Aston Hall are now just two points away from promotion to the Premier Division, but things are hotting up in every other category and next week will be vital in determining the other promotee and also, fascinatingly, those to be relegated. It is two of Barnsley 2nds, Green Moor and Rockingham but the last two are really fighting for survival. Barnsley only need 14 points out of 36 (assuming the other two keep winning) but they’ll have to play better than they did on Saturday. 
Green Moor Sports v Sheffield Collegiate 2nds 
Green Moor pulled out all the stops against Collegiate. Jake Rodgers got another four wickets (for just 27 in 12 overs) and Mark Elsworth gave them a dream start, getting both Robbie McKenna and Tom Currie with only 3 on the board. Lewis Hogg soon followed, but Adam Burkinshaw and Sam Meadows put together a stand of 56 to improve the situation, and Meadows and Tate Miller added another 63 to take them to 138-5. Meadows was out for 57 but last week’s heroes Matt Tyas and Matt Williams pushed the score over 200, before Rodgers and Elsworth came back to close things down abruptly (the last four wickets falling for seven runs) and Collegiate were bundled out for 216 with nearly six overs unused. However, it is unlikely the extra overs would have made much difference because Green Moor, brushing off an early loss, batted like a team pursuing promotion, not relegation. Chris Matthewman hit 94 not out in 127 balls, putting on 93 with Ben Simpson and 81 with Jamie Dixon, to win the game for three down in 39 overs. In the next two weeks they take on first and second, Aston Hall and Hallam, and they have to win both to catch Barnsley, but in this mood who says they can’t? 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds 216 (44.2) Sam Meadows 57, Adam Burkinshaw 38, Matt Williams 35, Matt Tyas 33*, Jake Rodgers 4-27, Mark Elsworth 3-70 
Green Moor Sports 217-3 (39.4) Chris Matthewman 94*, Jamie Dixon 37 
Green Moor Sports (12 pts) beat Sheffield Collegiate 2nds (0) by seven wickets 
Houghton Main v Rockingham Colliery 
Not to be outdone by Green Moor, but needing even more of a miracle to survive, Rockingham rolled back the years against Houghton. Against the fifth in the table and a good bowling side, they made 227-9 in 50 overs, with Ben Dalton making 55, supported by Jack Riley and Hedar Rasool, before Aquib Shaikh (who had a great game) and Andy Baker got them past 200, the last 77 coming in ten overs. Michael Brown anchored Houghton’s reply, scoring 59 in 108 balls, but it was tough going as Aquib Shaikh and Jawad Akhtar each took four wickets in ten over spellss, at just over three an over. At one stage Houghton were 65-5, but Simon Ward put on 53 with Michael Brown to add some respectability to the total, ending on 161 all out in the 41st over. Rockingham have got a slightly easier run-in than Green Moor, but they still have to beat Sprotbrough, Shiregreen and Wath to stay up, and Barnsley have to lose all their games, so the odds aren’t great. But it is just good to see them winning again and playing like the club they are. 
Rockingham Colliery 227-9 (50) Ben Dalton 55, Aquib Shaikh 46, Michael Bates 3-47, Dylan Smythe 3-70 
Houghton Main 161 (40.5) Michael Brown 59, Simon Ward 36 Aquib Shaikh 4-35, Jawad Akhtar 4-33 
Rockingham Colliery (12 pts) beat Houghton Main (0) by 66 runs 
Shiregreen v Hallam 
Captain James Smedley came back for Hallam after a week away and bowled probably his best of the season, taking 5-47 in thirteen overs and, with Ed Burch plugging the other end with eight overs for 17 at one stage, created all sorts of problems for Shiregreen, who have batted so steadily this year. They were 98-9 before Imran Khan smote four sixes and a four in 38 out of 44 for the last wicket, to take them up to 142. It was never going to be enough to bowl at, but Imran Khan continued his good day by taking 3-36 in ten, to make Hallam stutter on their way to their 15th win of the season. Yet, just as it was Smedley’s first five-for of 2022, it was Alex Hughes’s first 50, though he's had eleven scores between 20 and 44, and it was a key innings in the context of the game. Hallam won by five wickets but without Hughes it would have been much more of a challenge. As it was, after he was out on 114-3, two more wickets fell, all to Imran Khan, before the line was crossed. So, three games to go and Shiregreen, Aston Hall and a resurgent Green Moor to play. It will be hard, but if Hallam win all three and get promotion, they will certainly have earned it! Sadly, for Shiregreen, that’s the end of their challenge for this year, but next year it would be a surprise if they weren’t up there again and possibly even closer than fourth. Remember, they are the only team so far this year to have beaten Aston Hall in the league. 
