FOUR of the Championship’s top five teams meet on Saturday as a wide-open title race hots up.
Leaders Hopton Mills visit Oulton and second-placed Azaad host Liversedge while Wakefield St Michael’s have an excellent chance to continue their revival against winless bottom team Caribbean.
St Michael’s followed victories over Northowram Fields and Azaad by winning a high-scoring game at Hopton Mills that produced 591 runs.
Hopton looked handily placed when Neil Browne cracked nine sixes in a whirlwind 156 off 133 balls to steer them to 294-7.
Browne put on 99 with Ashley Mackereth (65) and shared a 134-run stand with Stephen Bland (42no) but it wasn’t enough because St Michael’s overhauled the target with four overs to spare after James Cooper smashed 91 off 50 deliveries.
Azaad moved level on points with Hopton when Imran Mahboob (59) and Syed Shah Bukhari (4-10) led them to a 134-run win at Caribbean.
Liversedge maintained their challenge, Paul Sackley’s century off 86 balls steering them to a five-wicket win against East Ardsley, for whom Ashley Pearson and Louie Hurley hit half-centuries.
Oulton’s promotion hopes were dented by a one-wicket defeat at Northowram fields.
Chasing Oulton’s 179 that included 48 by Jonathan Henshaw, Northowram were in deep trouble when Michael Robinson (4-50) reduced them to 81-7 but they were rescued by Shakeel Mahmood (52) and Dewsbury Rams RL head coach Glenn Morrison (25) who shared a crucial 84-run stand.
Premership title favourites Methley retained a 10-point lead over closest rivals Townville.
Luke Patel (48) and skipper Marcus Walmsley (45) put on 79 as Methley eased to a six-wicket win at Carlton who were bowled out for 145 by Mustafa Bashir (3-15), Ed Walmsley (2-19) and Patel (2-8). Saturday’s Premiership fixtures were reversed from the previous week and Townville were the only side to avenge an earlier defeat.
All-rounder Jack Hughes (73no and 4-26) was outstanding as the Castleford team beat Ossett by seven wickets after losing to them at Poplar Avenue.
Wakefield Thornes, Batley, Mirfield Parish Cavaliers and Wrenthorpe all completed league doubles. Thornes bagged their fifth straight league win when Faisal Irfan (6-25) and Ravindra Paliyaguruge (2-1) routed Birstall for 52.
Ayaz Seedat (78) led Batley to 142 at Hunslet Nelson who were toppled for 115 by Muhammed Shahnawaz (4-48) and Sardar Khan (3-12).
Terence James (81), David Blakeley (76), Tom Fretwell (5-24) and Nazar Hussain (3-15) shone for Mirfield Parish Cavaliers in an easy win against bottom team Altofts.
Jordan Sleighthome (5-25 and 71), Darryl Hendricks (88no) and James Glynn (4-60) were Wrenthorpe’s top performers in an eight-wicket victory against rivals Buttershaw St Paul’s.