Saints on way back to Premier

Northowram HT v Bradshaw. Steve Beck.
Northowram HT v Bradshaw. Steve Beck.

Sowerby St Peter’s have sealed their return to the Foster’s Halifax League top flight after an absence of just one season.

Victory at Stones on Saturday ensured that last year’s bottom side in the Premier will finish in the top two in Division One.

Their latest success was not without a hiccup or two as they were struggling at 131 for eight before Gavin Hayes (77 no) and No 10 Chris Punda (34) upped the anti to set the home side a target of 226.

Stones never looked like reaching it as experienced slow bowler Martin Schofield took six for 58 to leave St Peter’s requiring just three points from two games to secure the championship.

Northowram will take a 15-point lead over Oxenhope into next week’s match between the sides seemingly contesting the runners-up berth.

Oxenhope lost at Bridgeholme by three wickets while Hedge Top won a rain affected match at home to Bradshaw with the help of a lightning 83 not out from No 6 batsman James Fearnley.

The battle to stay in the division now lies between three clubs - Luddenden Foot, Bradshaw and Stones with just four points separating the trio.

Next Saturday’s Bradshaw versus Stones fixture could be crucial.

Low Moor HT more or less extracted themselves from the relegation trouble with a 29-run victory over Luddenden Foot.

Points (from 19 games); Sowerby SP 194, Northowram HT 172, Oxenhope 157, Bridgeholme 137, Low Moor 120, Bradshaw 105, Stones 104, Luddenden Foot 104.

In the Premier Division, Booth’s Usman Saghir (six for 39) and Robert Worsnop (four for 25) were the scourge of the Blackley batsmen as the home side were dismissed for a mere 118 runs, the last seven wickets falling for 22 runs.

Booth’s batsmen also struggled on a damp pitch but eventually eased home with three wickets to spare.

Blackley now sit an uncomfortable third from bottom, 11 points clear of Queensbury who trounced SBCI by eight wickets.

As at Blackley two bowlers shared 10 wickets with Girdev Singh taking seven for 48 and Amjad Ali chipping in with the other three to dismiss the visitors for just 86 runs.

Jer Lane maintained their four points lead over second placed Booth with a five wicket win at Mytholmroyd.

Simon Collins (seven for 55) and Raqeeb Younas (105 no) were the star performers, although the home side’s Jacob Travis made 80.

Warley won a rain affected match at home to Copley, the 12 points helping them push away from the battle at the bottom.

Triangle’s small ground created a run-fest as 615 were rattled up including 69 fours and 31 sixes.

Carl Fletcher (144 no) and Nathan Madden (132 no) cut loose for the hosts while Southowram’s Ian Hall (101) and Ben Wells (83) also enjoyed the fare.

Southowram tried eight bowlers in a vain attempt to separate Fletcher and Madden, who figured in an undefeated 287 second-wicket partnership as their side won by nine wickets.

Points (from 19 games); Jer Lane 179, Booth 175, Thornton 153, Mytholmroyd 142, SBCI 139, Sowerby Bridge 136, Warley 135, Copley 129, Triangle 128, Blackley 125, Queensbury 114, Southowram 93.

Steve Priestley of Shelf must have been the most frustrated cricketer of the day in Division Two as his team’s home game with Outlane was abandoned.

Not only had he scored more than half of Shelf’s total of 202 all out, with his 107, but he had also come on as fifth bowler and taken four for nine.

The visitors still needing 46 to win when the rains came.

A statisticians delight occurred at Clayton where Paul Gelder, Mitesh Mistry and Joe Selby all took two for 35 in a rain affected win against Cullingworth.

Great Horton look set for promotion, recording their 14th win of the season against Denholme Clough, but who goes up in tandem is anyone’s guess.

Just three points separate the three teams in the next three places with Old Crossleyans, Clayton and Outlane now in a real dog-fight.

Crocs were surprisingly beaten at second bottom Old Town where opener Abid Hussain just reached his century (102 not out) as the home side squeezed a win by one wicket.

Clayton were the only winners in the promotion battle and their destiny is now in their own hands with fixtures against the Crocs and Outlane to come.

Points (from 19 games); Great Horton PC 184, Old Crossleyans 161, Clayton 158, Outlane 158, Shelf 141, Cullingworth 141, Upper Hopton 112, Denholme Clough 111, Old Town 105, Greetland 64.