Last weekend brought both recognisable cricketing weather and opponent to the Sheffield sides in the Yorkshire South Premier League.
A youthful Collegiate side travelled to Shaw Lane to play Barnsley and elected to field after winning the toss. Two early breakthroughs justified that decision as skipper Robert Shaw and Henry Aldred reduce Barnsley to 36-2.
Barnsley skipper Trower (51) combined with overseas star Zohaib Ahmad to put on 78 for the third wicket and following his dismissal, the incoming batsmen found the going tough. Ahmad was scoring at the other end and compiled an excellent 101 off 115 ball with seven boundaries and four sixes.
Collegiate used eight bowlers in search for further wickets, with the absence from the attack of Messers Dixon, Root and Shutt all notable. Ahmad was last man out as Barnsley finished on 208-7 with two wickets apiece for Shaw and Dan Priestley.
The reply began badly with the county contracted Callis falling without scoring, but Walton and Priestley posted a half century partnership, before the former fell to Firn and Dunn followed quickly to leave the reply at 59-3. The Barnsley attack then pressed home their advantage, as wickets fell steadily and with regularity. Only one further partnership totalled 20 or more as the nagging accuracy of spinners Oliver Jackson (3-13) and Ali Jahangir (3-47) saw Collegiate crumble to 124 all out with almost 12 overs left – an 84 run victory for the Griffins and Collegiate licking their wounds back down the M1.
Sheffield and Phoenix United CC welcomed close neighbours Rotherham Town to Bawtry Road and chose to bat on the winning the toss. What followed was the strongest batting performance from the home side in several years. Opener Saleem hit a brisk 29 from just 24 balls and Danial Rafiq struck 21 off just 11 balls. Skipper Azeem Rafiq took on that momentum, perhaps inspired by the Twenty20 performance against Whitley Hall the previous week, striking 68 off just 39 balls with 10 fours and two sixes. His dismissal saw United stand at 185-3. At the other end, Anjam had patiently compiled 75 off a highly respectable 103 balls before being run out, but Matt Taylor (57) and Rudraksh Mangrola (39) kept the run rate moving. Late wickets for debutant Tom Starkes (4-70) left United on 376-9. High profile signing Sajid Mahmood took two wickets but at a cost of 75 from just eight overs.
Starkes also opened the batting and despite some positive stroke play to try and threaten the massive target, the risk of wickets was never far away. After James Exley picked up three wickets to go with Patel’s dismissal of Starkes, the visitors were 92-4. Irfan Mirza posted a positive 63 with 12 boundaries, in a fine partnership with Gidana (33) but the returning Yaqoob Yousuf accounted for both of them, along with two tailenders to finish the innings with 4-64. With Hewad Abdullah unable to bat, United won by 155 runs for their first league victory of the season.
United will look to take this momentum from two wins forward on their trip up the M18 to Doncaster while Collegiate will look to complete a steel city double over Rotherham at Clifton Lane with each sides having identical records after three games.
After three games: - App Frodingham 36, Wakefield Thornes 36, Wickersley 24, Cleethorpes 24, COLLEGIATE 16, SPUCC 16, Whitley Hall 14, Doncaster 14, Treeton 12, Aston Hall 12, Barnsley 12, Rotherham Town 0.