Yorkshire League South: Billy Root and Azeem Rafiq the stars of early league season
The weather intervened yet again to prevent any play for our two Yorkshire South Premier League sides last weekend.
After progressing via a bowl out at Aston Hall in the Twenty20 competition due to bad weather, Collegiate returned to the most southerly outpost of the season to be confronted by further poor weather and never got on the field.
The picture was identical further up the M1, where United were hosting third placed Cleethorpes. No play was possible here either and therefore the points were shared.
The only games played to completion saw Doncaster and Rotherham remain in the bottom places losing to Barnsley and leaders Appleby Frodingham and previous leaders Wakefield Thornes lose to Wickersley.
So we turn to the fixtures this weekend; and game of the day is unquestionably the top of the table clash between Appleby Frodingham and Wakefield Thornes, tied at the top on 90 points.
Closer to home, Collegiate welcome struggling Doncaster Town to Abbeydale, looking to close the gap to Cleethorpes in third. Billy Root has took up the batting mantle so far with 292 runs and will be looking for more, while Eliot Callis and Daniel Priestley will look to add to their tallies at the top of the order. In the field, skipper Matt Dixon has almost half of all wickets taken by his side, with 16 at an average of 15.3 but will look for more on a forecasted dry weekend.
After the upheaval of merging two clubs over the winter, Sheffield and Phoenix United have emerged positively in the first third of the season.
Clearly the signings of the Rafiq brothers, with Azeem appointed as captain, has been a shrewd move on both sides. The skipper’s form caught the county’s eye and after good performances in the second XI, the United skipper has been awarded a contract at Headingley for the rest of the season and was influential in the win on Sunday in the T20 Blast against Derbyshire with 2-35.
His performances for United with bat (167 runs at 41.8) and ball (13 wickets at 19) have been a true captain’s lead and with brother Danial just five runs behind, there is fire power in the batting line-up that has been missing at Bawtry Road for several years.
This week sees the side take the shortest trip of the season to Washfield Lane to meet Treeton. Both sides have lost two , won one and abandoned two in their last five games and will be eager to move their seasons forward, in this most inconsistent of summers.
Standings (nine games): Appleby Frodingham 90; Wakefield Thornes 90; Cleethorpes 68; COLLEGIATE 60; Wickersley 56; UNITED 54; Whitley Hall 54; Barnsley 42; Aston Hall 40; Treeton 36; Doncaster 24; Rotherham 12