PREMIER Division strugglers Birstall and Wakefield Thornes will hope to put their poor league form behind them in Sunday’s Jack Hampshire Trophy semi-finals.
Birstall host holders Wrenthorpe in their third clash in 15 days and Thornes visit last season’s beaten finalists Townville.
Wrenthorpe were in outstanding batting form in last weekend’s double header as they maintained their unbeaten record in all competitions this season. They stayed on course to win the Premier Division for the third year running by retaining a six-point lead with victories over Mirfield Parish Cavaliers and Birstall.
Eric Austin hammered nine sixes in an unbeaten 115 off 93 balls as Wrenthorpe piled up 250-5 in 34 overs in Saturday’s 93-run win at Cavaliers.
The next day, David Paynter (107) and skipper Gary Fellows (90) shared a 175-run partnership as Wrenthorpe posted 297-4 in 48 overs against Birstall who were bowled out in reply for 165 by Greig Batty (6-32).
Connor Williams hit 56 against Wrenthorpe and 101 at Hunslet Nelson the previous day but the Indian opener was on the losing side in both games.
Chasing Birstall’s 176-7, Hunslet were struggling at 60-6 before Joe Smith (59no) and Robert Barker (53) steered them to a three-wicket win.
New Farnley, Methley and Townville stayed in the championship hunt by collecting maximum points last weekend.
Chris Blackburn had figures of 4-18 and 5-18 in Farnley’s wins against Wakefield Thornes and Parish Cavaliers.
Marcus Walmsley struck an unbeaten 69 in Methley’s victory at Batley on Saturday and John Rickers (3-7) and Vele Dukoski (3-19) set up the Castleford side’s six-wicket success against Northowram Fields the next day.
Townville opener Tim Walton was in top form, scoring 180 runs in two games. Walton (93) put on 169 with Jonathan Booth (77) in Saturday’s win at Northowram and he hammered 87 in a 123-run stand with Steve Secker (53no) as Townville overhauled Hunslet’s 172 on Sunday.
Batley improved their chances of avoiding relegation by beating Altofts by 96 runs on Sunday.
Huzaifa Patel (6-53) sent Altofts collapsing from 40-0 to 110 all out, replying to Batley’s 204 that included 56 from Mustafa Bhatti, who helped them recover from 105-7.
Relegation candidates Carlton and Wakefield Thornes shared the points when both sides made 255 in the top-flight’s first tie this season on Sunday.
Phil Page (70) and Chris Leaf (59) guided Carlton to 255-4 and Nadeera Nawela led the Thornes reply with an unbeaten 135 off 131 balls. Nawela shared a last-wicket stand of 55 with Joe Cuthbertson, who was run out by Danny Wilbor off the penultimate ball when the scores were level.
Only one team will be relegated from the Premier Division and one side promoted to the top-flight if Moorlands finish in the top two in Division One in their final season before they switch to the Huddersfield League. Leaders Moorlands trounced Wakefield Thornes A by 170 runs on Saturday but lost by two wickets at Ossett the next day.
Moorlands are seven points clear of second-placed Wakefield St Michael’s, who beat Ossett by six runs but lost by two wickets at Buttershaw St Pauls.
Oulton were the only Division One promotion-contenders to record two victories. Hayden Preshaw (5-38) and David Flint (4-26) were Oulton’s match-winners against Scholes and Jonathan Gardiner (5-15) and Preshaw (3-29) gave them the edge at East Ardsley.
Hopton Mills beat Ardsley by three wickets on Saturday but then lost by one run at East Leeds, despite all-rounder Sam Gardiner’s 5-35 and unbeaten 62.
Chasing East Leeds’ 152, Hopton were all out for 151 after losing their last three wickets for just five runs.