Halifax Cricket League: Illingworth in clear as champs slip

Triangle's  Carl Fletcher
Triangle's Carl Fletcher

Illingworth SM have a handsome 14-point lead at the top of the Spenser Wilson Halifax League approaching next weekend’s mid-point of the season.

Their bid to follow up lower division title successes in 2017 and 2018, after their return from the Aire/Wharfe League, gained momentum with an easy six-wicket home win over Oxenhope yesterday.

News from Booth brought Illingworth further cheer with the reigning champions suffering a shock 24-run defeat to derby rivals Mytholmroyd.

Oxenhope had been in good form before the recent wet Saturdays but three wickets each for Luke Brooksby, Jamie Moorhouse and Stephen Cook helped to dismiss the visitors for 100.

They were 38-7 at one stage and it would have been a very sorry tale indeed but for an unbeaten 57 from Chris Kibble. Eight visitors were bowled with a brilliant run out from Matty Smith added to the mix.

A couple of early wickets gave Oxenhope a glimmer of hope but the Cook brothers, Callum (38) and Stephen (24) steadied the ship before Luke Brooksby (28 not out) finished the game with a flourish.

Mytholmroyd have been struggling but Taufeeq Ahmed’s 6-27 off 14 overs must have helped send spirits soaring as they came away from Booth.

The home side looked on course for victory when Royd were dismissed for 146 but Taufeeq knocked over the top five home batsmen, including top home performer Richard Laycock (4-46 and 38), and Booth slipped to 122 all out and dropped to third place.

Shelf Northowram Hedge Top are second after a superb knock from Dan Cole gave them a thrilling one-wicket win with one ball to spare at Thornton.

Cole made an excellent 141 not out at the top of the order and figured in a 107-run second wicket stand with Keir Litjens (45), trumping the earlier efforts of Nikki Hutchinson (72) who had helped the hosts to a useful 249-9.

The three teams with Sowerby in their names fill the bottom three places with Bridge and St Peter’s propping up the rest.

Triangle’s Carl Fletcher gave a reminder of his all-round talents at Walton Street. The big man hit 73 in his side’s 241-8 and then took 6-31 as Sowerby Bridge were dismissed for 162. Top scorer James Yates (62) was among his victims.

Adam Fawcett’s 74 proved the winning knock at The Astley’s where Sowerby Bridge Church Institute overcame Sowerby St Peter’s by 41 runs.

SBCI, as they are more commonly known, looked vulnerable when they laboured to 162-6 in 45 overs but the value of Fawcett’s knock became apparent as St Peter’s lurched to 18-5 and 39-6 before being dismissed for 121. Ross Benson (5-35) did most damage.

Runs were more free-flowing at nearby Warley where the hosts were on top from the start against Copley. Openers Chris Marsh (62) and Chris Atkinson (59) put on 125 and although Gavin Whipp dismissed both of them and the next two home batsmen, Warley still racked up 257-8 with the help of 41 extras.

Copley were unfazed and made a bold bid to knock off the runs with Will Rushton (88 not out) to the fore but their effort fell short at 244-7.

Scores: Mytholmroyd 146 (Ric Laycock 4-46), *Booth 122 (Ahmed 6-27): pts 12-5. Oxenhope 100 (Kibble 57no), *Illingworth St Mary’s 101-4: pts 2-12. Triangle 241-8 (Fletcher 73, Metcalf 61, Dixon 4-81), *Sowerby Bridge 162 (Yates 62, Fletcher 6-31): pts 12-4. *SBCI 162-6 (Fawcett 74no), Sowerby St Peter’s 121 (Benson 5-35): pts 12-2. *Thornton 249-9 (N Hutchinson 72, Harrison 54, Saghir 4-70), Shelf Northowram HT 250-9 (Cole 141no, Weatherhead 4-53): pts 5-11. *Warley 257-8 (Marsh 62, Atkinson 52, Whipp 4-72), Copley 244-7 (Rushton 88, Steers 4-80): pts 11-5.

Points (after 10 games): Illingworth SM 89, Shelf Northowram Hedge Top 75, Booth 73, Warley 72, Copley 72, Mytholmroyd 63, Oxenhope 62, Triangle 62, Thornton 59, SBCI 59, Sowerby Bridge 53, Sowerby SP 53.