Yorkshire Leagues – Narrow win sees Castleford take big step towards North title

THE ability to win close matches can define a season, and Castleford took another step towards the Yorkshire Premier League North title with a narrow victory.

Stephen Brown, who took two wickets in Otley's win over Aire Wharfe Division 1 rivals Rawdon. Picture: Steve Riding.
Stephen Brown, who took two wickets in Otley's win over Aire Wharfe Division 1 rivals Rawdon. Picture: Steve Riding.

Matches missed because of Covid 19 means that the champions will be crowned on a points per game average rather than points earned, and Castleford stayed top after a nervy contest at Clifton Park.

The visitors made 210-7 – a total that was boosted by the inclusion of Alex Kaye, who was released to play by second-placed Yorkshire Academy, who are still in limbo because of the virus.

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The wicketkeeper made 54 and added 97 for the second wicket with Brayden Clark (46), captain David Wainwright (31) and Edward Cole (30) adding impetus lower down the order.

James Doidge hits a six for Rawdon, but they were to lose out against Otley in Aire Wharfe Division 1

Opener Finlay Bean (72) anchored York’s reply but they collapsed from 170-4 to 177-9 before Clark Doughney (15no) and Tom Forsdike (13no) added 30 for the last wicket and almost took the hosts to victory. The key bowler for Castleford was Eddie Morrison (4-23), but Wainwright was his reliable self with 3-44, also off 13 overs.

As the match between the Academy and third-placed Woodhouse Grange could not take place, the other main action was at the bottom, where Harrogate won only their second game of the season.

Henry Thompson was their hero with 130, putting on 117 for the first wicket with Harry Allinson (46), another player released by the Academy.

That set them well on the way to their 265-5, with Sam Drury (4-56) the only wicket-taker for Driffield Town.

Pudsey St Lawrence's Josh Priestley cuts through point on his way to scoring 46 against Bradford Premier League rivals Wrenthorpe. Picture: Steve Riding.

The latter then scored 41, adding 63 for openers with Noah Kelly, but there was no innings of substance and Town were dismissed for 198, with Ishan Abeysekara (4-56) and Dominic Bradburne (3-53) profiting as the teams swapped places in the relegation zone.

Scarborough are up to fourth after ending a run of five successive defeats to Stamford Bridge, with Pat Roberts (60), Joe Davies (56no) and James Wainman (3-34) the key trio in an 86-run triumph.

Barnsley were the surprise victims in the Yorkshire Southern Premier League, with the second-placed club easily falling to Doncaster Town.

The home club’s decision to field was justified by them rolling over the visitors for just 130, Harpreet Singh Bhatia playing a lone hand with 69 as all five bowlers used returned tidy figures.

Doncaster were 11-2 in reply but opener James Stuart (69no) held his nerve and found allies in James Ward (24) and Usama Mir (31no) as they won by seven wickets in the 39th over.

Treeton are up to second after dismissing visitors Wakefield Thornes for 105, with Will Street (4-20) and Stephen Foster (3-37) putting them on the back foot, and there were no alarms as Treeton won by eight wickets.

Paul Hilton (3-34) and Kieron Lindley (5-40) helped leaders Appleby Frodingham to a 29-run win over lowly Hallam.

A total of 11 league matches, five of which were first-team games, were called off in the Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League due to Covid 19.

Bradford & Bingley again showed their capacity to scare a big gun in the Premier Division.

The previous week it was New Farnley and this weekend it was Townville, who were 11-4 and 49-6 before being rescued by captain Jack Hughes (57) and Conor Harvey (43).

Townville ended up on 151, despite the efforts of Jack Hartley (3-52) and Yassir Abbas (3-41), but that was 21 too many for Bingley thanks to Hughes (4-39) and Harvey (3-38).

New Zealander Brad Schmulian can be put in that category too, and he scored 66 not out and took 3-36, with fellow spinner Chris Brice taking 5-27 as Woodlands beat Cleckheaton by seven wickets to go three points ahead of Townville at the top.

Methley made 316-1 against Batley, with Eitan Litvin (135no) and Jordan Laban (115no) putting on 216 unbroken for the second wicket in a 76-run win.

In the Huddersfield League Premiership, former county bowler Muhammad Azharullah took 7-43 for Hoylandswaine in their 121-run victory at Scholes, while in the Airedale & Wharfedale League, second-placed Otley made it six straight wins by defeating Rawdon by six wickets, courtesy of James Davies (4-48), Alex Atkinson (101no) and Josh Atkinson (84).