South Yorkshire League: Whitley Hall march on, as skipper Jim Tasker leads by example with ton

Whitley Hall CC 1st XI captain Jim Tasker on his way to making 107 runs in the game v Coal Aston CC XI 1st
Whitley Hall CC 1st XI captain Jim Tasker on his way to making 107 runs in the game v Coal Aston CC XI 1st

Whitley Hall maintained their record of scoring 300+ every time they bat first, and Tickhill beat Darfield to replace their rivals in the top three of the South Yorkshire League Championship.

Treeton, Wickersley and Aston Hall all won – and so did Elsecar at last.

Whitley Hall CC 1st XI captain Jim Tasker celebrates his century in the game v Coal Aston CC 1st XI

Whitley Hall CC 1st XI captain Jim Tasker celebrates his century in the game v Coal Aston CC 1st XI

Probably highest in the list of good decisions made by Whitley Hall this year was that to make Jim Tasker captain. It has freed Alex Fletcher to be himself, and has focused the remarkable talents of Tasker on the task of taking Whitley into the Yorkshire League South.

His bowling and batting this season have been outstanding - he hit 107 on Saturday - and often makes crucial interventions in games that could have gone either way. Next was to invite Grieg Batty to join them - a powerful bowler, with a batting average of 80 from number seven and the ability to take games far out of the reach of oppositions. Add to that the flair and consistency of Chris Siddall and it’s hard to see anyone catching Whitley in their march towards the league title.

There were fears this year that the loss of Donavan Koch would make them more assailable. Hard to believe that now! On Saturday they scored 304-7 (Tasker 107, Batty 81, Liam Johnson 4-72) and bowled Coal Aston out for 162 (David Rodgers 71, Ben Webster 4-35).

Treeton, their nearest rivals (but ten points away) made 290-5 against Houghton Main with the old firm (Scott Cunningham 137, Gareth Davis 56 and Steve Foster 55) doing the damage. Liam Rigby (87) and Tahir Nawas (57) took Houghton to 226 but Foster (4-50) snuffed it out.

Tickhill won the toss and won the match at Darfield, bowling out the home side for 65, James Stuart (4-16), Alex Rowland and Steve Reid their starmen. Tickhill lost two, before Lee Bradshaw (eight fours in his 36*) completed the win in just SEVEN overs!

In a game reduced to 37 overs a side, Wickersley comfortably held off Conisbrough. Haider Jahangir (126) and Richard Harrison (56) set the tone with 128 for the first wicket and ended on 271-6. Conisbrough were never close, but James Doran (40*) steered them to a batting point on 210-7.

Joe Barker (60) gave Aston Hall a good start but they stuttered to 186-8, though it was enough to keep Wath winless on 146-5. But they too secured a precious batting point thanks to Jonathan Hays (53*) and Shawn Dyson (40).

Finally, Elsecar got a win, bowling Hallam out for 167 (Naveed, Hussain and Jones each taking three) after they had scored 215-9 (Naveed crucially making 41* in 30 balls at the end). Matt Newman had the day’s best figures of 5-45 for Hallam and Stuart Benzies (42) gave them hope, but their tail failed as they lost their last five wickets for 27.

Next week brings the season to the halfway mark and the much-anticipated clash of Treeton v Whitley Hall at Washfield Lane. If Whitley win that, it will be hard to see anyone catching them.

In Division One, Kexborough and Barnsley seconds had a fantastic battle, sharing 541 runs before Kexborough won by seven wickets.

Norton Oakes began what turned out to be a miserable weekend by losing to Whiston, for whom Andy Tominson was back to full fitness with 98 out of 270-7 declared (in 45 overs).

James Thompson took 4-69. Despite an opening stand of 78 between Paul Revill (48) and James Thompson (28), Oakes were never really in the chase and were all out for 207, Whiston bagging full points in the 52nd over.

Norton Woodseats won a great game against Shiregreen in the last over, Shahzad Hussain (52*) and M Ahmed (74* in 43 balls) snatching a victory that seemed unlikely when they were on 108-7 chasing 203.

Whitley Hall seconds lost to Rotherham Town seconds by five wickets and Millhouses Works could manage only half Rockingham’s total of 276-6 but there was some cheer as Collegiate seconds bowled Aston Hall out for 86, Robert Shaw taking 5-30, and knocked off the runs for two wickets, Dan Priestley getting 37*.

In the Nicholas Associates Mick Savage Memorial Cup quarter finals on Sunday, Hallam seconds (156) beat Collegiate seconds (105), another fine innings from Benji Woon (65) the difference between the two sides.

Muenoddin Kadri steered Rockingham through with 101* out of 196-2 to beat Shiregreen. Steve Taylor made 125 (with 13 fours and five sixes), Danny Kemp 61 and Joe Fletcher 53 as favourites Whiston romped to 311-5 and then bowled out Thorncliffe for 107. Sadly, Norton Oakes were bundled out for 81 by second division side Upper Haugh, with only 137 to chase.

The semi-finals: Hallam seconds against Rockingham, and Upper Haugh against Whiston PC will be played on Sunday July 12.