Castleford CC and Woodlands CC set for Headingley showdown in Yorkshire Premier League Champions’ play-off final
CASTLEFORD will meet Woodlands in the Yorkshire Premier Leagues Champions’ play-off final next Saturday.
However, both teams were put through the mill before clinching their places at Emerald Headingley.
Bradford Premier League winners Woodlands were at Yorkshire Southern Premier League champions Appleby Frodingham, who overcame the loss of two early wickets to score 165 after winning the toss and batting.
Opener Alex Grimes made a patient 30 off 90 deliveries, adding 53 for the third wicket with Jordan Cook (21) before both were dismissed in quick succession, but the impetus in came from Jamar Ifill, who scored 55 at nearly a run a ball, hitting five fours and three sixes and dominating a partnership of 72 for the fifth wicket with Matt Morland (24).
Chris Brice combined economy with potency, as he often does, in taking 2-34 off his 15 overs, but the late-innings damage was done by pace bowler Muhammad Bilal (3-42) and off-spinner Kez Ahmed (3-48).
When Woodlands batted they could initially find no-one to stick alongside overseas player Brad Schmulian, who was unbeaten on 38 as they tumbled to 112-8, with Kieran Lindley (4-40) and Paul Hilton (3-50) seemingly bowling the Lincolnshire side to victory.
However, ferocious competitor Ahmed then came to the crease, and at last New Zealander Schmulian found someone that he could rely on.
The all-rounder made 29 not out at No 8, including one four and two sixes, to carry Woodlands to a two-wicket victory halfway through the 47th over, with Schmulian ending on 62 not out, including five fours.
However, as the Kiwi, who topped the Bradford Premier League batting averages, flew home over the weekend, he will not be available for the final.
There was even more drama at Savile Park in the other semi-final, where hosts Castleford beat Richmondshire by just one run.
The Yorkshire Premier League North winners looked to be on for a bigger total than 180-7 when openers Chesney Hughes (33) and Liam Hyde (38) added 64, but they needed 46 not out by Christopher Briggs to get to that mark after Sam Wood took 3-34.
Richmondshire had their own hero in Matthew Cowling, who made 65, but after Hughes took 3-40, Matthew Rees 2-28 and Jack Young 2-33, they needed seven off the last over with two wickets in hand.
Hughes bowled it and conceded none off his first three deliveries before the fourth was hit for a boundary by Cowling.
Then came a wide as North Yorkshire & South Durham League champions Richmondshire seemed to have the edge before Briggs dismissed Cowling and then Craig Marshall with the final two deliveries to give Castleford the narrowest of wins.
The Bradford Premier Division may have finished a week ago, but the lower divisions hadn’t – and Bankfoot finishing runners-up in Division One to go up with champions Ossett.
Jer Lane and East Ardsley were promoted from Division Two and will replace Lightcliffe and Hartshead Moor.
Newcomers Crossflatts won Division Three and went up alongside Great Preston, while Scholes and Spen Victoria took the drop from Division Two.
In the York & District Senior League Premier Division, Beverley Town clinched the sole promotion berth to the Yorkshire Premier League North, while in the Yorkshire Southern Premier League, Cleethorpes and Whiston Parish Church will replace Hallam and Wickersley Old Village.
With the Premiership winners already decided in the Huddersfield League and the Division One champions confirmed in the Airedale & Wharfedale League, attention turned to the top of the Jedi Championship and Division Two respectively.
Skelmanthorpe, who did so well to reach the Sykes Cup semi-finals, won the second-tier table in the Huddersfield League and will be promoted alongside Almondbury Wesleyans to replace Slaithwaite and Mirfield Parish Cavaliers.
Marsden and Thurstonland were relegated from the Championship, with Cedar Court Conference champions Hoylandswaine II and Lepton Highlanders taking their place.
In the Airedale & Wharfedale League, Olicanian and Horsforth have gone down from Division One and will be replaced by Division Two champions New Rover and runners-up Horsforth Hall Park.
Kirkstall Educational and Guiseley are the fall guys from Division Two, with Harden and Calverley taking their place as champions and runners-up in Division Three.