THE penultimate match of the season can either be a nail-biting fixture for points and position – or the simple fulfilment of the league programme.
Brighouse’s visitors Scholes, led by their former captain James Stansfield, gained promotion last week with a win over Bankfoot CC, arrived on an understandable high for what was expected to be an interesting game.
Scholes won the toss and elected to bat to gain the best opportunity of maximum points.
But Brighouse struck early when Aleem put in a breakaway delivery which was nicked by Toby Thorpe and collected by Khurshid to make it 4-1.
Kasir Maroof with Atif Zaidi then recovered the momentum with a stand of 52 before Brighouse wrested the initiative back by removing Maroof (20), promptly followed by his replacement Yasir Ali (1), leaving the visitors on 57-3.
Atif Zaidi, now with his skipper at the wicket, set about rebuilding the innings.
Wajid caught Zaidi (33) off Asad Mahmood (4-76), before Joseph Duffy drove Brighouse captain Sunny Matharu straight to well-placed Awaise, gone for just six, leaving Scholes on 83-6.
Christian Jackson (6) provided Asad with his third wicket of the afternoon as Asad took a catch off his own bowling with the score on 93.
Scholes were left relying on their middle order to step up and produce some much-needed impetus.
Stansfield remained at the wicket, building his innings with six fours and three sixes in his eventual 71 not out.
Jackson had been replaced by Mohammed Sharafat, whose brief had been very simple: stay there.
With seven fours with two sixes being included in his not out 52 not out in a partnership of 110 with Stansfield, it saw Scholes through to a competitive 203-6 from their allotted 50 overs.
Recent games have seen Brighouse’s batsmen chase down similar totals, even with some scary collapses along the way.
But the old adage of bowlers win promotion certainly rang true now, as the home side found themselves reeling at 30-4.
Zahir went for eight, while both , Awaise and Zahid failed to trouble the scorers.
Joseph Duffy removed Sohail’s stumps to see him depart for just 22, although Kieran Collins continued his first team indoctrination with a promising 18 before Daniel Cross got one to nip through his defences to bowl him, off stump.
Khurshid (59 not out) and Asad (23 not out) did try and take the game back to the visitors, but they ran out of time and overs when they were still 22 short.
In the reverse fixture at Scholes, there was an end-of-term feel to the game.
Brighouse won the toss elected to bat, a decision that had skipper Nick Patefield shaking his head as he saw four wickets fall for just 12 runs.
Three men were clean bowled with another going leg before to opening bowler Richard West, who was to finish the game with 5-37 off just nine overs.
Paolo Girardi (37) Jamil Aktar (35) brought a degree of respectability to the scoreboard as did Max Maloney, who reached 26 before Tim Smith ran him out to end the effective challenge to the home team, Brighouse all out for 129.
Responding to this modest total, the Scholes batsmen had a wobble of their own at 29-2,
But Jalil Akbar (12) and wicketkeeper Robert Smith (26), together with William Mott (26), ensured their side achieved their goal of 130 in just 24 overs.