Normal service resumed as ‘big three’ enjoy wins

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At last, a full day for all the Premier teams in the South Yorkshire League - and there was a very familiar feel to the results, as the clubs that have dominated local cricket reasserted themselves.

For 21 of the last 23 years, Treeton, Elsecar and Wickersley have each won the championship seven times.

Whitley Hall have come closest to them, but have only been champions once.

Instead, they have reserved their most imperious displays for cup competitions, winning the Whitworth Cup in four out of the last five years and the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy twice.

But there are plenty of other good teams around, all of whom have their day. Unfortunately for them, last Saturday wasn’t one of them.

Wath, still the league leaders, were swallowed up by Elsecar. Brett Hunsley (73) and Glenn Yates (70) were back to form to take them to 235-6 while Wath (with only one Barlow available) succumbed for just 86.

Appropriately for the weather, there were six ducks - and all the Elsecar bowlers were feeding on them (Andy Ivill got most with 4-31).

Treeton felled Norton Oakes unceremoniouslywith chief lumberjack Steve Foster taking 5-28 from 12 and then making 51* as he and Scott Cunningham (48) splintered the Oakes to win by eight wickets.

There was symmetry about Wickersley, as Andy Harrison and Muhammad Naveed each took four wickets, to bowl out Darfield for 179 before Shaajhan Younis and Jordan Lowe each scored 58* to win with seven overs - and six wickets - to spare.

In the day’s best game, Whitley Hall were almost held by Hallam who were second at the start of the day but were missing three key players.

With Humphrey Emery and Harry Bliss absent, Rob Marcroft took his chance to score 53 as Hallam set a challenging 196-8 on a damp wicket.

Mark Williams followed up his 41 with excellent seam bowling (15 overs for 21) as Whitley were made to bide their time.

But with Chris Siddall (63), Jaco Castle (42) and all the top batsmen removed, it was left to Ben Webster (who’d taken 6-49 in 12) and junior, James Brown to eke out the runs with just two balls to spare in a nail-biting finish.

Whiston have had a torrid start to the season but came out all guns blazing against Coal Aston.

Andy Tomlinson (who else?) stoked the flames with 102 in 104 balls and with Steve Taylor and Peter Wilson both adding fifties, Whiston blasted their team to 276-4 and declared (a rare tactic in 50 overs cricket) with 7 overs to spare, desperate to have as much time as possible to force a win.

Dave Rodgers (48) and Andy Lockwood (36) put on 77 for the first wicket, but then the embers began to cool and Coal Aston were finally snuffed out for 149, Wilson continuing to enjoy his day with 3-14.

Aston Hall, who started the season so brightly, were unable to deal with Tickhill’s overseas player, Steve Reid, who scored 35 helping the last three wickets to score 60 vital runs as Tickhill battled to 176.

The Reid blanked off one end, taking 6-19 in 12, to bowl out Aston for 135 (Rob Ward doing his best with 38).

In Division One, the weather was less kind. But Norton Woodseats were left wishing their game was washed out, as Conisbrough bowled them out for 110 and then knocked off the runs for three down in 20 overs!

Next week, of course, it will rain. That’s the pattern of the season, but if not, the toughest game could be Wickersley and Hallam at Sandygate, with an intriguing local derby between Coal Aston and Norton Oakes.