Shiregreen 142 (34) Imran Khan 38, James Smedley 4-47 
Hallam 145-5 (37.4) Alex Hughes 52, Imran Khan 3-36 
Hallam (12 pts) beat Shiregreen (0) by five wickets 
Sprotbrough v Aston Hall 
Another Saturday, another win for Aston Hall – their 18th out of 19 league games. It wasn’t totally without anxiety, because they were 87-6 chasing 146, but you don’t get to their position without having people who can come in at number eight and calmly take the game away from the opposition, as Rob Ward did, with Josh Coulson. Sprotbrough, like many sides before them, found Aston Hall’s bowling attack a handful, especially with a bit of green around after the rain in the week. All their first eight batters got in but found it difficult to score and impossible to survive long enough to play the big innings that was needed. Six made double figures, but none more than Will Rudkin’s 28. Only two had a strike rate above 50%. So, 146-8 in 50 was the outcome and the wickets, as often with Aston Hall, were shared around, Nasir Omar’s 2-12 in five being the best. However, when Aston Hall batted, Sprotbrough’s Daniel Wright and Sadrian Ward bowled through their allotted 15 overs each and caused many problems. Joe Stickland and Nasir Omar put on 59 together, but it was still 87-6 (with Wright having taken four and Sadrian Ward two) when Rob Ward joined Josh Coulson, on a hat trick. Crucially though, this was the 27th over and Daniel Wright had nine balls left and Sadrian Ward six. The pair survived and were then facing Matt Webb and Ashley Langdale, neither of whom had bowled before in the innings, and no Scott Mantovani this week, and no Wright or Sadrian Ward to bring back either. Coulson scored 33 not out, Rob Ward 30 not out and they put on 61 to win, fourteen of which came in the last six balls. Cool as they come! 
Sprotbrough 146-8 (50) 
Aston Hall 148-6 (43.5) Nasir Omar 37, Josh Coulson 33*, Rob Ward 30*, Daniel Wright 4-50 
Aston Hall (12 pts) beat Sprotbrough (2) by four wickets 
Wath v Barnsley Woolley Miners 2nds 
At the beginning of the season, Barnsley were making record scores. Nathan Swift and Sheryaar Ali put on 245 for the first wicket against Rockingham. Now though, the whole team could only manage 120 against Wath, with 63 of them, not out, coming from Zak Jehangir (who also top-scored last week). Rob Barlow took 5-38, Shawn Hopkins and Bradley Williams each took two. Coming in at number three, Jehangir batted with nine partners, none of whom scored more than 10. His unbeaten 63 in 91 balls came out of 101 runs scored whilst he was at the crease – quite an innings! Wath also struggled. They were three down for eleven, with both James Barnard and Bradley Williams back in the hut. Ainsley Swallow and Ben Roebuck got them out of immediate trouble but when Roebuck was out, followed soon after by Barlow, it was 67-5. However, Swallow was not migrating. He stuck around, first with Jack, then with Sam Whitlam and between them they put on the 54 runs required to win, with six down and eight overs remaining. So, a nervy win, as were several others on Saturday, but a welcome one for Wath, who move above Collegiate, and another set-back for Barnsley as they try to remove the lingering anxiety about their status for next year. 
Barnsley Woolley Miners 2nds 120 (43) Zak Jahangir 63*, Rob Barlow 5-38 
Wath 121-6 (41.2) Ainsley Swallow 49* 
Wath (12pts) beat Barnsley Wooley Miners 2nds (2) by four wickets 
Wickersley Old Village v Conisbrough 
Conisbrough set up a fascinating game against Wickersley, scoring 223-9 in their 50 overs, with Hamzah Ilyas and Jordan Lowe putting on 70 for the first wicket and Ilyas extending his innings to 75 (with eleven fours and three sixes) out of 115-3 in 67 balls. When he was out, at the beginning of the 23rd over, Conisbrough had 27 overs left, but only scored a further 108 runs for six wickets, which, while disappointing for them, was a measure of how much Mark Cummins, who took 4-48 in 15 overs, and his colleagues wrenched back control of the game. Buddhika Sanjeewa and Joe Farmer, separately, held things together but others struggled. Sanjeewa and Josh Whittaker put on 39, Farmer and Tom Humphries put on 42, but the momentum had gone. Wickersley’s approach was quite different. Mark Cummins occupied one end for 45 in 119 balls while others played more freely at the other. Gareth Purshouse made 40 in 49 balls (putting on 59 for the first wicket), Isaac Spencer-Jones made 61 at a run a ball (putting on 65 with Cummins for the second wicket). However, when Cummins was out, the score was 124-2 and there were just 15 overs left for Wickersley to score 100 runs to win. In fact, they achieved their target with an over and a half to spare, thanks to Spencer-Jones and a timely return to form for Johnny Younis, for whom 2022 has been tortuous. A man who has graced South Yorkshire with an average of a thousand runs every year for the previous 17 years, with 25 centuries and 105 fifties, a colossus of a batsman, has struggled with injury and illness to score more than 293 runs all season – but 39 not out in 40 balls came on Saturday, and if Wickersley get promotion as they have every reason to hope to do, they may be grateful that, as so often, Johnny Younis was there for them when it mattered. 
Conisbrough 223-9 (50) Hamzah Ilyas 75, Buddhika Sanjeewa 33, Mark Cummins 4-48 
Wickersley Old Village 224-4 (48.3) Isaac Spencer-Jones 61, Mark Cummins 45, Gareth Purshouse 40, Johnny Younis 39* 
Wickersley Old Village (12pts) beat Conisbrough (0) by six wickets 
by Richard Storer 
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