Theakston Nidderdale League: Division One title is Darley CC's to lose
The battle for the Theakston Nidderdale League Division One title will go right down to the final day of the season.
But, the championship is very much Darley CC’s to lose after they recorded a 13th win in 17 completed fixtures this term by beating Goldsborough on Saturday.
And with rock-bottom Burton Leonard – a side who have lost 16 games on the bounce – awaiting Duncan Naylor and his men this weekend, rivals Birstwith will be praying for a miracle.
Currently second in the table, they must beat Blubberhouses, and hope that Darley slip up. Birstwith currently boast a greater points tally, but having played a game more they trail narrowly (by 0.3) on points average over the course of 2021.
Darley’s potentially decisive victory over Goldsborough on Saturday owed much to a knock of 69 by Jim Grange, his half-century steering the hosts to 206 in 44.5 overs.
Luke Boniface struck 65 in reply, but 4-18 from Kabir Bashir helped ensure that the away team did not progress any further than 148.
Birstwith kept themselves very much in the hunt by becoming the latest in a long line of sides to put Burton Leonard to the sword.
An excellent spell of 4-13 from Callum Halliday helped get rid of the basement boys on 164, Matt Morton hitting 31.
Craig Robinson (64) and Sam Ryan (42) then eased Birstwith to a six-wicket triumph in just 20 overs.
Third-placed Helperby were turned over at home by Ouseburn, a result which helps keep the latter’s chances of beating the drop alive.
William Bennison (130 not out) smashed a stunning unbeaten ton to lead the visitors to 241/5, Josh Bennison adding 42.
William Bennison then completed a superb afternoon’s work by snapping up 4-31 alongside Will Jenkins (3-27) as Helperby were dismissed on 112.
Ouseburn now head into their last match of the campaign, at home to Pateley Bridge, with some hope of catching 10th-placed Harrogate 3rds, who lost out to Masham.
Needing 201 for victory, the Roosters could only muster 173/9, Max Sowray top-scoring with 35.
Earlier, Sam Ambler (60 not out) and Craig Broadley (54) had shone with the bat for Masham in the face of some good bowling by Brad Smith, who helped himself to 4-34.
Pateley Bridge secured their top-flight status when they overcame Blubberhouses in a close contest.
Tom Hardcastle impressed for the Badgers, taking six scalps as the visitors were dismissed for 192, Sajid Khan weighing in with an innings of 52.
Tom Fryer then struck an unbeaten 66 alongside Chris Langley (47), guiding Bridge to 195/6 with just seven deliveries to spare.
Elsewhere, James Abel’s fine knock of 82 not out saw West Tanfield to a comfortable win on the road at Kirk Deighton.
Reece Farren (61 not out) and Will Shaw (35) also contributed to a rapid run-chase, the away team requiring just 23.5 overs to reach 185/2.
Earlier, Josh Powell made 37 of Deighton’s 184 all out, while Juvan Gericke, Jonny Luty and Angus Shaw all scooped three wickets apiece.