Harrogate and Thornes in battle for a place in Abu Dhabi

Harrogate were crowned as inaugural Yorkshire Premier North champions as once again the rain wrecked hopes of cricket and left their closest rivals, York and Yorkshire Academy, unable to catch them in Saturday's final programme.
York batsman Duncan Snell. 152192eYork batsman Duncan Snell. 152192e
York batsman Duncan Snell. 152192e

The chasing pair were due to fight it out in what would have been a mouth-watering clash between the league’s leading batsman, York’s Duncan Snell who has 873 runs under his belt, and the top wicket-taker, Academy’s James Logan, whose 66 victims have included six five-wicket hauls.

But the winner would probably have still been unable to catch Harrogate, whose success has been built on the consistent batting of Matthew Good, Jonathan Tattersall and George Ross, all of whom have scored more than 600 runs.

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They were already hot favourites to take the title by beating Castleford, whose relegation alongside Dunnington is now confirmed.

Harrogate will now play Yorkshire South champions Wakefield Thornes in the play-off semi-final at Scarborough on Saturday, September 17, with the winners enjoying a flight out for the final in Abu Dhabi in October.

The other semi-final line-up is still a mystery with the Bradford League still undecided with one match to play while North Yorkshire & South Durham champions Barnard Castle are not eligible as they are not in Yorkshire.

Great Ayton are favourites to fill the spot but Marske still have an outside chance of pipping them.

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The Bradford League will see a couple of tension-filled matches decide the title.

Pudsey St Lawrence, who have a four-point advantage, entertain sixth-placed Bradford & Bingley while Hanging Heaton must travel to fourth-placed New Farnley in what should have been the opening games of the season until the programme was washed out.

After the disappointment of the Priestley Cup final defeat, Saints will be keen to make sure there are not more slip-ups and in Adam Waite and Mark Robertshaw, who have scored more than 1,500 runs between them, they have an opening pair that has laid the foundations for so much of their success.

But any slip-up is likely to be seized on by Hanging Heaton who have match-winners of their own in the league’s leading scorer Gary Fellows with 826 runs and top bowler with 55 wickets, Muhammad Rameez, who has signed to return to the club next season.

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Wickersley Old Village will be looking to boost their bowling next season to improve their challenge in Yorkshire South Premier.

They have four of the league’s top 10 batsman, including leading scorer Thomas Knight with 774 runs, but no-one in the top 10 of bowlers.

In contrast, champions Thornes have only one in that batting list, David Toft with 761, but have two of the top three bowlers in Akila Isanka with 53 wickets and Mahmood Rasool with 38.

Sandwiched between them is Muhammad Attari, whose 46 victims played a vital part in keeping Treeton out of the relegation places.

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Despite a third week with no action, Delph & Dobcross added the Huddersfield Premiership crown to their triumphs in the Sykes Cup and the T20 competition.

It was their first league title since 2003.

The Aire-Wharfe looks set to need the final two games to sort out a champion after the game between the top two, Beckwithshaw and Otley, was washed out.

Providing the weather allows the final games to be played out, it could all hinge on bonus points because both sides have very winnable last fixtures.

Beckwithshaw, who have a two-point advantage, take on two sides in the bottom three in Kirkstall and Colliingham, while Otley face Ilkley and North Leeds as they seek to win the league for a third successive year.