A second wicket stand of 182 between Elliot Callis and Joe Root put paid to any thoughts Sheffield United had of picking up points from the derby match with Collegiate at Bawtry Road.
The partnership oozed class and supporters from both camps were united in their praise for the quality and placement of their shots, the footwork and running between the wickets. Both hit well-deserved centuries. Callis carried his bat for 118 after Root had been caught hitting out for 101 but Collegiate’s 293-3 was a bridge too far for injury-hit United who lost wicketkeeper Joe Tetley after three overs with a damaged finger and his replacement Nick Beneke suffered an ankle injury and had to have a runner when batting.
Collegiate stalwart and leading scorer Nick Gaywood, due to bat lower down the order, lavished praise on the two youngsters: “They are so aware of a run, they constantly placed the ball on the ground between the fielders. They’ve got so much talent.”
After Roots dismissal the general opinion around the ground was that they had just witnessed something special and there is little wonder that Yorkshire think so highly of him.
When United replied Beneke was badly hampered by his injury and Pete Turnbull nipped off his off-bail when the South Australian was on eight. Matters got decidedly worse the following ball when Ben Percival fell to a juggling slip catch by Will Street and Paul Cummins became Turnbull’s third victim when he was trapped lbw for 21 with United struggling at 38-3.
Tetley managed to overcome his injury to share partnerships of 48 with Tanzeel Ali 21, for the fourth, and 42 with Dean Smith 17, for the fifth wicket and had just completed a well-earned half century when Matt Dixon proved that experience can also reap dividends.
The United lower order, in their quest for runs, fell to the craft and guile of the Collegiate off-spinner and the hosts tumbled from 128-4 to 157-9 in the space of 10 overs. Zafran Ali, 11no and Ali Jahangir held up Collegiate for four more overs but the visitors took the final wicket in the 44th over to record an 121 run victory. Dixon finished with remarkable figures of 6-22 from nine overs to make it 28 for the season.
Collegiate’s away match at Harrogate, scheduled for last Sunday, was cancelled after heavy overnight rain.
Rotherham Town are Saturday’s visitors to Abbeydale and Arnie Sidebottom’s men are making a serious challenge to unseat champions York whose lead has been cut by Rotherham to just six points.
United will be hoping for injuries to clear in time for their visit to lowly Driffield and Barnsley, desperate for a win to kick-start their season, face York at Shaw Lane.
Table (all played 14 unless stated): York 86 points, Rotherham 80, Cleethorpes 13-62, Scarborough 60, Collegiate 56, App Frod 53, Barnsley 49, Castleford 48, Harrogate 44, YCA 43, United 36, Hull 32, Driffield 27, Doncaster 20.