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Azam wins another Warley battle

Cricket - Warley v Thornton. Warley bowler Amjid Azam.
Cricket - Warley v Thornton. Warley bowler Amjid Azam.

When it comes to famous last stands, Warley’s Amjid Azam is doing his best to upstage U.S. military officer and commander George Armstrong Custer of Battle of the Little Bighorn fame.

The opening bowler shone with the bat again yesterday to help his side to a second against-the-odds one-wicket win of July against top opposition in the Spenser Wilson Halifax League.

Azam had made 50 not out and shared a last-wicket stand of 95 with Cameron van Rensberg to win away to champions Booth three weeks earlier.

The size of Warley’s challenge at home to leaders Thornton yesterday was child’s play in comparison - just 33 required by the final pair - and he and Liam Senior proved up to the task.

Azam, promoted from No 11 to the dizzy heights of 10, hit 32 not out and Senior contributed 13 from the other end to help snatch victory.

It must have been a tough pill to swallow for the visitors’ Bradley Weatherhead in particular. He had taken 6-81 to move the visitors to the brink of victory in a rain affected game.

A solid top order effort from Thornton had left them strongly placed at 125-2 with Nikki Hutchinson (55) to the fore.

Greg Keywood removed him and six more Thornton batsmen in a superb spell as the visitors were all out for 186 in the 39th over.

That total looked as if it would be more than enough as Warley lurched from 2-2 to 70-6 but the home side demonstrated again that they bat all the way down and Daniel Syme (34) helped manoeuvre them into a position for Azam and Senior to win it.

Thornton were limited to five points and Booth, bidding for a hat-trick of titles, slashed their lead to six points by steamrollering visitors Southowram in a quick nine-wicket win.

The next-to-bottom Rams were bowled out for 83 with Nigel Horsfall (5-29) and Moazzam Ayub (3-11) doing the bulk of the damage. Opener David Jowett’s 27 was the top score for the visitors.

In-form Steve Senior was in no mood to hang around, ensuring maximum points for Booth with an unbeaten 48 in 10 overs.

The margin of success was also nine wickets at SBCI where the home side moved further away from the drop zone with victory over Sowerby St Peter’s.

Craig Potts and No 9 John Brown made 39 apiece as the visitors were dismissed for 135 with Tom Wood (4-34) and Dan Sykes (3-19) among the wickets.

Wood kept up the good work with 57 as he and Lewis Firth (56 no) took SBCI most of the way to their target.

The weather had the final say in the games at Mytholmroyd, Bridgeholme and Oxenhope.

A good contest was spoiled at Moderna Way where Triangle made 252-8 off 44 overs and Royd replied with 211-7 off 37 to leave the sides with seven points each.

Experienced Gary Rodger gave a reminder of his talents with 72 and 4-48 for the visitors, who also had 54 from Michael Midwood and 41 not out from No 10 Liam Turner.

Triangle had lost their sixth, seventh and eighth wickets on 191 before Turner halted the progress of Tom Conway and Adie Gawthrope, who bowled throughout and took four wickets each.

Matthew Scholefield led the home reply with 75.

Shelf Northowram Hedge Top limited bottom side Bridgeholme to 159-8 off 30 overs, Harry Reynolds taking 4-45 and Sohail Sajjid scoring 40.

The visitors had only 8.3 overs in reply and after losing Harry Talbot (20) with the score on 42 had moved to 62-1 when play was ended.

Half-centuries from Alex Blagborough and Oliver Thorpe helped Copley to a modest 157-7 off 38 overs at Oxenhope, Joel Fothergill and Liam Dyson each picking up three inexpensive wickets.

However, seamers Thorpe (3-22) and Ian Hartley (2-18) had the home side rocking at 47-5 after 16 overs when the game finished.

Scores: Southowram 82 (Horsfall 5-29), *Booth 83-1 (Senior 48*): pts 0-12. *Bridgeholme 159-8 (Sajjid 40, Reynolds 4-45), Shelf Northowram HT 62-1 rsp: pts 4-4. Triangle 252-8 (Rodger 72, Midwood 54, L Turner 41*, Gawthorpe 4-114, Conway 4-126), *Mytholmroyd 211-7 (Scholefield 75) rsp: pts 7-7. Copley 157-7 (Blagborough 58, Thorpe 50), *Oxenhope 47-5 rsp: pts 5-4. Sowerby St Peter's 135 (T Wood 4-34), *SBCI 136-1 (T Wood 57, Firth 56*): pts 1-12. Thornton 186 (N Hutchinson 55, Keywood 7-45), *Warley 190-9 (Weatherhead 6-61): pts 5-12.

Points (after 15 matches): Thornton 161, Booth 155, Warley 146, Triangle 129, Shelf Northowram Hedge Top 113, Mytholmroyd 111, Oxenhope 106, SBCI 97, Sowerby St Peters 93, Copley 88, Southowram 78, Bridgeholme 47.