth wicket as Ryan Schierhout picked up 4-50 and Doncaster limped to 199 all out in the penultimate over.
Appleby Frodingham needed a strong start and they provided it. Schierhout scored a patient 54 and Robert Day posted 39.
But at 122-3, Doncaster were in with a shout. That was snuffed out by a 78 run partnership between skipper Matt Fowler (45*) and Kieran Lindley (27*) saw their side home by seven wickets and disappointment for Doncaster; Duncan Heath’s 2-45 in vain.
Wickersley took on Hallam at Northfield Lane and defied their opponent’s decision to field first with a strong display with the bat.
Mark Cummins top scored with 85, but support from Dave Rodgers (51) and Tom Knight (53) saw the hosts post a strong target of 263-4. Joe Copper picked up 2-56 for Hallam who toiled hard in the hot weather.
Although wicketless, Humphrey Emery’s 0-20 off 12 overs also worthy of note. Hallam were indebted to Emery for 54 in their reply, along with 62 from Alex Hughes. However that was as good as it got.
Tom Knight and Ali Manzoor were the pick of the bowling with 4-47 and 3-49 respectively as Hallam fell for 189, 74 runs short.
Finally, Whitley Hall triumphed over Aston Hall by 31 runs after being inserted by their visitors.
This was despite falling to 44-5. Alex Fletcher (74) and Callum Bethel (69* off 46 balls) dragged Whitley back into the game as Aston Hall saw the momentum wrestled away from them. Whitley finished on 243-7 as Johannes Bothma’s 4-64 was the bowling highlight. The reply saw 58 from Matthew Cartwright and 43 from Jack Simmonite, but wily Richard Wilkinson picked up 6-68 to bowl Aston Hall out for 212 with three balls remaining, giving Whitley Hall a 31 run victory.
This week may just see the title decider as Thornes host Collegiate in Wakefield and third play fourth as Barnsley travel to Doncaster. Wickersley got to Aston Hall, Whitley Hall head east to Appleby Frodingham and Hallam go to Whiston. Finally Cleethorpes entertainTreeton.
STANDINGS (13 games): Thornes 136pts; COLLEGIATE 126; Barnsley 102; Doncaster 96; Wickersley 94; Treeton 86; WHITLEY HALL 74; Appleby Frodingham 62; HALLAM 62; Whiston PC 60; Cleethorpes 52; Aston Hall 50.