Relegation battle on

THIS WEEK sees more of the same for our district’s clubs in the Championship divisions as Ossett, Hartshead Moor, Hopton Mills, Spen Victoria and Liversedge each renew their fight against relegation.

In Championship 1 a tense encounter is in prospect at Queens Terrace as Ossett, in second-bottom spot, entertain a Hartshead Moor side just two places and 16 points ahead of them after last weekend’s rain-affected games.

While Hartshead Moor boosted their survival chances with a superb 123-run win over promotion hopefuls Morley, the weather was the only winner at Baildon where the home side were still needing 162 runs for victory with only 21 overs and five wickets remaining.

James Van Der Merwe (76) and Ian Philliskirk (51) batted Ossett into a good position, as they closed on 263 for 9.

While skipper Danny Busfield and Joe Finnigan took two early wickets apiece, Baildon added 71 for the next wicket and were 102 for 5 when play was abandoned.

That result left Ossett 25 points ahead of bottom club Yeadon and 14 behind Hunslet Nelson in the safe third-bottom spot.

Meanwhile, Hartshead Moor’s superb win over Morley lifted them into fourth-bottom spot with wicket keeper Ali Shan (84) taking the batting honours.

With skipper Danny Squire (3-21) and Rauf Qayyum (3-31) then producing the goods with the ball it is Moor who are likely to go into tomorrow’s game with confidence high.

Elsewhere in this division Gomersal and Batley are scrapping away in mid-table and tomorrow (Saturday) Gomersal are at home to Baildon while Batley make the short trip to Morley.

It is many years since David Battye was turning his arm over for Birstall in the now defunct Central Yorkshire League but there’s no sign of the old war horse going out to grass – just ask the Liversedge batsmen.

The game against fellow strugglers East Ardsley was one that Liversedge must have been targeting as winable, but Battye had other ideas, five of the first seven wickets to leave the Roberttown Lane men languishing on 65 for 7, on their way to 113 all out, and finished with 5-20 off 14 overs.

In reply East Ardsley edged home by three wickets to ease their relegation worries, but that left Liversedge anchored to the foot of the table 14 points behind thirdbottom Hopton Mills having played a game more.

Spen Victoria are similarly placed but have two points more than Liversedge.

Tomorrow the struggle recommences with Liversedge at home to Brighouse, Spen Victoria at Altofts and Hopton Mills at home to Carlton while promotion-chasing Birstall, in fourth place, go to Northowram Fields hoping to take advantage of any slip-ups by Brighouse at Liversedge.

It has been a fairly undistinguished season to date for eighth-placed Crossbank Methodists and second bottom Heckmondwike and Carlinghow in The Conference and little is likely to change tomorrow as they entertain leaders Jer Lane and Azaad respectively.

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