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Heading into the second half of 2022, the standings in Yorkshire’s club cricket leagues are starting to indicate who the season’s winners and losers might be.
Let’s start at the top of the pyramid, with the four ECB Premier League, Premier Divisions.
In the Bradford Premier League, New Farnley, Priestley Cup winners last year and through to the competition’s 2022 semi-finals, are going great guns.
After 12 rounds, and 11 wins under their belt, the Lawns Lane lads are 27 points clear of reigning champions Woodlands and a further 15 ahead of Pudsey St Lawrence, who are transitioning – impressively – with a young side.
On consecutive August Saturdays, the 13th and the 20th respectively, New Farnley visit Pudsey St Lawrence then host Woodlands.
Could this be the year, after several near-misses, that New Farnley, captained by the inspirational Lee Goddard, chalk up a maiden Bradford Premier League, Premier Division championship triumph?
At the bottom of the table, the relegated duo looks likely to include Batley (12th, 89 points) Cleckheaton (11th, 93) or 2021 First Division runners-up Bankfoot (10th, 113).
Boosting their confidence for some potentially difficult weeks to come, Cleckheaton, having trounced First Division Keighley, at Lawkholme Lane, last Sunday (June 26), are through to the Priestley Cup’s last four.
Cleckheaton make the short journey to Bankfoot on Saturday (July 2).
The Yorkshire Southern Premier League has completed 11 rounds.
Scunthorpe-based Appleby Frodingham, 2021 treble winners, again lead the way, albeit only four points ahead of Tickhill, with Wakefield Thornes, third, a further 12 back.
Tickhill beat App Frod, by 63 runs, on May 14, at Alderson Drive. All eyes will be on the outcome of the Brumby Hall rematch, on July 30.
Whiston Parish Church, promoted in 2021, as Division One runners-up to Cleethorpes, prop up the table, 22 points adrift of their nearest rival.
The other relegation candidate is harder to predict.
Cawthorne (11th, 54 points), Elsecar (10th, 58), Cleethorpes (ninth, 58), Treeton (eighth, 60) and Barnsley Woolley Miners (seventh, 68) are all in the mix.
Midway through the Yorkshire Premier League North campaign, Driffield Town are setting the pace, two points clear of the pack, with a game in hand.
It has been a startling transformation at King’s Mill Road, because in 2021 Town avoided relegation only narrowly.
Part of the about-turn in fortunes is down to winter signing Mayank Mishra, Driff’s Indian professional, a left-arm spin bowling all-rounder.
Last summer, playing for County Durham village team Philadelphia, Mishra took 43 wickets, at 13.53, in the First Division (i.e. second tier) of the North East Premier League.
Mishra’s figures for Driffield this season include 5-16, 5-18, 5-27 and 5-31.
There is little to choose between the top five, however.
York (second, 78 points), Sheriff Hutton Bridge (third, 74), Scarborough (fourth, 64) and Woodhouse Grange (fifth, 64) remain in contention.
Defending champions Castleford, on 56 points, are down in sixth position.
Driffield host Scarborough on July 23 then travel to Sheriff Hutton Bridge the following Saturday. York visit Town on August 20.
One club will be relegated from Yorkshire Premier League North.
At present, York suburb club Acomb (11th, 24 points) occupy the trapdoor position.
But Beverley Town (10th, 26 points), promoted in 2021, as York & District Senior League champions, ninth-placed Sessay (runners-up to Beverley Town last season, 46), Clifton Alliance (eighth, 48) and Harrogate (seventh, 48) have no cause for complacency.
Richmondshire, a point in front of Middlesbrough, who have played a game more, head the North Yorkshire & South Durham Premier League.
Last Saturday (June 25), Boro picked up only seven points from a draw at third-placed Barnard Castle.
Richmondshire beat Darlington, at Feethams, by 66 runs, to snatch top spot.
Barney trail Richmondshire by 24 points.
Marton (12th, 84 points) and Saltburn (11th, 99) occupy the two relegation places.
Billingham Synthonia (10th, 115 points), Hartlepool (ninth, 127) and Stokesley (eighth, 132) are the teams immediately above the pair.
As usual, in a rousing climax to the season, the champions of Yorkshire’s four ECB Premier League competitions will play off to determine the county’s leading club team.
Now, to the feeder and independent leagues.
Having won all 11 games, with maximum 20-point returns, Jer Lane are steamrollering through the Bradford Premier League’s First Division.
Battling to join Horton Bank-based Lane in the 2023 Premier Division are Carlton (second), 183 points, Pudsey Congs (third, 164), Undercliffe (fourth, 151), Birstall (fifth, 150) and Gomersal (sixth, 146).
I gather Jer Lane’s facilities – it is a rather small ground – have been deemed fit to stage ECB Premier Division cricket.
Eleven games in, Aston Hall (first, 120 points) and Hallam (second, 100) fill the promotion positions in the Championship division of the Yorkshire Southern Premier League.
Neither is a stranger to Premier Division cricket.
Indeed, Hallam came down only last year, along with Wickersley Old Village.
Hoping to deny Aston Hall and Hallam are Wickersley Old Village (third, 98 points), Shiregreen (fourth, 96), Houghton Main (fifth, 96) and Conisbrough (sixth, 84).
