In a week when we twice had to abandon midweek fixtures because of driving snow, when we had to chip the ice off the flat sheet cover, spare a thought for Thorncliffe in Division One, who have had all three of their opening fixtures cancelled.
And yet some are still leading a charmed life. Hallam are on top of the Championship - played three, won three - while Elsecar, Whiston and Conisbrough are in the next sledge behind, two wins from two with just the one abandoned.
Mind you, there was an element of Hallam making their own luck at Coal Aston. After Nick Dymock (90) and Will Hale (52) skated to a 136 opening partnership, there were three stoppages and Dymock declared with 10 overs still to go, on 190-6 (Eliot Tye 4-42). It was brave because Coal Aston had scored over 200 the previous week and Hallam’s opening bowler, Craig Moffatt, was stuck in France. And there were some anxious thoughts as Nick Tye and New Zealander, Tom Griffin, drove and pulled their way to 34 without a care. But a double bowling change brought Rob Basu and Joe Cooper into the attack and suddenly Coal Aston were down a deep crevasse and the game was over at 57 all out. Ten wickets tumbled for 23 runs – Basu 3-10, Cooper 3-7, Smith 2-3.
Conisbrough top-scored for the second week running - 235-9 - with Matthew Barnes their third centurion, batting through for 106*. Robert Mynett took 6-53 for Kexborough whose batsmen then all made starts but couldn’t cling on as the way got steeper. Adam Wiles made 48 but the Conisbrough bowlers, chiefly Scott Lowe (3-41), held firm to win by 50 runs, though they couldn’t chip out the last three wickets to get maximum points.
Elsecar’s bowlers had no such problems at Wath, who were 14-5 at one stage, but recovered to 105 all out, largely thanks to Shawn Dyson (54). Shahzad Rana and Andy Ivill took three Wath wickets apiece. But batting wasn’t easy in the swirling conditions and Elsecar, with Ainsley Swallow missing, stuttered in their reply, before Scott Jones and Rana steered them to a six-wicket win.
Andy Tomlinson and Matthew Burton beat Tickhill on their own, under the protective shadow of the parish church at Whiston, after Chris Page (4-47), Tom Bolland (3-42) and Danny Kemp (3-15) had restricted Tickhill to 137, of which Nick Page made 49. Tomlinson hit 12 fours and two sixes in 85* and Matthew Burton six sixes in 64 as the pair tobogganed to 140-0 in 24 overs. James Stuart had a tough day for Tickhill – out third ball for a duck, then had to retire from bowling after just three balls.
At Darfield, only the experience of Nick Gaywood (63) kept Collegiate from disintegration at the hands of Lesroy Weekes (3-12), Shaaib Hassan and the other Darfield bowlers, but 119 all out wasn’t quite enough as Haider Jahangir made 41 to see Darfield home.
And Houghton Main, at last, got the victory they deserved, in style, bowling Rotherham Town out for 92 (Callum Honeyman 4-29), then knocking off the runs in 12.5 overs without losing a wicket, with Khurram Javed hitting 63* including five sixes.
In Division One, the second XIs of Hallam, Whitley Hall and Aston Hall continued their strong start, and Barnsley joined them in the top five, but then Shiregreen, Thorncliffe, Norton Woodseats, Oughtibridge and Millhouses have all lost two or more games to the weather, out of three. Doesn’t seem fair really.
Next week, one plays two, with Hallam v Whiston, promising a fine contest between one of the best bowling and one of the best batting teams in the Championship – well worth a trip to Sandygate. Elsecar are at the resurgent Houghton Main, Darfield at Kexborough and top-scoring Conisbrough at Wath, while the bottom four clubs play each other, Tickhill at Collegiate and Coal Aston at Rotherham Town. And there’ll be no snow. Possibly!