Yorkshire South Premier cricket: It's the League nobody wants to win
The Yorkshire South Premier League now appears to be a title no one wants to win.
Doncaster Town lead the way by a significant 20 points, yet have lost their last four completed games. Last weekend they lost out in a thrilling low-scoring match-up at Elsecar. Doncaster inserted their hosts and relished the opportunity. Elsecar had looked well placed at 63-1, thanks to Matt Higgins who finished with 55, but with the next top scorer being Saeed Anwar with 15, Elsecar had capitulated. Aamir Jamal was chief destroyer with 7-36 as Elsecar were dismissed for just 103 in 38 overs. The reply saw wickets fall steadily as Elsecar got back into the game. Anwar (2-31) made the initial breakthroughs, and despite a battling 34 from James Ward, Elsecar took control. Paul Cummins took 3-26 and Muhammed Ilyas picked up 3-30 as Doncaster were reduced to 99-9. The last wicket fell to a needless run out with Doncaster just two runs short at 102 all out with almost seven overs remaining.
Barnsley remain in second place and could have capitalised on Elsecar’s triumph but fell short in a shock defeat to lowly Hallam, who have started to find form at a key point in the season. Hallam batted first and saw several of the line up make starts without being able to kick on to post a big score. Andre Bradford (29) and Alex Hughes (27) gave them a solid start that Jack Snelling (35) gave substance to, although Dan Waldron kept a lid on the run rate with 4-56 as Hallam reached 180-9 from their 50 overs. The Barnsley reply was without star overseas Harpreet Bhatia and this appeared to be the key element to their reply. Jon Trower posted 44 at the top of the innings, but Joe Cooper (2-34) had made a dent in the reshaped middle order. Jim Tasker’s experience kept Hallam in the game as his off-spin took 5-44 as Barnsley collapsed to 116-7. Oliver Bennett (24) and Ali Jahangir (22) took Barnsley closer to their target, but it proved too much as Hallam dismissed their hosts for 161 in the 46th over to win by 19 runs and close the gap in the relegation fight.
Collegiate remain in third and missed the chance to move second and close the gap on Doncaster as their game against Tickhill was abandoned without a ball being bowled as ground conditions meant no play was possible.
Treeton remain fourth after a good win at struggling Cleethorpes. Treeton were invited to bat first and were indebted to their strong middle order with the absence of some of their top order. Haseeb-Ur Rahman again proved his worth with 79 posting a crucial 62 run partnership with Sam Drury (36) for the 4th wicket and a 71 run 7th wicket partnership with Ben Birtles (30). Alex Osmond picked up 5-57 for Cleethorpes as Treeton finished on 199-9, having been in some peril at 112-6. The reply started well for Treeton as Iftikhar Afzal struck twice to leave Cleethorpes 28-2. After which it became the Vinnie Ogden show as he ran through the home line up. Osmond resisted with an excellent 65, and was ninth man out with the score on 149, but by then Ogden had taken 7-54. Cleethorpes finished on 165 all out and are now looking nervously over their shoulders as Hallam close in.
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Wakefield Thornes kept their faint hopes of a fourth consecutive championship alive with a win over bottom side Aston Hall. Thornes batted first and their top order all contributed to a score of 202-4. David Toft top scored with 56, closely followed by James Wolfenden with 55.Mathew Jordan hit a brisk 38 as Aston Hall struggled to make a break through. Usman Muzaffar took 3-44 for the visitors, whose target was adjusted following a delay due to the weather. Mathew Cartwright started brightly for Aston Hall after two early losses thanks to Thornes’ Matthew Taylor (2-17). Zohaib Aziz hit 31 in the middle order but the reply had no answer to Satyajeet Bachhav who took 4-49 as Aston Hall were restricted to 181-8 in 42 overs. Cartwright top scored with 58.
Finally Whitley Hall had a comfortable win over Wickersley at The Wheel in a game reduced to 40 overs per side. Wickersley were in early trouble with the bat despite 48 from Gareth Purshouse, as Whitley reduced them to 98-5. Some late hitting from skipper Tom Knight (55 from 30 balls) took Wickersley to 183-6. Ben Webster took 2-31 for the home side. Whitley’s reply struggled initially as Daniel Falcke took 2-36 but the experienced duo of James Moorhouse and Neil Longhurst (62* apiece) recovered to take their side to the victory target for an eight wicket victory with 11 balls remaining.
This week’s fixtures see Doncaster search for a victory against bottom side Aston Hall. Barnsley are at Cleethorpes hoping for another Doncaster slip up while Collegiate take on Treeton as third play fourth. In-form Hallam host Elsecar while Wickersley welcome Wakefield Thornes and Tickhill take on Whitley Hall.
STANDINGS (18 games): Doncaster 148 points; Barnsley 128; Collegiate 128; Treeton 124; Wakefield Thornes 124; Elsecar 116; Tickhill 112; Whitley Hall 108; Wickersley 96; Cleethorpes 92; Hallam 86; Aston Hall 74