Sheffield United earned a valuable eight points when they beat Doncaster Town at Bennetthorpe in an ill tempered match which could land several players in trouble with the League Disciplinary Committee after incidents on the field.
Paul Cummins won the toss and United couldn’t have made a better start when Adam Thorpe clean bowled Felix Odell and Amitpaul Kundra with just eight runs scored. James Stuart then joined Gareth Cox and the pair set about making a recovery adding 59 for the third wicket before Stuart was caught for 30. Cox was also bowled by Thorpe for 60 but with the score on 125-5 Town looked set for 200.
However United stuck to their task and in the 54th over Doncaster were all out for 179. Thorpe bowled 13 skiddy overs to take 4-25, Ollie Law and Reece Shutt both took 2-27 and the fielding was of the highest order.
Doncaster’s opening attack made runs hard to come by but the United batsmen all showed determination and they gradually gained the upper hand. Ben Percival batted well for his 36 and Grant Johnson was unlucky to be adjudged lbw for 25 before two lower order stands set up the victory. Dean Smith, making his Yorkshire League debut, batted sensibly for 20 not out and Law upped the run rate hitting 19 as United reached the target with three wickets and two overs to spare.
Cummins was delighted with his team: ”We really felt like a team; everybody contributed,” he said. “It was such an important match as a loss would have put us close to the bottom but we grafted throughout and I’m full of confidence we can beat Appleby Frodingham on Saturday.”
Sheffield Collegiate slipped to a second successive defeat, losing at home to Yorkshire Academy by two wickets.
Matt Dixon elected to bat after winning the toss but he probably regretted his decision when he saw his first three batsmen back in the pavilion and only 19 on the scoreboard. Ed McKenna then joined the fray to stop the rot and get the Collegiate innings back on track. The reliable Lancastrian was at the crease with Riaz Richards and their experience was invaluable as they added 40 for the fourth wicket. Alex Patmore then shared a stand of 72 for the fifth before he fell for 30 and McKenna completed his century before being stumped for 101. Jason Fisher hit 20 off 38 balls and Collegiate’s innings ended on 204-6.
After the early loss of James McNichol, YCA’s Alex Lees and George Ross buckled down and forged a partnership of 105 for the second wicket before Ross was stumped by Patmore off Will Street for 56.
The score reached 167 before the third fell but Collegiate fought back and it was only the performance of Lees that saw the visitors home. He hit a fine 102 including 10 fours and was still there when victory came with three overs left. Wickets were again shared two each for Street, Dixon and Fisher.
York are Saturdays visitors to Abbeydale and United will be hoping for further success at improving Appleby Frodingham, although Zafran Ali is out for at least three weeks with a broken finger but Aussie Nick Beneke is due to return following a broken bone in his hand.
Saturday’s fixtures (noon start): Appleby Frod v Sheffield United, Driffield v Cleethorpes, Hull v Barnsley, Rotherham v Castleford, Scarborough v Harrogate, Collegiate v York, YCA v Doncaster.
Table after eight matches: York 51, Barnsley 37, Cleethorpes 35, Rotherham 34, Harroogate 32, App Frod 27, Collegiate 25, YCA 24, Scarborough 24, Castleford 23, United 21, Hull 14, Driffield 12, Doncaster 10.