Theakston Nidderdale League: Top-flight leaders Helperby capitalise as title rivals slip up

Seven wickets for Eddie Myers helped Alne get the better of Killinghall in Division Two of the Theakston Nidderdale League
Seven wickets for Eddie Myers helped Alne get the better of Killinghall in Division Two of the Theakston Nidderdale League

Helperby CC took full advantage of a costly defeat for title-rivals Birstwith to pull 15 points clear at the top of Theakston Nidderdale League Division One.

The league leaders beat rock-bottom Bishop Thornton by 45 runs having made 164 all out batting first.

Joe Corner and Tom Messenger both contributed knocks of 35, while Jack Kellett took a trio of scalps for the relegation-threatened Curlews.

Thornton could only make it as far as 119 in response, Brandon Bant (4-47) causing their batsmen all sorts of problems.

Second-placed Birstwith put 203/9 on the board at home to Masham, but this total did not prove sufficient.

Dan Riley hit 40 and George Hirst 31 as visiting bowler Craig Broadley helped himself to 3-27.

A half-century from Bailey McCourt (66) allied to Andrew Smith’s 49 and Brodie Eccles’ 34 then guided Masham over the line with six wickets in hand.

Darley were another side to lose ground at the top of the table, losing out to Burton Leonard on home soil.

The hosts, third in the top-flight standings, were in big trouble at 79/7 until wicket-keeper Rob Hainsworth came to their rescue with a timely innings of 60.

Ned Vasey, Tom Rowlay and Sam Crompton bagged three wickets apiece for Burton, and the away team made short work of their run-chase.

Toby Drummond (79 not out) and skipper James Townsend (54 not out) combined nicely at the crease to seal a comfortable win inside 28 overs.

At the opposite end of the table, having tasted victory just once during the opening 13 rounds of the 2018 season, Knaresborough Forest recorded back-to-back triumphs when they sank Dacre Banks.

Sam Mooney’s 51 saw Dacre to 196 all out, while Aussie Jayden Harris claimed 3-45 for the visitors.

Joe Stanley’s maiden century for the club then ensured that Forest knocked off the required runs, the opener smashing 19 fours in an unbeaten 117.

The men from Union Field remain in the relegation zone, but now sit just 11 points behind Wath & Melmerby, who have won only one of their last four completed fixtures.

They lost out to Goldsborough on Saturday, failing to chase down their visitors’ score of 241/8.

Jarrod McPhee (93) and captain Damon Ive (86) were the mainstays of that effort, Richard Dale grabbing 4-29.

Mitchell Cross (43) and Ashley Casey (38) did their best to keep Wath in the game, but they were bowled out for 192 in the end, Henry Saul taking four of the wickets to fall.

West Tanfield overcame Ouseburn at the Sleningford Oval.

A return of 3-33 from Juvan Gericke meant that the hosts were able to restrict the defending champions to 156/8 and Sam Abel’s knock of 48 not out helped Tanfield wrap things up five down with almost 20 overs to spare.

In Division Two, pace-setters Pateley Bridge suffered just their second defeat of the campaign.

Tom Simpson struck 58 of the Badgers’ 188/8 at home to Burnt Yates, but Ryan Lamb’s unbeaten 94 saw the home team to a six-wicket success.

Scotton moved to within 15 points of the summit as 4-18 from Ian Morland and Charlie Lloyd’s 3-12 got rid of second-bottom Blubberhouses with just 120 to their name.

The title-chasers didn’t have things all their own way in reply, but they eventually got the job done at the expense of eight wickets.

Kirk Deighton made a return to winning ways, posting 238/6 against Spofforth thanks to runs from Simon Dwyer (62), Rich Ward (49) and Henry Blythe (43 not out).

Dywer then completed a fine afternoon’s work by taking 5-30 to help send the away side packing for 185.

Centurion Jim Grange (104 not out) and Dan Coad (69) shone as Studley Royal racked up 231 when they entertained Raskelf.

A haul of 5-17 by Michael Litterbach then played a big part in the visitors being skittled for 84 in reply.

Alne made their way to 232/8 away at Killinghall, Will Bell (61) and Alex Buteux hitting half-centuries in the face of some fine bowling by Scott Copley (4-35).

All-rounder Copley weighed in with 64 as hosts took their turn at the crease, however Eddie Myers’ stunning return of 7-37 meant that spoils left with the men from the Magic Circle.

Markington’s plummet towards the third tier continued when they were bowled out by Harrogate Strays for 117, despite Robbie Wilberforce’s score of 58.

Robert Horbury bagged 4-19 for the Roosters, then 41 from the bat of Tom Clark helped them wrap things up.