The table continues to stretch as the top four teams all won, while the bottom two both lost and are in danger of losing contact. However, last week there were five top teams. Now there are four, as Shiregreen lost and for the moment drop out of the leading pack, while lower down Sheffield Collegiate 2nd and Barnsley 2nd both won to give themselves some space. And yet, with three games to go to the half way point in the season, things are still very fluid and can change quite quickly. Wath who only three games ago were third and highly fancied, now are fourth from bottom and in need of a boost. 
Aston Hall v Sprotbrough 
Aston Hall have won all their games bar one (against Shiregreen) and have done so using all their team. They have six batters who have scored 160 or more runs and five bowlers with ten or more wickets. So, on Saturday, they scored 227-7 after being asked to bat by Sprotbrough. Ali Ahmed and Mark Barnard put on 78 for the first wicket, with nearly 40 runs each. Both got out at the same score, but Joe Stickland carried on the momentum, despite a three-wicket spell by Michael Threapleton. And when he got out for 54 with the score at 176-6, there was still Josh Coulson at number seven to move things on to 227-7. Johannes Bothma has taken their leading wicket-taker, and at 11.07 has the best average in the championship for a seamer. He removed Tom Pepper first ball of Sprotbrough’s reply and, with Tom Coulson and Nasir Omar, reduced them to 50-4. But Sadrian Ward and 18-year old William Rudkin, with his first 50 for the first team, recovered the initiative for Sprotbrough and, at 184-7, there was an outside chance of a win, till Bothma returned and three straight balls finished the game. Aston Hall stay just behind Hallam on run rate. Sprotbrough slip behind Conisbrough to seventh. 
Aston Hall 227-7 (50) Joe Stickland 54, Ali Ahmed 39, Mark Barnard 38, Josh Coulson 37*, Michael Threapleton 3-51 
Sprotbrough 197 (48.2) William Rudkin 57, Sadrian Ward 47, Johannes Bothma 5-34 
Aston Hall (12 pts) beat Sprotbrough (2) by 30 runs 
Barnsley Woolley Miners 2nds v Wath 
Barnsley are beginning to get their talented 2nd team together to win matches. Wath are in one of their spells when they move from brilliance to self-destruct in a few weeks. They chose to bat at Shaw Lane and got to 21 before Jordan Slattery (he of the hat-trick last week) sliced up the early order. James Barnard held up one end and Harrison Knowles stuck with him for a while, till Will Nicholson got three wickets, and at 81-7 Barnard was caught. Fortunately, Steve Honeyman was able to pick up his role and guided the last three to 135 all out, but it wasn’t a lot to bowl at. In Jack Whitlam’s absence, Bradley Williams has been converted to an opening bowler, with not much success until Saturday when he burst through the Barnsley early order and helped reduce them to 45-5. However that was as good as it got, because Will Nicholson now returned as a batsman and in two partnerships, first with Boeta Beukes, then Andrew Clayton, gradually overtook Wath’s total to win by four wickets, bringing both teams level on points at 8th and 9th in the table, whereas in mid-May they were 24 points apart. 
Wath 135 (45.2) James Barnard 37, Steve Honeyman (Jnr) 33, Jordan Slattery 4-25, William Nicholson 3-31 
Barnsley Woolley Miners 2nds 139-6 (48.4) Will Nicholson 37*, Andrew Clayton 32*, Bradley Williams 3-27 
Barnsley Woolley Miners (12 pts) beat Wath (2) by four wickets 
Conisbrough v Wickersley Old Village 
Wickersley are batting really well as a unit. Mark Cummins again anchored the start, with 71 from 132 balls, and was well supported again by Isaac Spencer-Jones who made 58 and took part in a 2nd wicket partnership of 116. Harvey Wootton and Johnny Younis increased the run-rate and Wickersley ended with 210-5, which was a good score though perhaps not as comfortable as they might have liked on a small ground where there are boundaries in abundance. Wickersley needed to bowl tightly and they did. Mark Cummins effectively closed up one end, with 2-29 in 15 overs, and Ahmed Bashir bowled 13 for 43. Conisbrough played cautiously in order to be able to launch an attack later on. Matthew Lowe and Joe Farmer put on 72 for the first wicket, but both were out together and it was back to square one. Buddikha Sanjeewa threatened to move things on but was run out and it wasn’t really until Gary Strephan got together with Will Scott at 117-4, that things began to move along at the right pace, at least from Strephan, but when he went, at 164-5 (just 47 away from winning), it became a bit more frenetic. Ifti Afzal took three wickets, which calmed a few nerves for Wickersley. Hassan Bin Shahab did his best to resurrect the chase with 24 in 13 balls, but Wickersley held on to win by seven runs. So they remain third and, if the results go right, are just one win away from top of the table. Conisbrough’s four batting points take them just above Sprotbrough in sixth, but they’ll be frustrated it wasn’t twelve points for the win! 
