The division one title race is back on despite Beckwithshaw’s comprehensive win over Burley on Saturday after the leaders were given a 20-point deduction for repeated disciplinary issues.
The Harrogate side now sit just 15 points ahead of nearest rivals Otley and must prepare themselves for the prospect of a shoot-out when they welcome them on the penultimate weekend.
League secretary Dave Alred said: “It is the responsibility of all clubs to ensure that their players play within the laws, rules and the spirit of the game.
“Unfortunately, this club’s players have had a number of disciplinary issues over the past couple, of years of which the club were fully aware.
“The club had been put on notice that there would be a possible points deduction if there were any further breaches.
“The League considered long and hard the punishments and, after warnings, gave the 20-point minimum deduction as the League accepts and have sympathy with the club which has been endeavouring to improve their situation.
“But sometimes, reluctantly, action has to be taken.”
Beckwithshaw captain Alex Lilley declined to comment on the league’s decision, but did say that their win against third-placed Burley had made the title more of a two-horse race.
“They’re not out of it, but I’d be shocked if they won it, to be honest,” he said. “But they have some good players and there are still 60 points available.
“It was big in the first place, but the points deduction does make the Otley game massive. We need 46 points to win the league from three games, and it’s a case of winning all three of those games and taking each game as it comes.
“We’ve got Colton on Saturday. I haven’t played there and have no idea what it’s like, but we certainly won’t be taking that game lightly and aren’t taking it for granted.”
His side did take their full quota in beating Burley, with Sam Moore continuing his fine season with 70 and Eugene Burzler claiming 52 of their 227-9. In reply, the away side never really looked in the hunt thanks to four wickets apiece for skipper Lilley (4-34) and his brother James (4-7).
The result was Burley’s sixth defeat in eight and leaves them 40 points adrift, but Otley were able to pile on pressure at the top with a 20-point win at seventh-placed Ilkley.
Batting first, the title chasers set 226 to win thanks to knocks of 62 for Chris Thompson and 40 from David Hester, before Thompson returned to snare 6-20 and steamroller Ilkley out for 108.
In the relegation zone, Collingham continued to play leapfrog with Colton and keep themselves mathematically alive after they chased Pool’s Sam Wilkinson-inspired 206. Luke Kilby took 6-56 for the hosts and finished off the job with the bat, striking 26 not out after handsome knocks of 51 for Kuda Samunderu and 71 for Yorkshire starlet Leo Johnson.
Once again their efforts were wiped out, however, by North Leeds, who moved to within three points of eight-placed Guiseley after beating Horsforth.
Nick Summerscales (3-46), Joel Morley (3-26) and Farhan Khan (3-4) did the business as the hosts were dismissed for 118, before Callum Carson top scored in the Roundhay side’s successful three-wicket victory.
Guiseley’s defeat at Bilton was largely inflicted by county trialist Kiel Van Vollenhoven, who took 4-10 before striking 48 for the fifth-placers.
Guiseley were decimated for a paltry 100, and, despite Marcus Brown’s 4-43, had their total knocked off five wickets down.
Elsewhere, Colton’s relegation was confirmed as they were spun out of contention by Rawdon’s Bradley Reeve, who claimed 4-30 during their innings of 131.
Marcus Berryman’s fine term continued with a 21-ball 46 as Rawdon got home for the loss of three wickets in just 24.3 overs.
The race to join the top tier is at boiling point as third-placed Follifoot beat Ben Rhydding by three wickets, whilst leaders Adel were beaten by the in-form Hall Park.
Kirk Deighton stretched their lead at the top of Division One to 20 points with a 107-run victory over Barwick-in-Elmet.
Batting first, Deighton made 259-4 thanks mainly to the contributions of No 4 Matt Wall (89 not out) and Jamie Crooks (62). Openers Rohan Sivajoti and Simon Dwyer made 23 each while Richard Ward added 35.
Barwick’s run chase never got going until Robert Nicholls added impetus before he was removed for 71. They were all out for 152 with Mark Harland taking 4-24 and Ward, 3-29.
Sicklinghall moved level on points with Garforth Parish Hall in second place after defeating their title-chasing visitors by four wickets.