Intriguingly, Aston Hall visit Hallam on September 10, the season’s final day.
Stamford Bridge, who boast a 100 per cent record after 10 rounds, seem certain to make an immediate return to Yorkshire Premier League North.
In the York & District Senior League’s Championship division, the Catton Road side are 10 points ahead of Malton & Old Malton, with Easingwold trailing by a further 20.
Crucially, Malton & Old Malton won, by 62 runs, at Easingwold on June 18.
Stamford Bridge entertain Malton & Old Malton on Saturday (July 2). Stand by for fireworks.
County Durham seems odds-on to increase its 2023 representation in the North Yorkshire & South Durham Premier League.
Bishop Auckland (first, 240 points) and Darlington Railway Athletic (second, 227) have opened out a useful lead over Guisborough (third, 207), Normanby Hall (fourth, 200) and Richmondshire Seconds (fifth, 196).
After 10 rounds of the Halifax League, Copley set the pace.
In a crucial game, at The Arches, last Saturday (June 25), Copley had the better of a draw with title rivals Bradshaw. It advanced the Calder Valley men to 105 points.
It is tight below Copley, however, with Illingworth St Mary’s (second, 92 points), Thornton (third, 91), Bradshaw (fourth, 85) and Sowerby Bridge (fifth, 82) still in the frame.
Pontefract & District League newcomers Oulton, formerly of the Bradford Premier League, top the Premier Division after 10 rounds.
The southeast Leeds lads (135 points) are marginally ahead of second-placed Askern Welfare (127).
Frickley Colliery (third, 120 points), Streethouse (fourth, 116) and Kippax (fifth, 105) continue to push hard and are likely to have a big say in how the season pans out.
Askern Welfare and Oulton meet, at Manor Way, on August 20.
A fortnight earlier, on August 6, Frickley Colliery host Askern Welfare.
Defending champions Hoylandswaine are familiar pacesetters in the Huddersfield League’s Premiership.
With 14 rounds complete, Swaine (79 points) have the upper hand on Scholes (second, 64) and Honley (third, 61).
Honley go to Hoylandswaine on August 6. A week later, Swaine are at Scholes.
Three will be relegated this season, as the Huddersfield League – targeting ECB Premier League status – trims its top-flight to 12 clubs.
At present, the bottom four are Armitage Bridge (14th, 26 points), Delph & Dobcross (13th, 28), Skelmanthorpe (12th, 33) and Broad Oak (11th, 37).
Surprisingly, Mirfield-based Moorlands, who had such a successful 2021 campaign, which featured a Sykes Cup final victory over Hoylandswaine and the securing of runners-up position in the Premiership, lie fifth-from-bottom, with 39 points.
Division One rivals Otley and Rawdon are pretty much neck and neck at the top of the Airedale & Wharfedale Senior League.
Eleven rounds into the First Division season, Otley (195 points) have a slender advantage over Rawdon (190).
Rawdon host Otley, at Larkfield Road, on August 27.
Burley-in-Wharfedale (third, 163 points) and Collingham & Linton (fourth, 146) spearhead a rather forlorn challenge to the top two.
With nine wins and a single defeat from their opening 10 games, Bingley Congs (180 points) stand three points clear of Oakworth, who have an identical match record, in the First Division of the Craven & District League.
Congs host Oakworth, at Beckfoot Lane, on July 30.
Gargrave (149 points), promoted over the winter as 2021 Division Two runners-up, lie third, with Hepworth & Idle (148) fourth.
In the Nidderdale & District Amateur League’s top-flight, with 10 rounds complete, Killinghall have a nine-point lead over West Tanfield (second), with Birstwith (third) a further 14 in arrears.
Mulgrave (195 points), showing just one defeat, set the pace in the Scarborough Beckett League’s Premier Division.
After 10 rounds, Cayton (second) total 172 points, whilst Staithes Athletic (third) are on 159 and Heslerton (fourth) on 157.
In an important fixture at Staithes Athletic last Saturday (June 25), Mulgrave won by 99 runs.
Thornbury, boasting a 100 per cent record, top the Dales Council’s Division A after 10 matches.
The northeast Bradford team have 193 points, 28 ahead of second-placed Leeds Sikh. Interlink, third, are a further five points in arrears.
In what has the look of a do-or-die fixture, Leeds Sikh host Thornbury, on Saturday (July 2), at Gledhow Sports & Social Club.
Seven rounds into what may (or may not) be the last Leeds & Wetherby League season, Scarcroft are clear at the summit of Division One.
Scarcroft have 95 points in the bag, putting them ahead of Crossgates (second, 85) and Barwick-in-Elmet (third, 83).
On July 9, Barwick entertain Scarcroft, who host Crossgates on July 30.
In the First Division of the Yorkshire & Derbyshire League, De La Salle Sheffield (185 points) have opened out a big lead over Sheffield Transport (151).
With the Norman Moody Cup at stake, the duo is well clear of Sheffield Medics (third, 139) and Parkhead (fourth, 115).
De La Salle receive Sheffield Transport, at Beauchief Hall, on July 23.
Dunnington Seconds top the York Vale League’s First Division.
Dunno are 29 points ahead of Escrick-based Ben Johnson.
A clutch of teams below, headed by Stockton & Hopgrove (151 points), who have played a game more than the top two, appear to have too much ground to make up.
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