The home fixture with near-neighbours Hartshead Moor is always keenly-anticipated as it brings former captain Will Smith back to Russell Way.
The first fixture up at “The Moor” was quite a reality check for Brighouse earlier this season, as they were shot out cheaply before the home side comfortably reached their target.
Hartshead won the toss and elected to bat on the promising track for runs.
Nadim Hussain put that decision in doubt as he bowled opener Hardcastle for just three with the score at 18-1?
Fellow opener Ferry, forewarned, elected to go defensive, blocking well to retrieve the initial setback.
He was joined by Arun Balasubramanian, whose role was to move on the scoreboard on which, to his credit, he did well– hitting 11 fours in his impressive 85.
Ferry provided a catch to Makwanna off Ladak on 34, with his job in helping the recovery done with the score having moved on to 48-2.
This brought stalwart Ul-haq to the crease. And how he did, hitting 19 fours in all in a superlative 116 not out.
Aleem Ladak bowled Balasubramanian to halt the visitors’ charge at 216-3.
Field arrived at the crease, however, and continued where Balasubramanian had left off, clogging five fours and one six in his 37 not out as Hartshead finished on 282-3.
In the reply, regular opener Zahir was joined by 15-year-old Awaise Hussain, who faced the spin of Smith as he opened in place of Squires and partnering Balasubramanian to head up the attack.
Awaise was leading the run chase, but on 62 he popped an easy catch to Squires to create the breakthrough they desperately sought.
Khurshid then came to the wicket, but was adjudged leg before and, despite an initial refusal to walk in protest at the decision, he eventually made his way off, making way for Sohail to take over the chase with the score on 96-2.
Zahir then saw Smith take out his off stump to depart for a promising 36 with the score on 110-3.
Zahid and Sohail partnered then oput on 55 valuable runs, before the latter misjudged a Smith delivery by charging down the wicket and was stumped by Gough with the score on 165-4.
A partnership of 16 between Zahid and Nadeem was then broken by a touch of brilliance from Ul-haq who pounced to turn and throw in one movement to dismiss Zahid (23).
Adsad then arrived to try and reignite the run chase which had become bogged down and had lost momentum.
He smacked four fours and two huge sixes in a quick-fire knock of 42, that could so easily have been more when he departed with the score on 243-6.
Overs were now the obstacle for Brighouse, however, and two further wickets were lost in trying to get over the line, Brighouse eventually falling 15 runs short.
The home side were left to lament the five dropped catches plus the loss of key player Khurshid to a controversial decision.
Hartshead played their part in a thoroughly entertaining game.