Everyone knew it was going to rain and round about when it was going to rain. Some people didn’t mind – thought it would get them home in time to watch the football.
Those wanting to win had two options: win the toss and bowl the opposition out cheaply, then knock off the runs; or get as many as you can as quickly as can, declare, then bowl out the opposition fast. On the day, Plan A worked better than Plan B.
In the Championship, Hallam, Elsecar, Darfield, Tickhill and Conisbrough won the toss and bowled. Wath batted.
Hallam bowled Rotherham Town out for 56, all the bowlers feasting, then Will Hale and Nick Dymock knocked off the runs in 10 overs to win by 10 wickets. Elsecar bowled Kexborough out for 111, Paul Cummins beginning a great day with 4-15, before topping it up with 53* as Elsecar won by nine wickets.
Darfield bowled Coal Aston out for 107, Haider Jehangir taking 5-11, then Waqas Maqsood belted 73* in 34 balls to win also by nine wickets in 12 overs. So far, so good.
Conisbrough started really well – they had Whiston PC in trouble at 7-2 with Danny Kemp out for nought, then got Andy Tomlinson for 20 and had all the stars out at 85-6, except Steve Taylor.
He went on to play fantastically well, getting 106* in a Whiston total of 211. That left Conisbrough with no time to win and at 46-3 it was Whiston who fancied their chances but Scott Lowe and Arosh Janoda hung on until the rains came.
Tickhill bowled Houghton Main out for 159. James Stuart took 6-38, Alex Rowland 3-13 but it took them 46 overs. Houghton had Ian Simon back for the first time since slipping in the outfield and injuring his leg in the opening game of the season. He got 28 and then 3-16 as Tickhill wobbled, but Stuart is also a fine all-rounder and his 58 steadied the chase and they were just 21 runs short with five down, as the rains came.
Wath decided to bat and nearly got burnt; they made 178 all out against Collegiate II. Shawn Dyson got 39 and several others got starts, but no-one went on to get the big runs to enable them to declare early. But then the rains held off and Tom Hancock (49*) was able to ignite Collegiate (not an easy task this season) and they blazed to just 26 short, for five down with six overs to go when the weather eventually arrived at Moor Road, and put out their fire.
So Hallam and Elsecar move further ahead, Darfield are back to third and Coal Aston and Rotherham Town share the bottom two slots, from which they may struggle to escape as the season moves on.
This weekend, the games to watch are Darfield against Elsecar (crucial to Darfield’s promotion hopes), Hallam against Wath and Tickhill v Conisbrough.
And talking of Hallam and Conisbrough, they shared an excellent if ultimately frustrating tussle in the Whitworth Cup on Sunday. Conisbrough won the toss on another wet day which saw Elsecar’s game against Kexborough postponed. Following the same plan, Hallam were inserted, lost early wickets but Dymock’s 73 game them 156 to bowl at, which they did, fiercely. Conisbrough were 8-3 at one stage!
Gary Strephan (40) pulled them round but had gone by the time rain and bad light ended the game, finely poised at 100-6, with Conisbrough going through on run rate.