Wickersley Old Village 210-5 (50) Mark Cummins 71, Isaac Spencer-Jones 58 
Conisbrough 203-8 (50) Joe Farmer 36, Iftikhar Afzal 3-59 
Wickersley Old Village (12 pts) beat Conisbrough 203-8 (4) by seven runs 
Hallam v Shiregreen 
Despite being one seamer down – Rob Heyes was ill - Hallam won the toss, asked Shiregreen to bat and quickly reduced them to 18-2. The recovery was strong however. Umair Tariq and Aslam Hayat put on 62 for the 3rd wicket and with Hamzah Younis joining Muhammad Naseem, Shiregreen were 150-4 with 16 overs still to play. James Smedley broke the partnership, bowling Naseem and later taking the key wicket of Hamzah Younis for his fifth 50 in seven innings. With the tail exposed to the wiles of Harman Puni, Hallam were able to keep the score below 200, just, and after their experience with Houghton the previous week, must have felt relieved to do so. Equally, Shiregreen must have been disappointed not to build on their advantage. These feelings carried over into Hallam’s opening partnership as Rob Basu and Nick Dymock put on 128 for the first wicket. Both fell to catches by Naseem within a few balls - Dymock for 80 - but with Will Newton anchoring the chase and time to spare, Hallam were able to move fairly comfortably to their win, for four down, in 43 overs. Shiregreen drop to fifth whilst Hallam remain top on run-rate. 
Shiregreen 198 (50) Hamzah Younis 50, Aslam Hayat 39, Umair Tariq 37, Harman Puni 4-31, James Smedley 3-58 
Hallam 201-4 (43.2) Nick Dymock 80, Rob Basu 38 
Hallam (12 pts) beat Shiregreen (0) by six wickets 
Rockingham Colliery v Houghton Main 
Rockingham made a really determined start against Houghton Main, so much so that opener Harry Grindle batted all through their innings for an unbeaten 66, enjoying partnerships of 61 for the first wicket with Ben Dalton (34), 64 for the 2nd with Jack Riley (44) and 42 for the 6th with Hedar Rasool (21). His team reached 203-6 at the end of fifty overs. Dylan Smythe and Michael Bates had the best bowling figures with 15 overs each for just over forty. Houghton set off equally determined to chase the score and the win, to stay in touch with the leaders. Michael Brown, like Harry Grindle, set out to stay as long as possible, and was eventually fifth out for 62 in 107 balls when the score was 148-5. Matty Bowering picked up the pace with three 4s and two 6s in 38, and, with Usman Khan took the score to 196-7, from where it was only a short distance to the winning post, though they managed to lose another wicket on the way, with Peter Lomas taking 5-63 in fifteen. Houghton stay fourth and Rockingham, whose performance was so encouraging, collected four points, which may prove priceless at the end of the season. 
Rockingham 203-6 (50) Harry Grindle 66*, Jack Riley 44, Ben Dalton 34 
Houghton Main 204-8 (32.5) Michael Brown 62, Maty Bowering 38. Peter Lomas 5-63 
Houghton Main (12 pts) beat Rockingham Colliery (4) by two wickets 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds v Green Moor Sports 
In the battle at the basement, Green Moor won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket which, judging by the speed with which Collegiate relinquished their pace bowling, much better suited the slower turning variety served up with skill and experience by Tom Eldred and Ben Fielding. Between them they took eight wickets for 54 in 26 overs. Until Josh Wood smote six 4s in 35 at no 8, no-one had managed more than 19, but there were five in their teens, which helped the score to 143 all out at the close. Adam Burkinshaw absolutely nailed the reply from Collegiate, stroking fifteen 4s in 82 not out, and carrying his bat through the innings which ended in just short of forty overs for only two down. At last Collegiate 2s have found their mojo after a very disappointing start to the season and it was good to see youngsters like Tom Currie part of it, in a stand of 44 for the 2nd wicket, as well as the eminence grise of Nick Gaywood ensuring solidity at the start. Thus Collegiate leap out of the bottom two and Green Moor sadly, in their first season in the Championship, slip down to the bottom - but their day will come. 
Green Moor Sports 143 (47.2) Josh Wood 35, Tom Eldred 5-26, Ben Fielding 3-26 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds 147-2 (39.5) Adam Burkinshaw 82* 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds (12pts) beat Green Moor Sports (0) by eight wickets 
by Richard Storer 
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