Castleford closing in on title
Posted on 8th August 2021 at 00:36
Premier League review
There was little sign of Castleford’s two-week covid lay-off as the Hunters ECB Yorkshire Premier League North league leaders returned to action with a four wicket win over Sheriff Hutton Bridge at Savile Park. Former Derbyshire all-rounder Chesney Hughes (5-29) produced a match-winning performance taking five wickets to wrap up the visitors’ innings after Matthew Rees had taken three wickets including Mark Fisher who top scored with 35 in his sides total of 123 and the dangerous Dulash Udayanga for 24. The hosts got off to a solid start in reply reaching 53 before the first of three wickets fell in the space of ten runs. Hughes, who opened the innings, managed to make 46 before he was fourth out and despite a couple of further scares the hosts reached their rain adjusted target with more than a dozen overs to spare. The result increases Castleford’s advantage over nearest rivals Yorkshire Academy who were forced to sit out another round of matches after their game against Driffield Town was the latest fixture to be lost to covid.
Third-placed Scarborough were the days highest scorers reaching 251-8 at Clifton Park against York, they then bowled out their hosts for 169 to record a comfortable victory. Visiting openers Oliver Stephenson (82) and Duncan Brown (82) shared a stand of 123, the latter eventually falling to skipper Ryan McKendry who marked his return to action after an eight-week absence by taking 3-45 as the hosts looked to claw their way back into the contest. Duncan Snell and Simon Lambert opened their sides reply with a stand of 61 but after the partnership was broken wickets fell at regular intervals. Jack Holt was the most economical of the four bowlers who each finished with two wickets his 13 overs costing just 25 runs, but it was Guy Emmett who took the key wicket of Lambert who made 79, one of only three batters to reach double figures. Scarborough move up to third in the table, whilst York for who this was a third straight loss face a crucial match next week against fellow strugglers Stamford Bridge.
Benjamin Pearson’s ‘Bridge side lost in dramatic fashion to relegation threatened Harrogate in the final over of a rain affected contest at St George’s Road. Jack Timby (72) and James Keast (51no) both scored half-centuries in the visitors’ total of 210-8 from 44 overs which included three wickets from Ishan Abeysekara (3-49) whose contributions could prove crucial in the coming weeks as the home side fight for Premier League survival. Set a revised target of 209 the hosts looked to be in control as Henry Thompson (83) and Harry Allinson (49) shared a second wicket stand of 103 and Thompson then added a further 60 alongside his captain William Bates (31) but there would be late drama as the latter pair were dismissed within four balls of each other two overs from the end, but the home side were able to scramble over the line keeping alive their survival hopes.
There was an equally dramatic finish at The Green as Dunnington scrambled to beat Acomb with two wickets and three balls to spare. In a low scoring contest George Drury (3-21) and Luke Kilby (3-34) picked up three wickets each as the home side got to 143-9, Finn Baqai top scoring with 34, Aiden Burton ending the innings unbeaten on 31. The visitors got off to a wretched start which left them 16-4, James Tindall and Darius D’Silva each with two early wickets. Kilby (55) and Drury (54no) who had earlier been so influential with the ball stepped up once again this time with a stand of 98 to get their side back in the game. Two wickets in an over from D’Silva (4-26) towards the close increased the pressure on the visitors but Drury held his nerve and struck the winning boundary. The home sides efforts with the ball earned them four points although the one-time leaders have now lost five of their last seven, whilst Dunnington can still look towards a top four finish.
Notwithstanding results elsewhere the game of the day arguable took place at Sandhill Lane where in-form Clifton Alliance narrowly avoided defeat at the hands of Woodhouse Grange holding on to win by just two runs. That after they fought back from being 21-4 and 77-6 earlier the day. John Gilham (31) and Samuel Grant (37) rescued them from the initial collapse, but it was 60 from Craig Nicoll batting at eight that allowed them to reach 176, Tom Neal the pick of the bowlers with 3-34. The home side made a much more assured start through Harry Gamble (32) and Stephen Burdett (47) who put on 91 for the first wicket. Skipper James Finch finish unbeaten on 44 at the end and will wonder how his side failed to reach the target, whilst opposite number Liam Green has seen his side climb from eleventh to fifth in the table over the past month.
Report by Kevin Hutchinson
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