In an unexpected turn of events, both Queensbury and Cullingworth, joint leaders of the Halifax Cricket League Second Division, suffered surprise defeats, resulting in a three-way tie at the top of the table. Sowerby St Peter’s joined the leaders on 89 points after their recent victory.
The clash between Augustinians and Cullingworth showcased the former’s improvement this season. Zahid Abrar led the charge with a score of 49 as Augustinians set a competitive target of 201-5. Cullingworth’s bowlers performed admirably, with all five of them claiming wickets. However, they couldn’t prevent Augustinians from restricting them to 162-8. Bilal Khalid was the only standout batsman for Cullingworth, contributing 40 runs. Remarkably, three of Cullingworth’s bowlers managed economy rates of 3.00 or less over their combined 29 overs.
Queensbury had a disappointing outing against Old Town, as the visitors posted a total of 240-9. The scorecard presented an odd sight with five batsmen failing to make an impact, while opener Tariq Mahmood managed a respectable 50 runs. However, it was no. 10 batsman Shakir Malik who stole the show with a blazing knock of 53 runs off just 23 balls, including five sixes. Gareth Walker emerged as the standout bowler of the match, recording figures of 14-8-23-6. Despite Walker’s efforts, Queensbury could only muster 192 all out in their reply. Bradley Gerrard-Harrison (67) and Will Mackay (43) were the only batsmen to make notable contributions, while Zulfiqar Ahmed (4-43) and Israr Hussain (3-7) caused the most damage with the ball.
Sowerby St Peter’s capitalized on the opportunity to climb to the top of the table by defeating Bridgeholme. The home team found themselves in dire straits after collapsing from 50-1 to 73-7. However, Tuffique Butt’s crucial knock of 40 ensured Bridgeholme reached a total of 131 all out. Harry Clarke was the standout bowler for Sowerby St Peter’s, claiming impressive figures of 5-31. Chasing a modest target, Sowerby St Peter’s cruised to victory in just 24 overs, reaching 133-3. Aiden Green top-scored with an unbeaten 42, while Harry Clarke contributed an undefeated 36 to cap off an excellent all-round performance.
Upper Hopton secured an emphatic 106-run victory over Leymoor, thanks to Joe Manning’s impressive innings of 70 runs. Upper Hopton set a total of 185 all out, with Colin Johnson (4-63) being the standout bowler for Leymoor. However, Leymoor’s batting lineup crumbled, and they were bowled out for a mere 79 runs in less than 25 overs. Matthew Broadbent (6-40) and Jack Stephenson (4-31) were in sublime form, claiming all ten wickets between them.
Despite the distractions of the nearby M62 motorway, Oakworth delivered a commanding performance, posting a massive total of 341-4 against Outlane. Joel Gallagher (99) and Sam Nettleton (90) fell just short of their centuries, but their partnership of 189 runs laid the foundation for a formidable score. Jake Keslinke and Rob Hollingworth both contributed unbeaten 40s to further bolster Oakworth’s total. Unfortunately, Outlane also fell victim to the nineties curse, as Chris Brook scored 97 runs but missed out on his maiden century. Supported by Jonathan Krishnapillai’s 70 runs, Brook helped Outlane reach a respectable 256 all out. Ellis Marshall shone with the ball for Oakworth, taking 4-47. The match produced a thrilling contest, accumulating just three runs short of a combined total of 600 runs.
Stones got off to a flying start after choosing to bat against Bradley & Colnebridge, amassing an impressive 142-0 in the first 25 overs. Gary Hulme remained unbeaten on a remarkable 118, while Ethan Mosey contributed 75 runs before their partnership was broken at 157 runs for the first wicket. However, Bradley & Colnebridge staged a comeback, limiting Stones to 251-7. In response, Bradley & Colnebridge struggled to maintain consistency in their innings. Irfan Rashid (46) and Khalil Khan (40) were the top scorers, but the remaining batters managed just 63 runs collectively, leading to their dismissal for 166 all out. Phil Robbins (5-43) and Baldwin (4-53) were the key wicket-takers for Stones, accounting for all but one of the wickets.
The Halifax Cricket League Second Division witnessed an exciting round of matches, resulting in a new joint leader and a reshuffling of the top teams. With the race for promotion heating up, the upcoming fixtures promise further gripping encounters as the teams battle for supremacy.