In a thrilling match at Walton Street, Sowerby Bridge captain Jake Dixon’s decision to field first proved to be ill-fated as Illingworth St Mary’s took full advantage of the excellent pitch. Opening batsmen Gary Fellows and Matthew Smith unleashed a relentless assault, propelling their team to a commanding 125-0 by the 20th over. The mayhem continued as the duo continued to pile on the runs, eventually being separated after an astounding partnership of 247 runs. Fellows was dismissed lbw for a magnificent 140 runs, while Smith remained unbeaten with a personal best of 137 not out. Sowerby Bridge players were left in disbelief as the scoreboard displayed a daunting total of 352-4. Despite the challenging target, Sowerby Bridge managed to hold on at 219-8 for 45 overs, preventing a St Mary’s maximum. John Brown (48) and Paul Tayloe emerged as the top scorers for Sowerby Bridge.
Copley replicated Illingworth St Mary’s dominance as their openers, Oliver Thorpe and Gav Whipp, wreaked havoc on the Luddendenfoot pitch. The pair forged a remarkable partnership of 138 runs for the first wicket. Whipp continued his onslaught, achieving a superb career-best score of 127 runs. Supported by Matthew Rowles (64 not out) and Will Rushton (41 not out), Copley set a formidable target of 329-2. Luddendenfoot fell short by 111 runs, ultimately bowled out for 218 despite commendable efforts from Nate Holdsworth and Jacob Whitehouse, who both scored 57 runs. Whipp showcased his all-round prowess by also claiming 4-49 with the ball.
Thornton extended their winning streak with a hard-fought three-wicket victory over Blackley. Thornton’s consistent performance has now led them to secure seven consecutive wins, dropping only two points along the way. Blackley, struggling after their promotion, found themselves in trouble early on at 51-5. However, a rescue act from the lower order, featuring Sam Mindham (54 not out), Liam Senior (50), and Aiden Green (46), brought some much-needed relief to their supporters as Blackley closed their innings at 234-8. Thornton faced a few tense moments during their chase, with the match poised at 185-6. Grant Soames (70) and Nikki Hutchinson (42) emerged as the top scorers for Thornton, but it was the middle order that eventually guided them to victory, reaching 237-7 with fifteen balls to spare. Dean Hans stood out despite being on the losing side, with an impressive bowling spell of 14-3-39-5.
Despite the weather conditions and hard tracks, the match at Mytholmroyd saw a relatively low-scoring affair, with Booth securing a narrow six-run victory. Batting first, Booth found themselves in trouble at 67-6, but their lower-order batsmen managed to contribute valuable runs. However, none of the batters reached 30 runs individually as Amjid Azam claimed 4-39, limiting Booth to a total of 141 all out. Mytholmroyd’s innings started similarly rocky, losing their first four wickets with just 14 runs on the board. Luke Sutcliffe (42) and Taufeeq Ahmed (40) initiated a recovery, but the match hung in the balance when Ahmed was dismissed at 121-7. Thomas Conway (22) fought hard to bring his team closer to victory, but he was the last man out, bowled by Richard Laycock (4-29), as Mytholmroyd were all out for 135. Patrick Thomas made an early impact with figures of 12-1-31-5.
In a match characterised by the struggle to score runs, second-placed Bradshaw faced difficulties against SBCI. Bradshaw’s skipper and opener Chris Shannon laboured for his 41 runs, taking 86 balls to reach his total. Michael Hustler’s knock of 76 boosted the scoring rate, but SBCI managed to restrict Bradshaw to 229-7 on a hot afternoon. The home team also found runs hard to come by during their innings. After Alex Scholefield’s departure at 114-5, SBCI’s innings crumbled to 157 all out, with Hustler contributing 4-32 alongside his half-century.
Triangle embarked on a successful journey to Oxenhope, where they batted first and posted a competitive total of 209-6. The middle-order partnership between Nathan Madden (86 not out) and Edward Denham (40) propelled Triangle’s innings. Oxenhope’s reply faced early setbacks, slumping to 33-5, but a resilient performance from Alex Baker (31) and Joseph Ousey (70) revived their hopes. Despite their efforts, the damage had already been inflicted by Kurtis Whippey (7-31), who dismantled Oxenhope’s batting lineup and secured a victory for Triangle as they were all out for 174. Lewis Hopkinson, the captain who chose to insert the opposition, found himself on the losing side, perhaps reflecting on his decision.
Overall, it was a captivating round of matches in the Halifax Cricket League Premier Division, showcasing exceptional performances and tight contests.