Great Preston beat the rain to extend lead

Matt King, who hit 30 for Great Preston against Mirfield.
Matt King, who hit 30 for Great Preston against Mirfield.

Division One leaders Great Preston did well to beat the weather as well as opponents Mirfield in the Central Yorkshire League on Saturday.

With rain about, the table toppers declared their innings early having gone past 200 and the decision proved a good one as they then bowled their opponents out to collect an important six-point haul.

Despite some absentees Preston were still able to put out a strong side and found themselves in more of a game than when they had played Mirfield a few weeks earlier.

Put in with plenty of drizzle about, they started well as Danusha Ranasinghe and Matt King began aggressively and put on 74 for the first wicket before the latter was bounced out skying an attempted pull shot to the keeper after making 30.

The next three hours were spent putting on and removing covers and although some play was possible only 17 overs had been bowled when an early tea was taken.

With how much daylight was left in the day Preston worked out there was no way the 100 over allocation would be bowled so all the batsmen tried to score quickly.

Ranasinghe’s fine knock was ended after he had hit 10 fours in his 64, but handy runs came from James Bickerdike (36), Stuart Ruddick (26), Richard Young (24) and Andy Clark (30 not out) and after a final over of spin was despatched for 28 Preston were able to declare after 33 overs on 237-7.

A quick turnaround saw the hosts needing to take their wickets in about two hours of play. Youngster Luke Kane opened up with Lee Russell and bowled well, but it was the latter that got the breakthrough as Islam Hussain chipped one to Bickerdike for the first of his three catches (plus a run out).

Mirfield got up to 71-2, though, before Kane took a great catch off the bowling of Adrian Sharp to remove dangerous overseas player Alex Pearson after he had made 21.

Mirfield skipper Andy Young anchored the innings for a well made 48, but Russell (4-19) and Andy Clark (3-55) took the wickets required to secure victory.

When Clark bowled Young to wrap up the win with Mirfield all out for 157 in the 36th over, the sun had just disappeared behind the clubhouse.

With rivals East Leeds having a week off, it was a massive six points for Great Preston, who are now 10 clear at the top.

Great Preston A’s trip to Mirfield was all about revenge, given the hosts had trounced them just a fortnight earlier.

They bowled first and with a gritty determination to avenge the previous defeat, picked up regular wickets.

Richard White (3-17) and Michael Wade (3-17) did an excellent job opening up to destroy the Mirfield top order and Callum Hepworth-Smith (2-5) and Simon Battensby (2-17) continued the good work to rout Mirfield for 79.

Preston were reduced to 28-3 in their reply, but Mark Hargreaves (42 not out) anchored the innings home to record a five-wicket victory that extended the lead at the top of the table to 12 points.

Positions:

Division One: Great Preston played 14 - points 65, East Leeds 13-55, Adwalton 14-42, Gildersome 14-42, Mirfield 14-30, Rodley 14-19, Crossbank Methodists 13-15.

Second Team Division One: Great Preston A played 16- points 72, East Leeds A 16-60, Gildersome A 15-51, Caribbean A 16-47, Adwalton A 16-42, Rodley A 15-41, Mirfield A 16-35, Crossbank Methodists A 16-10.