Such was the rain this week that, although Saturday was dry, of the 18 grounds where Nicholas Associates South Yorkshire League matches were due to be played in the top three divisions, nine were unfit for play.
In the Championship, this meant that both Elsecar and Darfield fell further behind the race, while Hallam continued to ride their good fortune. Last year they had six league games abandoned. This year they have had none.
However, the more remarkable statistic is that on a day when batting surfaces should have been far from ideal, Kexborough and Whiston scored over 600 runs for the loss of just one wicket between them.
Kexborough were outstanding, and their opening pair of Ross Diver and Imran Khan put on an unbroken opening stand of 338 against the hapless Rotherham Town. Diver scored 200* and Khan, a mere slouch at 110*.
Diver’s double hundred (his second for the club) came from 125 balls, with 20 fours and 13 sixes. In fact, conceding his 200 saved Rotherham Town from further punishment, because Kexborough declared on 40.3 overs. They could have batted for another 9.3 overs and at the rate they were going, would have scored over 450!
Rotherham, who have not made 300 in their last five games put together, compiled their best reply since May 7, but it was still only 95 all out. Michael Jepps took 6-33.
Whiston had one of those days oppositions dread – Danny Kemp and Andy Tomlinson, both on top form, batting together. Kemp made 122*, Tomlinson 109*in a total of 277-1 against Coal Aston. Lawrence Browes made 63 for Aston in reply but they were bowled out for 150, mainly by Richard Spurr (5-26). It’s tough for the bottom clubs, especially when many of the better players have been cleared out in the upheaval with the new Premier League.
Meanwhile, Hallam sail serenely on. Wath resisted better than most, making 166-6 with important innings from Jonathan Allen (47) and Shawn Dyson (42*). The wicket was so slow that batsmen who were prepared to take their time could survive comfortably. Will Hale (64), making his third 50 of the season, and Alex Hughes (48) saw Hallam safely home with six wickets and four overs to spare.
Tickhill moved up to fourth in the table, bowling Conisbrough out for 152 - James Stuart again bowling outstandingly well with 6-35 from 13 overs. Arosh Janoda slogged his customary five sixes in 47 then bowled the first two Tickhill batsmen for 0, but Nick Page (68) and Jordan Lowe (47) took them to 147, which was just as well as the next four wickets fell getting six runs to win.
On Sunday, the rain returned, very spitefully, just as clubs in the Mick Savage competition were getting going in the second innings. Elsecar, who were playing their Whitworth Cup quarter final against Kexborough, were done and dusted by then. Kexborough found Elsecar’s bowling attack rather different from Rotherham Town the day before, and 338-0 became 72 all out. Paul Cummins was irresistible with 5-12 from nine overs as his team won by seven wickets.
Next week is the last of the first half of the season. Second and third-placed clubs are playing each other again – this time Elsecar play Whiston – and fourth plays fifth with Darfield v Tickhill.
Hallam will be travelling to Conisbrough eager to take revenge for losing out to bad light and run rate in the cup last Sunday. Please let there be a full programme!