Garforth made 105-9 in a low-scoring innings with James Stockton (27), Paul Scott (24) and Ben Tantum (25) the only players to reach double figures against the attack of Tom Ryszkowski (3-23) and Shirish Vishnumohan (3-37).
In reply, Matthew Hatherley (26), Richard Brooke (24) and Ben Williams (24 not out) helped Sicklinghall reach their target, despite the best efforts of Steven Bedford and Michael De Kauwe who took a couple of wickets apiece.
Shadwell are four points behind the two sides tied in second place after a 20-run win over Old Leondensians.
Batting first, they made 186-9 with Tariq Muhammad leading the way with 54. Ben Turner added 31, Oliver Scholey (30) and Jonny Brearey (29).
Tashmial Henry led the Leos attack with 3-56.
A lot of batsmen got settled in for Leos’ reply but never moved on to a score that would really threaten Shadwell, other than Shayan Siddiqui at No 7 who carried his bat to the end for 46 runs. Zaid Rashid Din hit 30 runs and four other players scored between 10 and 20 as Leos threatened without really delivering, fading as they did to 166-8 by the end of the innings.
Headingley Bramhope remain rooted to the foot of the table after an eight-wicket loss at Rufforth.
The Leeds side made 107 all out, Mark Stelfox top-scoring with 28; Danny Gunnell taking 4-16.
The unbeaten pairing of Phil Charlton (36) and Angus Campbell (34) led the response.
Scarcroft were thrashed at South Milford by 157 runs after being wiped out for just 58.
Ledsham won by 10 wickets at Hillam and Monk Fryston after being set just 35 to win.
TROY CROSTON and Craig Robinson both blasted centuries as Birstwith stayed top of the Nidderdale League top flight with Saturday’s 119-run crushing of third-bottom visitors Knaresborough Forest, writes LEE SOBOT.
After the early loss of opener James Riley for a duck, Croston (161) and Robinson (110) shared a superb second-wicket stand of 282 en route to a whopping total of 378-4.
Chris Base chipped in with 38 before an unbeaten 32 from Jonathan Millward proved the final telling contribution. Ben Challis snared 3-31 for Forest who fell well short at 249 all out in reply, despite the efforts of opener Aaron Brunner (49) and Stewart Pyke (60). Daniel Kiernan added a late 37 but to no avail.
With just three weekends remaining, Birstwith sit two points ahead of second-placed Ouseburn and only five points separate the top four. Ouseburn recorded an easy eight-wicket triumph at bottom club Spofforth as the hosts were kept to 177-8 despite good efforts from Devon Nightingale (69) and Matthew Bird (32no).
Ouseburn raced to a winning 178-2 inside 27.3 overs as Chris Morrison (75no) and Peter Carr (28) shared an opening stand of 71. Jamie Bryant added an unbeaten 41 to ease Ouseburn past the winning post. Masham are a further two points back in third after their 167-run annihilation of visiting, second-bottom Alne.
Opener Nathan Kleinig smashed over half of Masham’s runs as his unbeaten 119 helped his team to 227-8.
Bailey McCourt (28) and Kyle Coetzee (37) added valuable support.
Alne’s Toby Stirke claimed figures of 3-65 but his men were then sent packing for just 60 all out as Ben Fielding caused havoc by taking 7-32 inside his 10.4 overs.
Helperby are a further point back in fourth following a 71-run success at home to sixth-placed Burton Leonard.
Matthew Cavanagh stared with an innings of 71 as Helperby made 221-9 in the face of Max Crompton who took 4-62. Leonard’s opener James Townsend then cracked 61 but the visitors were dismissed for 150 as Alistair Darnell took 4-27 and Daniel Marston claimed 3-36.
There are now another 11 points back to fifth-placed Darley who slipped to a seven-wicket loss at home to fourth-bottom Hampsthwaite. Max Beeley took 5-22 as Darley were dismissed for 150 and Andrew Taylor’s unbeaten 58 then led the visitors to a winning 151-3.
Eighth-placed West Tanfield recorded a five-wicket success at seventh-placed Goldsborough.