Theakston Nidderdale League: Burton and Birstwith go level at top of the table

Birstwith's George Hirst on his way to a half-century against Bishop Thornton. Picture: Adrian Murray
Birstwith's George Hirst on his way to a half-century against Bishop Thornton. Picture: Adrian Murray

Burton Leonard and Birstwith went level on points at the top of Theakston Nidderdale Division One, taking advantage of a first defeat of 2018 for early pacesetters Helperby.

Neil Blaken’s Burton side, who lead the way courtesy of a superior nett run-rate, eased past struggling Wath & Melmerby on Saturday.

Toby Drummond (105) struck a fine century, while James Townsend (61) and Matt Rangeley also impressed in the hosts’ total of 284/7 from their 45 overs.

Mitchell Cross claimed 3-40 for Wath, then got the away team’s reply off to a strong start with a knock of 63 alongside skipper Bobby Hilton (30).

Burton went on to seize control, however, and secured maximum points when 4-25 for in-form bowler Sam Crompton and Jon Duffy’s 3-14 saw the visitors bowled out well short of their target on 162.

Also with 142 points to their name, Birstwith chalked up a sixth consecutive success when they dismantled bottom-of-the-table Bishop Thornton at The Moss.

The Curlews went into the fixture with just a solitary league win to their name, and the chances of this changing appeared slim when they were dismissed with only 126 on the board.

Captain Andrew Hyland did strike a defiant 50, however he received little by the way of support from his team-mates as Nick Wain (3-2) and George Hirst (3-20) shone for Birstwith.

Knocking the required runs off didn’t prove to be any kind of a problem for the title-chasers and they did it inside 20 overs without losing even a single wicket.

Tom Croston struck an unbeaten 64, while Hirst completed a fine afternoon’s work with 58 not out.

Helperby finally tasted defeat and slipped down to third place in the top-flight standings as they failed to chase down Darley’s first innings total of 185.

A half-century from Jordan King (52) and Paul Newbould’s 45 saw the hosts post a useful score despite four wickets for visiting skipper Dan Marston.

It seemed as if it would be business as usual as far as the Helperby response was concerned when they reached 99/2, but once Joe Corner (53) was sent on his way, the high-flyers collapsed to 130 all out.

All-round ace King was the catalyst for their demise, coming into the attack and snapping up an incredible return of 6-8 from 8.1 of the most miserly overs.

Defending champions Ouseburn got the better of Masham in a thrilling encounter that went right down to the wire.

A superb innings of exactly 100 by Ben Mackril was the only reason that the away team managed to get anything resembling a decent score on the board batting first.

Andy Heard and Kieran Bramley both effected a trio of dismissals apiece for Masham as they got rid of their visitors for 153.

The home reply began well enough thanks to 45 from Aussie Brodie Eccles, however Chris Morrison’s 4-34 brought Ouseburn right back into contention.

The game reached the penultimate over with Craig Broadley’s troops needing just three more runs for victory, however they lost their final wicket on 151.

A five-wicket haul for Jonny Luty helped West Tanfield put an end to their three-match losing run.

His impressive spell with ball in hand played a big part in sending Dacre Banks back to the pavilion with just 108 runs to their name chasing 147.

Captain Angus Shaw also took a trio of scalps for Tanfield, who had struggled themselves with the bat earlier in the day.

Adam Hodgkinson top-scored in the first innings with 34, while Dacre’s Muhammed Khuzafia (5-34) and Salman Sayed (3-24) both shone in a losing cause.

Goldsborough’s batsmen were in stunning form to propel them to a 187-run demolition of Knaresborough Forest.

Luke Boniface smashed 148 and Gavin Hodson made 50 as the York Road outfit racked up 342/6 then dismissed their opponents, who sit just above the relegation zone, for 155.

Forest skipper Joel Ainsley struck 80 of the visitors’ runs.

In Division Two, second-placed Kirk Deighton ended leaders Pateley Bridge’s unbeaten start to the season, closing the gap at the top of the table to just two points courtesy of a 69-run success.

The visitors went in to bat first, recording a total of 308/4, with Michael Malthouse (137 not out) notching 19 fours and five sixes.

Bridge couldn’t chase this down, running out of overs despite Colin Chadwick making 80 from 89 balls.

Third-placed Raskelf beat Spofforth by six wickets, restricting their opponents to 165 all out.

Robert Sigworth (4-34) and Lindon Giuffrida (3-46) piled on the pressure, but despite this Jack William still managed to put 78 on the scoreboard.

Raskelf easily knocked off the required runs, however, opener Barry Milburn smahing 92 not out and helping his team to stay within touching distance of the top two.

After five matches without a victory, Harrogate Strays picked up a much-needed win, comfortably beating Alne by six wickets on home soil.

The away side posted a score of 149 all out with Andy Scurr the scourge of the batting side, taking 4-36.

In response, Toby Eastaugh secured a half-century for ‘Gate from 90 balls, with support from Rob Stanworth (47).

Studley Royal impressively beat Markington by 82 runs in a high-scoring affair.

Royal batted first, compiling a huge 316/5 thanks to opening pair Michael Litterbach (136) and Patrick Moon (67) weighing in with a combined 203, showing that the strugglers were a side determined to improve their league standing through outstanding batting.

Despite 95 from Robbie Wilberforce and Rob Best’s 60, Markington were unable to reach their victory target of 317, ending 82 runs short

Julian Corps and Litterbach proved to be the bane of the hosts, as they took four and three wickets respectively.

Rock-bottom Blubberhouses are now 11 points from safety after falling to a three-wicket home reverse at the hands of Killinghall.

Captain Bill Davis opted to bat first, and Aussie Odi Duesbury’s 54 saw the hosts to 219/9, Bash Khan also contributing with an innings of 45.

Dan Atkinson took four wickets for Killinghall who then got over the line with almost three overs left to spare.

Atkinson was yet again the man in form, striking 41 from 22 balls with Andy Bellerby unbeaten on 37.

Scotton never looked like being challenged by out-of-form Burnt Yates, after posting 217/6.

Callum Halliday (121) was the mainstay of that effort, Dom Taylor grabbing a trio of scalps for the away team.

Yates made a good fist of their reply and Shaun Brockhill (99) fell agonisingly short of a ton, but Blake Dobbin snapped up 4-38 to leave the visitors all out 28 runs short.