A perfect, late spring day for cricket - should have been a full programme in the league, yet there were matches postponed because of football. Going into June, Thorncliffe have played just two games of cricket this season. Must be tough if you’re a young cricket fan in Chapeltown!
In the Championship, Hallam resumed their winning ways at Elsecar while Conisbrough, taking full advantage of the short boundaries of their home ground, made their second score of 350-plus this season. Darfield moved second with a nervous win over Houghton Main and Tickhill continued their surge, dismissing Rotherham Town for 44 and winning the match in just eight overs.
Hallam v Elsecar - one against two - was the top match of the day. Had Elsecar won, they would have been just three points behind Hallam; having lost, the difference is 17. Hallam’s bowling attack is so strong, opposing teams are finding it hard to establish any sort of rhythm.
Craig Moffat strangles one end; Emery, Cooper and the excellent Mark Williams pick up wickets at the other and slow left armer Shane Smith finishes it off for the full bonus points.
Only Tickhill have avoided being all out so far - they were nine down, and Moffatt wasn’t playing. That Elsecar got to 162 was thanks to a belligerent innings of 38 from Luke Aitken. Alex Hughes was back in the Hallam side, and he steered his team to 165-3 with 42* and ten overs to spare, after Nick Dymock had handsomely stroked 73.
Consequently, Darfield overtook Elsecar in the table thanks largely to Waqas Maqsood, filling the big boots of absent Lesroy Weekes by taking 4-41 and keeping Houghton Main to 178, despite a remarkable opening blast from Khurram Javed who was first out for 70 from 87 in 54 balls!
Maqsood continued the Weekes role with 47 as he and first Tommy Taylor, then Sam Woodcock (37*) pulled Darfield round from 46-4 to win by three wickets.
Wath missed out on their chance to move up, crumbling to 130-9, despite the best efforts of Shawn Dyson (56*), as Danny Kemp bowled (4-34) and batted (36) Whiston PC to a close victory by 24 runs.
Coal Aston must have thought they’d taken enough punishment at Conisbrough as the home side were 228-4 with tea in sight, but Gary Strephan came in and blasted 96* in 37 balls (10 sixes and four fours) and took his side to 357-6 - rather too much for Coal Aston who subsided to 140 all out.
Rotherham Town endured a very similar experience against Conisbrough (384 to 146) on the opening day of the season and have never recovered. Since then they have only once scored more than 100 and against Tickhill on Saturday, they reached their lowest point – all out for 44, James Stuart taking 5-19.
Promoted last season, they’re not really finding things easy in the higher division - especially with their first team struggling in the Premier.
This weekend, there’s a battle for second place as Darfield play Wath and Elsecar play Conisbrough. Tickhill will hope to maintain their momentum against Kexborough, Hallam are at Collegiate and Whiston PC will be aiming to move back into contention as they play Rotherham Town. Hopefully there will be no rain and no football.