Sunday, 13 August 2017

Wakefield win Game of Thornes

posted by John Winn

With six Yorkshire Premier North clubs within half an hour's drive of my home it has been rather easy to ignore its southern counterpart but on Saturday I made the journey to Field Lane, Wakefield, where last year's champions, Wakefield Thornes, were taking on their nearest challengers, Sheffield Collegiate. An easy 45 minute drive saw me on the pavilion veranda, cup of tea in hand, as the teams took the field for a noon start. The day was a mixture of blustery wind, some blue sky but with enough cloud to suggest the possibility of rain later. A slow start by the Thornes' batsmen on a greenish wicket, 'doing a bit but slow' was the description afforded by one of the Collegiate opening bowlers, soon saw opener Wolfenden caught by Billy Root for 1 and Shutt and Eldred continued to keep it tight for almost all the hour I stayed. Warner and Toft took it to 26 before Eldred stuck again. As soon as I had left however things improved for the homesters and what proved to be the match winning knock came from Jordan who hit 88 and had a stand of 97 with Cook. Some later order hitting came from Irfan and the innings closed on 236 for 7.

Total Cricket Scorer shows Collegiate made a poor start, 22 for 4 and although Guy and Lee made useful scores the visitors finished 94 short, a result that gives last year's winners a lead of 20 points with four matches to play and a likely spot in the Yorkshire cup semi finals. From Field Lane I headed south east along the A 638 towards Ackworth and a first division match in the Pontefract League. The ground here is quite easy to find as long as you know it is behind the Boot and Shoe, which I didn't, but on arrival visitors Fairburn were batting in front of a decent sized crowd. 34 for 2 quickly became 44 for 6, each wicket accompanied by exaggerated celebrations but a stand of 116 for the seventh wicket between Guy Abdy and Dan Fitzpatrick muted the histrionics and Fairbairn reached 193 for7.  Sixty from Scott Walker, probably not that one, saw the hundred up with only two down, but 108 for 2 became 109 for 6 with Kevin Watson the troublemaker, and the hosts closed 26 short. The win leaves Fairburn second to Streethouse and Ackworth fourth.

Next stop Featherstone Town CC, still Pontefract League but Div 2 this time. The Halfpenny Lane ground is on the outskirts of the town with open fields beyond and access is via Post Office Road, passing Featherstone Rovers' ground after which the road becomes a track leading to Rovers' training centre, 'the production line begins here' and just when you think this can't be right, there it is. Rothwell batting and 134 for 8 didn't look too good but a wagging tail got it up to 186 for 9 and after a poor start this was always likely to be too many for Featherstone who succumbed to 103 all out. This eases Rothwell away from the relegation places and Featherstone becalmed in mid table.

An archive picture of Featherstone cricket club

One more call on a afternoon shortened by the need to get home in time to smarten up for an evening wedding party, and another short trip, a few miles to Banks Garth, home of Knottingley CC and second division fare again. Visitors Allerton Bywater are way off the pace at the bottom of the league but had managed to reach 129 all out by tea which was being served when I arrived. Knottingley lost a couple of early wickets while I watched but the innings followed  the pattern I had seen in the other three matches, or rather not seen, for my departure in each case seemed to inspire the batting side. The home team, with good contributions by Andrew Lund and Alex Frew, had three wickets in hand when the target was reached.

Driving home I passed through a shower and dipping into the East Riding for our evening engagement we saw evidence of heavy rain, heavy enough to have caused the abandonment of the game between Driffield and Stamford Bridge, a disappointment that damages Bridges' hopes of the Yorkshire Premier North title for while they cursed their luck there were wins for rivals York and The Academy. Tough game for the East Riding outfit next week when inform Sheriff Hutton Bridge cross the River Derwent.

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