Relegation battle going down to the wire
Posted on 15th August 2021 at 00:05
Premier League review
Hunters ECB Yorkshire Premier League North leaders Castleford lost for only the second time this season, Scott Hopkinson with an excellent all-round performance helping secure and eight-wicket win for in-form Clifton Alliance. Hopkinson took 4-49 against the side where he had spent the last two seasons, his wickets including Brayden Clark who top scored with 43 in the visitors’ total of 176, and there were also three wickets for Samuel Grant (3-31) who remains in the hunt to finish as the competitions leading wicket-taker. The hosts got off to an excellent start in reply, Andrew Simpson (37) sharing a century opening partnership alongside Hopkinson who went on to finish 82 not out. This was Alliance’s seventh consecutive victory, a run which began with in the relegation places now sees them occupying fourth spot in the table. Castleford meanwhile remain top with Yorkshire Academy, who had their latest game cancelled by Acomb due to covid, sit second. The county side have now missed out on matches in five of the last seven weeks.
Away from the top of the table perhaps the most significant result came at Common Lane where Harrogate beat hosts Dunnington to climb out of the bottom two for the first time in almost three months. Isaac Light (89) and Henry Thompson (99) shared an opening stand of 183 as the visitors chased down a target of 252, Ross Sedgley (31no) seeing them over the line, with three overs to spare. Earlier on a day for batters three partnerships of note had helped the hosts build a formidable total. Alec Drury (88) put on 78 with Andrew Bilton (40) and 81 alongside Luke Kilby (39), before George Drury (33no) and Jack Bolam (30no) looked to have put their side in a potential match-winning position adding 69 off just 47 balls.
Stamford Bridge replace Harrogate in the bottom after they were beaten at home by fellow strugglers York. Visiting captain Ryan McKendry, who spent three years at Low Catton Road, showed his former side little mercy taking three wickets (3-33) and three catches as the home side were bowled out for 131. Jonathan Moxon (2-37), Clarke Doughney (2-24) and Simon Lambert (2-6) each picked up two wickets with Jake Dickinson finishing as top scorer for his side with 28 not out. The visitors needed almost 35 overs to reach the target with Dave Chaplin (2-43) dismissing both openers before McKendry (34) and Finlay Bean (40no) put on a crucial partnership of 50, Bean striking the winning runs to end a sequence of three straight defeats, the victory provide some breathing space in an increasing tight battle at the foot of the table, just a handful of points separating the bottom four.
Driffield Town’s survival hopes received a huge boost as they hung on to beat Sheriff Hutton Bridge by five runs at Moor Farm. Overseas signing Randeera Ranasingha proved his worth with a half-century but more crucially four wickets after his side looked to be heading for defeat. The Sri Lankan top scored with his first half-century of the season before the visitors were bowled out for 135, Freddie Collins with a Premier League career best 6-24. The home side looked to be in control with skipper Mark Fisher (51) and their own overseas star Dulash Udayanga (47) together at the crease having put on 50 for the third wicket but with the total on 87-2 the side lost five wickets in nine overs, three of them to Ranasingha (4-22), and where eventually bowled out for 130, James Anson taking 3-48. Town remain bottom but are now within touching distance of those just above them in what promises to be an enthralling final three weeks of matches.
Woodhouse Grange won on the road for the first time since the end of May beating Scarborough by 19 runs at North Marine Road. Stephen Burdett narrowly missed out on a half-century last week and was again in the runs this time scoring 74, his partnerships with Christopher Bilton (48) of 84 and James Finch (38) of 56 provided the majority of the visitors 223-6 which included four wickets for Harry Rinke (4-50). The hosts made a promising start Oliver Stephenson (48) and Breidyn Schaper (72) putting on 87 for the second wicket before the pair were separated by a run out. The middle order then struggled four wickets falling for only nine runs, and three wickets each from Tom Neal (3-42) and Christopher Suddaby (3-50) left the lower order too much to do.
Report by Kevin Hutchinson
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