Josh Wrigley’s bowling radar went awry at a crucial moment as Spenser Wilson Halifax League champions Booth snatched a one-wicket win with two balls to spare at home to Copley yesterday.
The pressure on home skipper Richard Laycock (83 not out) and No 11 Tom Collinge (1 not out) had been ramped up to sky-high levels by some tight late bowling from the visitors, only for Wrigley’s wide with the scores level to settle the outcome.
Second-placed Copley made 217-9 with the help of a 102-run stand between Matthew Rowles (86) and Will Rushton (38) after they had been 64-4.
Booth slumped to 35-4 on a wicket which offered the bowlers a little seam movement and Laycock and Jon Midgley (37) had to work hard to add 112 and get their side back into the game. Matthew Hoyle’s 31 off 21 balls moved the home side to within sight of victory but Oliver Thorpe (4-54) kept chipping away and bowled No 10 Nigel Horsfall to bring Collinge to the crease with three runs needed off three overs.
Laycock waited in vain for a “boundary ball” off Wrigley and then Thorpe, picking up just a single off the final ball of Wrigley’s over.
That left two required off the final over and Collinge managed a single with an edge to short third man before the wide saw Booth over the winning line.
Laycock said he felt he had almost won the game for his side and then almost lost it as he waited in vain for a bad ball to finish the contest.
“We turned down several singles waiting for a bad ball which didn’t arrive,” he said.
It was Booth’s third win on the trot and second nail-biting home success in a row, after a cliff-hanger against Warley.
They are now up to third in the table, after a poor start to the season, but Laycock is expecting plenty more twists and turns in what he said was a very competitive section.
A trip to Shelf Northowram HT is next for Booth and that promises to be no cake walk with their hosts up to fifth after a 28-run win at Mytholmroyd.
Openers Dan Cole (64) and Keir Litjens (50) took the initiative for the visitors with a 95-run stand and Hedge Top went on total 252, with 44 from James Fearnley down the order, in spite of the efforts of Tabraiz Hassan (7-53).
Mytholmroyd looked set to mount a challenge when they reached 141-2 but Jack Hemblys picked up the wickets of Shazad Hussan (62) and Saad Hussain (55) on the way to figures of 5-70 as the home side were dismissed for 224.
Triangle’s dinky Grassy Bottom pitch is no stranger to big scores and Chris Metcalf added to the list by hitting 224 not out to propel the hosts to 415-4 against struggling Sowerby St Peter’s.
The destructive wicketkeeper-batsman made his runs off only 95 balls and slammed 25 sixes. He already has 590 runs from eight trips to the crease this season.
The best Sowerby could hope for after that was maximum batting points and they got all three at 228 all out, Craig Potts top scoring with 40 as Gary Rodger claimed 4-49.
Last year’s runners-up Thornton are next-to-bottom after an alarming batting collapse from 56-2 to 100 all out at Oxenhope.
Liam Dyson pulled up injured after only three deliveries, hastening the introduction of Ben Howell, who responded with 6-14.
Bradley Weatherhead (4-44) tried to pull the game out of the fire for Thornton but Oxenhope won by three wickets.
Illingworth and Warley fill the top two positions after comfortable away wins.
Stephen Cook (78) and Matthew Smith (76) were the main contributors as Illingworth made 237-8 at Sowerby Bridge. Jamie Moorhouse (4-31) restricted Bridge to 165 in reply.
Opener Chris Atkinson (100 not out) and Greg Keywood (87) shone with the bat for Warley at neighbours SBCI after Ollie Benson (4-35) had inflicted early damage.
Spinners Cameron Van Rensberg and Matthew Steers took three wickets each as SBCI, chasing the visitors’ 217-6, laboured to 149-9.
Premier Division: Copley 217-9 (A Rowles 86), *Booth 218-9 (Ric Laycock 83no, Thorpe 4-54): pts 5-12. Shelf Northowram HT 252 (Cole 64, Litjens 50, Hassan 7-53), *Mytholmroyd 224 (S Hassan 62, Hussain 55, Hemblys 5-70): pts 12-6. Thornton 100 (Howell 6-14), *Oxenhope 101-7 (Weatherhead 4-44): pts 3-12. Illingworth St Mary’s 237-8 (S Cook 78, M Smith 76), *Sowerby Bridge 165 (Moorhouse 4-31): pts 12-4. Warley 217-6 (C Atkinson 100no, Keywood 87, Benson 4-35), *SBCI 149-9 (Hinchcliffe 47): pts 12-3. *Triangle 415-4 (Metcalf 224no, Crosland 70no, Madden 60, Stocks 45), Sowerby St Peter’s 228 (Potts 40, Rodger 4-49): pts 12-4.
Points: Illingworth 58, Warley 54, Booth 51, Copley 50, Shelf Northowram Hedge Top 46, Oxenhope 44, Mytholmroyd 43, Triangle 40, SBCI 40, Sowerby Bridge 39, Thornton 37, Sowerby SP 33.