Kirk Deighton have slid from top spot to fourth in Wetherby League Division One after a shock 35-run defeat at Old Leodiensians on Saturday.
Captain Richard Ward’s five wickets for just 17 runs had helped skittle struggling Old Leos for only 131, on a rain-affected afternoon in West Yorkshire.
But wickets flurried in Deighton’s chase as only number nine Jonty Smith and opener Aidan Marshall (20) were able to accumulate a sizeable contribution.
Smith’s late innings brought hope of victory for the title chasers but when tailender Mark Harland fell, the bowler was left stranded on 30 not out and his team 35 runs adrift.
Reigning champions Great Preston capitalised on Deighton’s stumble and rose to the top of the table with an 11-run win over Old Modernians.
Lee Russell’s 64 set Preston on the way before lower order pair Danny Harwood (44) and Richard Gandy (27) got the score up to 176 all out.
Stuart Borrill (4-25) was Old Mods’ chief tormentor. And the visitors looked well placed for victory with Dwayne Heke (64) and Ami Mandrekar (45) at the crease in the chase.
But Matt Davie (4-52) and Ian Newton (3-42) ensured Preston took all six points in a tight finish, bowling Old Mods out for 165.
Wetherby continued their hot pursuit of a second championship in three years with a close-run victory over St Chad’s Broomfield at Grange Park.
Richard Grogan (45) and Andy Twitchen (40) battled Wetherby to 155-9 from the opening 45 overs before St Chad’s were dismissed for 137.
Adam Wilkinson (3-43) and Syed Ahmed (3-19) were the Grange Parkers’ heroes with the ball.
Hot on Wetherby’s coattails, Bilton-in-Ainsty carried their top form into the clash at Sicklinghall with a comfortable six-wicket victory.
Thomas Reece’s unbeaten half century wrapped up a maximum six points after Graham Hutchison’s (4-23) burst bowled Sicklinghall out for just 113.
Bilton finished the first half of the summer tied with Kirk Deighton on 41 points, with Wetherby one point above and Great Preston four clear at the top.
Down at the bottom, struggling Walton tasted defeat in the relegation crunch at Scarcroft to leave themselves propping up the table.
Scarcroft’s overseas Aaron Shackleford (125) peppered the boundary as his side smacked 282-6 to open the match. But Richard Stephens’ men were four wickets short of maximum points, as Walton responded with 212-6.
Barwick-in-Elmet easily disposed of Shadwell by eight wickets, thanks to James Swales’ five-wicket haul.
Only Ed Whittingham (55) offered any resistance in Shadwell’s 107 all out as Swales (5-22) made it a nightmare journey for the visitors.
Matthew Wood (31no) and Josh Swift (20no) led Barwick to the target without much alarm.
Rain put an early end to three Division Two clashes and the wet weather enabled Scholes to close the gap at the top to frustrated leaders Garforth Parish Church.
Garforth had motored to a massive total of 302-5 against mid-table Hillam and Monk Fryston, largely thanks to Paul Scott’s heartbreaking 99 not out.
The division’s leading run-getter James Stockton also smacked 68 as Hillam failed to contain the leaders.
But rain arrived with the hosts struggling on 78-4 in the reply, and the points were shared.
Second-placed Scholes benefited from Garforth’s weather problems as they closed the gap at the top to just two points, thanks to a 125-run win against nine-man Crossgates.
Danusha Ranasinge (75) and James Biscombe (65) took Scholes to 185 before Steve Cohen’s 4-21 bowled lowly ‘Gates out for just 60.
East Keswick showed their massive points penalty would not halt their on-field performances with a 56-run dismissal of Kirk Hammerton.
Number 11 Wahab Hussain (35) topscored for Keswick in their 172 all out before Bilal Shahid (3-33) and Wahid Khan (3-23) removed Hammerton for 116. Liam Fisher made 37 for the visitors.
Keswick moved to -38 after the league’s weighty 48-point penalty – for fielding an ineligible player in eight matches – cut them adrift at the bottom last week.
Whixley missed out on a chance to climb within a win of topspot after losing by 17 runs to South Milford, on the only other game to be completed in Division Two.
South Milford openers Stuart Morley (67) and Peter Batty (59) were aided by Dan White’s 47 as Milford smacked 248-9.
Pat Greenwood (88) and Jack Witham (72) looked to have won the game for Whixley, but a lower order collapse left them narrowly shy of victory.
Sam Thomas’ 4-41 did the damage as Milford took five points to move up to fourth.
Thorner Mexbrough’s clash at Saxton was abandoned mid-way through the hosts’ chase.
Anthony Quinlan’s half century meant Thorner made 135 all out, with Harry Fletcher taking 4-28. But, with Saxton at 39-1 in their reply, the persistent rain became too much for the wicket.
Ledsham’s match at Church Fenton was also called off, shortly after Andy Baron had fallen one short of his century in the former’s 199-2.
Division Three: Thorner Mexborough A162-9 Rufforth 197-8; St Chad’s A 286-5, Long Marston 195all out; Kirk Deighton A 102all out, Sherburn Eversley 103-3; Green Hammerton 77all out, Headingley Bramhop 159-8; Amaranth 69all out, Great Preston A 70-4; Scarcroft A conceded against Bilton-in-Ainsty.
Division Four: St Chad’s B 104-8, Headingley Bramhope A 177-7; South Milford 0-0, Barwick-in-Elmet A 49-0 Abandoned; Shadwell A 99all out v Wetherby A 100-1; Old Mods A 156-8, Meanwood 153-8; Long Marston A 147-8 Saxton A 92all out; Garforth Parish Church A 120-6, Old Leos A 119all out.
Division Five: Crompark 82-4, Hillam A 81all out (Amit Khulla 5-6); Headingley Bramhope B 147-7, Church Fenton A 151-2; Kippax Welfare 277-8 dec, Whixley A 157all out’ Sherburn Eversley A 187-4 (Tim Fitch 83), East Keswick A 188-1; Wighill Park 136/8; Sicklinghall A 134/4.
Division Six: Crossgates A 87all out (Sushill Sharda 5-27), Green Hammerton A 235-3; Kirk Hammerton A 132-3, Scholes A 129-9; Meanwood A 104-5; Amaranth 103all out.