BIRSTALL secured a four-wicket win over Spen Victoria in their penultimate game in Championship Two, but Carlton maintained their unbeaten record with a seven-wicket win over bottom club Liversedge to put the title beyond the Leeds Road side.
Josh Haynes, with 4-45 and 50, maintained his fine form for Birstall and has clearly had a huge part to play in his side’s successful promotion push.
The final day of the season in this division will doubtless be a bit of an anti-climax for some with the title and promotion already settled and relegation finally confirmed for Liversedge and Adwalton.
Carlton will have their championship trophy presented before their game at home to Bowling Old Lane and Birstall have a chance to exercise some freedom from stress when they conclude their fixtures at Hunslet Nelson. But for Hopton Mills, the pressure remains.
The Mirfield side go into their final game, at home to Buttershaw St Pauls, clinging on to hopes of avoiding this season’s third relegation place.
After a five-wicket defeat at the hands of Bowling Old Lane in their penultimate game, they are now 14 points behind fourth-bottom Altofts, and 15 adrift of Northowram Fields, so nothing less than an emphatic win can now save them from the drop.
Even with maximum points against Buttershaw they have to rely on either Altofts or Northowram failing to collect seven points when those two meet in what could be a crunch game at Altofts.
Although now meaningless in terms of league placings, Liversedge sign off from Championship cricket when they go to Spen Victoria with at least Spen Valley pride to play for.
In the Conference, Crossbank Methodists and Heckmondwike & Carlinghow will finish what has been a quite dismal season in the bottom two places but, with Liversedge, Adwalton and possibly Hopton Mills joining them in this division next season, there is at least a promise of increased local interest.
Good wins for the joint-bottom clubs last week has closed the gap on third-bottom Brighouse and, though the Calderdale side need only two points to avoid the bottom two, with Crossbank at home to Rodley and Heckmondwike at Windhill there is a battle on to avoid the ignominy of the wooden spoon.