AN excellent opening gambit set Sheriff Hutton Bridge on the way to victory at Beverley Town and second place in the Hunters York & District Senior League - despite being without ace paceman Ed Barnes.
Beverley lost half their wickets for under 100 runs and, although they recovered to post a decent first-innings total, SHB held their reply together to post a victory by four wickets.
The maximum 30-point haul saw Bridge leapfrog Easingwold, whose unbeaten record ended when they were 59 runs adrift against Clifton Alliance, and cut the gap to leaders Woodhouse Grange to 36 points with eight games remaining, as Grange were denied victory by Studley Royal.
The Bridge attack lacked the threat of Barnes - who was instead making his debut for the Yorkshire Academy side in their Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier League victory over Barnsley - and this perhaps assisted Beverley as they recovered from their wobbles to post a handy 206-9, Rob Harrison claiming 4-44.
In reply, SHB enjoyed a 58-run opening stand between Dave Bradshaw and Paul Oldfield, which ended when Bradshaw fell for 40 and Oldfield followed without further addition.
Skipper Adam Fisher then made 36 and Toby Latham added 39 to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Jamie Roe claimed 4-61, but Mark Fisher made 27 to take his side home.
Meanwhile, superb centuries by skipper Matt Beckett, who made 109, and Dominic Rhodes, who hit 136, set up a second win of the season for Stamford Bridge, who hammered Sewerby by 153 runs after totalling 290-4.
Three Sewerby batsmen showed some fight as Tom Chippendale made 31, Lindon Warcup 35 not out and Matt Reynoldson 30, but their team-mates fared badly against the threat posed by Luke Robinson (3-33) and Rhodes (4-29) as they were felled for 137.
A rapid eight-wicket victory over Folkton & Flixton gave Pickering temporary ownership of top spot in division one.
The victory was sealed by unbeaten half-centuries by Chris Nicholls (58no) and Colin Frank (55no). Earlier, Scott Cooper had made 37, but Isaac Christopher’s 3-26 had helped to dismiss Flixton for 138.
However, title rivals Heworth later record the better of a draw against Bridlington to return to the summit.
Malton & Old Malton enjoyed a vital win to lift themselves out of the bottom two - defeating visitors Whitkirk by six wickets.
Batting first, Whitkirk totalled 164-9 as W Spencer took 4-23 and Wayne Dawson 3-29. In reply, Steve Linsley made 45, Morgan Fraser 41 and Shaun Harland 38 in a winning score of 165-4.
Dan Clipston shone with the ball to set up victory for promotion-chasing Sheriff Hutton Bridge II at home to York IV in division three north.
P Boxall struck 66 as York made a decent start but their innings then fell away to 124 all out as Clipston claimed 4-31.
The Bridge seemed to be heading for a 10-wicket win but Josh Cockrill fell for 46. That was the only setback as Steve Crowder’s unbeaten 74 took his side to a maximum-points victory.
SHB II remained five points behind leaders Easingwold, who beat lowly Londesborough Park.
Malton & Old Malton II fell by five wickets to lowly Drax.
Luke Edwards made an unbeaten 87 for Drax, which, supplemented by Ben Worley’s 47, took them home.
Earlier, Malton had made 202-7, with Tom Audsley (32), A Blacklee (35) and A Hill (34) in the runs. Worley took 4-42.
Pickering II’s woes in division three south worsened as they lost by 63 runs to Civil Service, who thus climbed away from the drop zone.
Service totalled 173-8 as Tony Evans claimed 3-37 and N Cowton 4-47. When Pickering responded, M Butler made 29 but Crouch took 3-17 to have them all out for 110.
Stamford Bridge II lost by eight wickets to promotion-seeking Fenner II.
Adam Michaels hit an undefeated 55 in Fenner’s winning score of 111-2, Martin Veysey (2-20) taking both wickets to fall.
Stamford’s Ian Fraser had earlier made 36 not out in their 108 all out, in which Liam Hutchinson took 3-17.
Duo’s derby command
DUNCOMBE Park maintained their promotion drive in division two north of the Hunters York & District Senior League thanks chiefly to a big derby partnership between Brian Leckenby and Ali Holmes.
Leckenby made 76 not out and Holmes 89 to steer the Helmsley side to a victory at Sheriff Hutton.
Two of the home batsmen also made good runs, with Geoff Schofield hitting 55 and Tom Harrison 41, but the triple attack of Holmes, with 3-32, Adam Leckenby, with 3-35, and Peter Kent, who also had 3-35, had Sheriff all out for 171.
At the other end of the table, Hovingham fell into deeper relegation peril as they crashed to an eight-wicket loss at bottom-placed York III.
Stuart Prest hit 42 for the visitors but Graham Mackfall took 5-28 in 10.2 overs to dismiss Hovingham for 121.
Higginbottom the destroyer
PAUL HIGGINBOTTOM was in devastating form for Hovingham II in division four central of the York & District Senior League as he captured 6-5 to destroy Stillington II.
Stillington could only muster 59 despite Neil Dale’s 25. Ali Thorpe then hit 42 not out in a nine-wicket Hovingham triumph. Three good innings enabled Civil Service II to total 178 when they batted first against Sheriff Hutton II whose D Sowden took 4-25 and A Byers 3-26.
Phil Northing hit 42, Nick Olney 41 and Andy Luffy 40, but then James Armitage made 37 as Sheriff drew at 130-8. Cawood II were whipped out for 79 at Duncombe Park II, whose Dave Dunn had 3-7 and Bev Nicholson 3-18. Park then knocked off the runs without loss with Nick Allenby making 52 not out and Jeremy Lascelles 25 not out.