Torrential overnight rain failed to stop Sheffield Collegiate completing a resounding nine wicket home victory over inconsistent Castleford and they followed it up with a high scoring six pointer against Doncaster on a much drier Abbeydale Park on Monday.
However, wins for YCA and Scarborough looked to have closed the door on their hopes of a fifth-place finish.
Joe Root took the bowling plaudits after Matt Dixon put Castleford in to bat. The young England batting prospect let the ball do the work for a change, taking 8-42 from an outstanding 17 over spell of seam bowling to reduce the visitors to 91 all out in 35 overs.
Collegiate lost Alex Patmore for 27 but there were no further shocks as Elliot Callis, 23 not out and Bill Root, 25 not out rubbed off the arrears in a mere 20 overs.
Dixon reversed his early season inability to win the toss and had no hesitation in batting against Doncaster on a hard batting pitch and he was rewarded when his openers put on a massive 220 for the first wicket.
Callis was first to go but not before he had hit an excellent 117 including two sixes and eight fours and just one more run was added when Patmore was trapped lbw by veteran Duncan Jones for 89. Bill Root hit three sixes and two fours as he raced to 48 off 30 balls as Collegiate ended on 300-3.
Doncaster got off to a fine start and the openers put on 97 before Will Street bowled the in-form Felix Odell for 36. Street then caught Gareth Cox off the bowling of Dixon for 84, Singh Kundra went for 41 and it became a matter of could Collegiate weedle out the tail.
Dixon returned figures of 5-77 and Street 2-58 but the Town lower order held firm as they ended on 219-7.
United’s Paul Cummins won the toss and put Rotherham Town in to bat on a very soggy Clifton Lane outfield but the Town openers withstood early pressure and gradually built a solid partnership of 107 when James Moorhouse was stumped by Joe Tetley off Ali Jahangir for 59.
Gerhard Rudolph batted splendidly with classic shots all round the wicket and had just completed a fine century when he was well caught in the deep by Asrar Qadoos for 100. Jordan Lowe hit a quick unbeaten 47 from 43 balls as Rotherham posted a challenging 257-5, Ollie Law and Jahangir taking two wickets each.
Nick Beneke led the reply with a hard hitting 71 but wickets fell at the other end and when the score stood at 141-7 they were looking down the barrel. They were rescued by a superb partnership between Adam Thorpe, 35no and Jahangir, 25no who not only staved off outright defeat but secured a valuable point as United ended on 198-7. Gurman Randhawa finished with 5-64 off 19 accurate overs. United decided to field when the YCA visited Bawtry Road on the Bank Holiday but after two early strikes they found the YCA batsmen in top form. Jack Leaning, son of former Sheffield United keeper Andy, scored 67 and shared a stand of 156 with George Ross 90 for the third wicket to take their total to 254-5. Hussain took 2-14 off seven impressive overs and Grant Johnson grabbed 3-19.
Beneke again led the scorers in the United innings hitting 73 including ninefours but he received scant support and they were soon in trouble at 100-7. Jahangir, 35 and Saqib Hussain, seven, added 18 for the final wicket but United were all out in the 51st over for 175.
Table (after 24 matches): York 142, Rotherham 131, Cleethorpes 116, YCA 106, Scarborough 104, Collegiate 96, Castleford 94, Barnsley 86, Harrogate 84, App Frod 81, United 53, Driffield 46, Hull 41, Doncaster 36.