On a day when variable weather conditions brought difficult pitches on some grounds, Saturday saw some serious sorting out at the top of the Championship. Last week there were four teams with maximum points. This week there is only one! 
 
Whiston Parish Church v Houghton Main 
 
In the match-of-the-day, Whiston played Houghton Main, both unbeaten. Andy Tomlinson of Whiston had scored two hundreds in his last two innings, but this time he was out with the score only 32 – the first of Michael Bates’ five wickets. However, Whiston aren’t a one-man team and Joe Norbury, Danny Kemp, Harry Paver and Aamir Jamal all stepped up with scores of 40 or 50 and Whiston closed on 255-8. Jamal and Paver were also in the wickets after a fine 2nd wicket stand of 107 by Michael Brown (51) and Luke Ogden (72) gave Houghton a great start. At 193-9 it seemed all over, but Michael Bates and Dylan Smythe put on 47 together and with fifteen balls to go and 16 to win, Houghton must have felt the improbable could happen. Then Smythe was LBW to Harry Paver and it was all over. 
 
Whiston PC 255-8 (50) Daniel Kemp 53, Harry Paver 48, Aamir Jamal 48, Joe Norbury 45, Michael Bates 5-58 
Houghton Main 240 (47.4) Luke Ogden 72, Michael Brown 51, Aamir Jamal 4-61 Harry Paver 3-59 
Whiston PC (12pts) beat Houghton Main (4) by 15 runs 
 
Barnsley Woolley Miners 2nds v Cleethorpes 
 
Cleethorpes had carried all before them in the first two weeks, but it was tough going at Shaw Lane. Barnsley 2nds were 25-4 and 87 all out, despite contrasting innings of 31 from Zak Jahangir and Andrew Clayton. Alex Osmond took 5-21 in 13 overs. It was that sort of day – and Cleethorpes did not fare any better. Jay Smith and Callum Honeyman each took 4-13 for Barnsley and Cleethorpes were all out for 66. Unusually, all the wickets fell to catches and there were no byes, so clearly Cleethorpes were able to hit the ball – they just couldn’t control where it was going and Barnsley took their chances, eagerly! In the whole match only one player – Zak Jahangir - survived for more than 37 balls. He was there, ever watchful, for 106 balls. In the context of the match, it was clearly an important innings. 
 
Barnsley WM 2nds 87 (38.2) Zak Jahangir 31, Andrew Clayton 31*, Alex Osmond 5-21 
Cleethorpes 66 (30.2) Jay Smith 4-13, Callum Honeyman 4-13 
Barnsley WM 2nds (12pts) beat Cleethorpes (2) by 21 runs 
 
Sprotbrough v Wath 
 
The other unbeaten side was Sprotbrough and they were playing Wath, who hadn’t won a game so far. Sprotbrough did no worse than Barnsley, but not as well. They were all out for 85, with Jack Whitlam taking 4-29 and Rob Barlow 4-5 in just 4 overs. Wath started edgily but Luke Roddison (27) and Ainsley Swallow (36) banished the gremlins to take them to 86-5 in 18 overs - and their first win. 
 
Sprotbrough 85 (25.2) Jack Whitlam 4-29, Rob Barlow 4-5 
Wath 86-5 (18.1) Ainsley Swallow 36 
Wath (12 pts) beat Sprotbrough (0) by 5 wickets 
 
Aston Hall v Warmsworth 
 
Warmsworth won the toss at Aston Hall but may have regretted choosing to bat. After a good partnership of 49 for the 3rd wicket between Liam Marshall (39) and Limar Pierce, things fell apart. They lost four wickets for no runs and although Paul Green (29) battled well with the tail, they couldn’t make more than 121 in 36 overs. Adam Clarke took 5-29. When Aston batted, Limar Pierce had them 11-3 and 33-5 but Nathan Ward applied himself to the task, making 58* in 86 balls in crucial partnerships, first with Dean Smith, then Johannes Bothma, to reach their target much more comfortably than might have been imagined earlier in the game. 
 
Warmsworth 121 (36.3) Liam Marshal 37, Adam Clarke 5-29 
Aston Hall 123-6 (35.2) Nathan Ward 58*, Limar Pierce 4-46 
Aston Hall (12pts) beat Warmsworth (2) by 4 wickets 
 
Oughtibridge v Conisbrough 
 
At Oughtibridge, Conisbrough started brightly, with Jonathan Redfern making 63 and taking them at one stage to 170-3, before Zeeshan Karamat returned with a vengeance, taking five wickets to wrap up the innings for 200. It was still a fair score, but Hamza Ilyas (91*) and a succession of partners, notably Naveed Shah (34) made light of the chase, as Oughtibridge cruised to their first victory with six wickets and six overs to spare. 
 
Conisbrough 200 (48.1) Jonathan Redfern 63, Zeeshan Karamat 5-36, Mustafa Hussain 3-59 
Oughtibridge 202-4 (44) Hamzah Ilyas 91*, Naveed Shah 34, Jack Roberts 3-44 
Oughtibridge (12pts) beat Conisbrough (0) by 6 wickets 
 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds v Rockingham Colliery 
 
It was similar at Abbeydale, where Rockingham batted first against Collegiate 2nds, and had to settle for 205-8, despite having been 93-1 at one stage with Ben Dalton (41) and Nazakat Khan (30) playing well. Ben Fielding made the difference, taking 5-66. Collegiate 2nds made an even better start with Adam Burkinshaw (68) and George Bartlett (47) putting on 113 together, before Rockingham clawed back a succession of wickets. With Ed Mckenna and Andy Simpson both gone cheaply and Collegiate at 182-7, Rockingham had a real chance of snatching victory, but they couldn’t dislodge Lewis Hogg, whose 44* steered Collegiate home safely. 
 
Rockingham 205-8 (50) Ben Dalton 41, Nazakat Khan 30, Ben Fielding 5-66 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds 206-7 (46.3) Adam Burkinshaw 68, George Bartlett 47, Lewis Hogg 44* 
Sheffield Collegiate 2nds (12pts) beat Rockingham Colliery (2) by 3 wickets 
 
So, after three games, Whiston are now sailing clear at the top of the Championship, having scored over 200 in each of their innings, but there are a number of good sides not far behind and though Rockingham and Conisbrough are still winless, there’s every reason to think it won’t stay that way long. Next week, Whiston are playing Collegiate, Houghton Main are playing Aston Hall, Cleethorpes are at home to Oughtbridge, and Sprotbrough are at Warmsworth. The top four could be shaken up again. 
 
 
 
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