Theakston Nidderdale League: A win at last for Forest

Big Ben Fielding hit a half-century to help Masham beat Goldsborough in Division One of the Theakston Nidderdale League. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Big Ben Fielding hit a half-century to help Masham beat Goldsborough in Division One of the Theakston Nidderdale League. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Knaresborough Forest finally registered their first win of the 2018 Theakston Nidderdale League season, climbing off the foot of the Division One table in the process.

After five defeats in as many completed fixtures this season, Joel Ainsley’s men were set a total of 177 for victory at Wath & Melmerby.

Paul Kennedy (37) and Australian Jayden Harris (32) contributed useful knocks in Forest’s run-chase, but it was an unbeaten half-century by all-round ace Ben Challis (58*) that took the visitors over the line.

Earlier, Challis had bagged 3-31 as Wath posted 176/7, Ben Kettlewell hitting 55.

A four-wicket home reverse at the hands of Dacre Banks saw Bishop Thorton slip to the bottom of the pile.

Martin Atkinson (34), Andrew Hyland (33) and Andrew Derrick (33) all got starts for the hosts, but a stunning return of 5-12 from Dacre’s Sam Mooney saw the Curlews bowled out for 162.

Muhammed Khuzafia (45 not out) and Stephen Ellison (39) then steered the away side to 168/6 inside 41 overs.

At the other end of the table, league leaders Helperby continued their superb start to the campaign with a comfortable victory over defending champions Ouseburn.

Skipper Dan Marston led by example, striking 78 not out as the high-flyers made their way to 236/8, Dan Spink chipping in with 39.

Chris Morrison snapped up three wickets for inconsistent Ouseburn, but their batsmen never found top gear and none of them managed more than opener Matthew Nicholls’ 40.

Helperby’s Simon Webster helped himself to 4-41 and Al Darnell took 3-13 to get rid of the hosts well short of their target on 147.

A fifth consecutive triumph for Burton Leonard sees them up to second place, just eight points off the summit.

James Townsend’s side began the year with back-to-back losses, but haven’t looked back since and chalked up another win when they sank West Tanfield away from home.

The hosts could only muster 150/9 from their 45 overs, Adam Hodgkinson top-scoring with 41 while Ned Vasey (3-35) and Sam Crompton (3-37) impressed with the ball.

An innings of 51 not out from Crompton then guided Burton to a five-wicket success in the 35th over, despite the efforts of Tanfield’s Jonny Luty, who got rid of four visiting batsmen.

Birstwith sit third in the top-flight standings after chasing down Darley’s total of 169.

George Hirst (4-30), Craig Robinson (3-36) and Pete Hardisty (3-51) all bowled well for the hosts, Jordan King (43) and Scott Clark (36) the main contributors to the Darley total.

Robinson then weighed in with 51 not out and Hirst added 38 to take Birstwith to 171/4 with seven and a half overs to spare.

Masham leap-frogged Saturday’s opponents Goldsborough andclimbed to fourth spot courtesy of a 43-run away victory.

Ben Fielding (52), Tom Smith (48) and Aussie Brodie Eccles (43) all looked in good touch as the visiting team made their way to 199, Jarrod McPhee and Russ Robshaw both scooping four-wicket hauls.

McPhee and opening partner Damon Ive struck 39 and 34 respectively as Goldsborough made a positive start to their reply, but a middle-order slump eventually saw them fall well short on 156/8.