Cricket: Townville gearing up for biggest test of season so far

East Ardsley bowler 'Chris Towell (1004019e). PIC: Steve Riding
East Ardsley bowler 'Chris Towell (1004019e). PIC: Steve Riding
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DEFENDING champions Townville’s unbeaten start to the season will be tested this weekend.

They host neighbours Methley in Saturday’s clash of last season’s top two CYL teams and they visit Aire-Wharfe League Beckwithshaw in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy first round the next day.

Townville, who lost to Woodlands in the 2006 Champions Trophy final, are aiming to become the first CYL club to win the competition.

Former Essex and Northants batsman Tim Walton and young all-rounder Conor Harvey have been outstanding in the Castleford side’s opening three league and cup wins.

Harvey (5-12) ripped through Carlton’s top order in Saturday’s Premiership match. He bagged the first five wickets as they fell for just 36, replying to Townville’s 174-6 that featured 82 from 41-year-old Walton.

Birstall, Scholes, Townville and Wakefield Thornes are the top-flight’s only remaining unbeaten teams after Saturday’s low scores when five sides were bowled out for less than 100.

Pakistani all-rounder Zain Abbas continued his impressive start with promoted Scholes.

After scoring 218 runs in two victories on the opening weekend, he routed Hunslet Nelson for 99 on Saturday by snapping up 5-31. James Stansfield hit 53 as Scholes knocked off the runs to stay level on points at the top with Birstall who won a low-scoring game against Hopton Mills, the other promoted team.

Michael Carroll (5-27) and Namibian international Zhivago Groenewald (3-7) toppled Birstall for 93 but they were rescued by Craig Wood (4-18), Rob McFarlane (3-30) and Nick Kaye (2-1) who routed Hopton for 71.

Josh Shaw (63) led Thornes to 168-9 against Ossett who were skittled for 65 by Matthew Varley (3-18), Mahmood Rasool (2-12), Shaw (2-5) and David Toft (2-6).

Ex-Yorkshire spinner Gurman Randhawa’s battling 41 was in vain for Ossett because no other batsman scored more than four runs.

Methley’s new signing Luke Patel hit an unbeaten 83 to leave his old club Wrenthorpe still looking for their first win.

Andy Bourke (58) and Greig Batty (44) led Wrenthorpe’s scoring.

Altofts were only top-flight team to score more than 200 on Saturday and it proved just enough against Mirfield Parish Cavaliers.

Harry Clewett and Arkam Asif struck half centuries as Altofts posted 204-6 and Parish’s reply fell narrowly short when they were all out for 196 with three balls remaining, despite Terence James’s 50.

Batley have made an excellent start in their bid for a swift return to the top-flight after relegation last season.

They maintained their 100 per cent record with an eight-wicket win at East Leeds who were routed for 94 by Huzaifa Patel (5-32) and Tariq Hussain (4-22).

Batley are joint leaders with Liversedge whose six-wicket success at East Ardsley featured a 75-run stand between Paul Marlow (46) and Alan Sumner (40).

Scott Wightman (7-28) produced Saturday’s outstanding bowling display as Wakefield St Michael’s beat Oulton by 123 runs.

Ryan Healey (37) was the only Oulton batsman who reached double figures as Wightman and Michael Halloran (3-30) sent them collapsing to 58 all out.

Last season’s Division Two champions Azaad have started impressively in Division One with two convincing wins.

Imran Mahmood hammered an unbeaten century off 109 balls as Azaad posted 223-4 at Mirfield who managed only 61 in reply.

Franklyn Williams (66no) contributed over half Caribbean’s total of 123 in a seven-wicket defeat at Westwood Park.

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

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