York Vs Clifton Alliance – Match Report
The destiny of the Hunters ECB Yorkshire Premier League North title rests with York who will go into next week’s final match at home to Driffield Town, as competition leaders after a century from Jack Leaning provided the platform for a crushing 194 runs victory over Clifton Alliance.
Neighbouring ‘Alliance made the short trip across Clifton Park in search of points in their own battle to avoid relegation, and the decision to bowl first was based on fact this offered the opportunity of not leaving empty handed even in defeat. This defensive approach looked to have backfired when openers Duncan Snell and Jack Leaning shared a flurry of early boundaries scoring 52 from the opening ten overs. A lack of fielders in close proximity to the bat took some pressure of the batsmen but a ring of fielders on both sides of the wicket limited the pairs scoring options and by the time Alex Renton came on to bowl in the 23rd over the scoring rate had slowed somewhat. Snell on 46 went searching for a boundary to reach his 14th half-century of the season when he misjudged a ball from the off-spinner and was bowled with the total on 90. Leaning was joined at the crease by county colleague Matthew Waite and for the next ten overs the pair played circumspectly whilst youngster Thomas Brown partnered fellow spinner Renton in the attack. Leaning went to 50 off 72 balls and soon after he began to accelerate his scoring. The course of the afternoon might have been different had a tough chance off Waite been taken in the deep with the batsman on 18 and the score 142. That reprieve appeared to galvanise the powerful all-rounder who struck back to back sixes off Renton in the following over marking the begging of an onslaught which produced another six maximums and saw him add 74 runs to his personal tally off just 32 balls. That contributed to a second wicket stand worth 154 from 21 overs which ended when ‘Alliance captain Scott Hopkinson brought himself on to bowl and Greg Drewery took the catch at gully to dismiss Waite for 92. Earlier in the same over Leaning went to a century, his second of the season coming off 117 balls and containing eleven fours. The opener cut loose with two sixes but following the second he was a little unfortunate dragging a delivery from Hopkinson on to his stumps, forcing him to depart to generous applause for 114, out of a total of 260 for three. Kyle Brockley produced some fireworks late on four boundaries including a brace of sixes in a score 31 made from a dozen balls before becoming Hopkinson’s third wicket when caught by Paul Walton on the deep mid-wicket boundary after which the home side pushed on to reach 314 by the end of the 50th over.
Matthew Waite lived up to the all-rounder tag by capturing the first two wickets in a hostile opening spell which saw Simon Corley caught at second slip off a ball that flew to Jack Leaning at head height, then ‘keeper Tom Brooks to short square leg to take the catch offered when a climbing ball took the shoulder of John Gilham’s bat leaving the visitors on 12 for two. A partnership for the third wicket between Australian Jack Beath and Greg Drewery worth 60 from ten overs caused the home side some concern but once they were separated the rest of the batting line-up offered a level of resistance akin to their lowly standing in the League. Tom Pringle enjoying an excellent run of form picked up three wickets in the space of four overs, firstly the key wicket of ‘Alliance’s leading run scorer Beath for 27, who was stumped off a ball low outside off stump which Brooks did well to gather. The York ‘keeper was again on hand to take the catch when Drewery on 43 edged a back foot drive with the score on 81, but leg-spinner Pringle needed no assistance when bowling Hopkinson as the top five were dismissed inside 21 overs. Only Paul Walton from the remainder of the line up reached double figures scoring 12 before being bowled by a full of length delivery, one of three wickets, for Dan Woods which took him past 100 wickets since the League’s inception. Brooks picked up a second stumping on a busy afternoon behind the stumps again off Pringle who picked up a third five wicket haul in four weeks when former ‘Alliance favourite Joe Ashdown caught last man Liam Green with the score on 120