MAHIR Ali went on a run spree as Horsforth defied the rain to crush Bardsey and extend their lead at the top of Aire-Wharfe League Division Three to 27 points over Illingworth and 43 over third-placed New Rover.
Ali, better known for his bowling, smashed 95 in 67 balls, including ten sixes and four fours, as Horsforth raced to 222 in 42 overs.
Teenage star Larry Edward then took over. Edward, a left-arm spinner from the Windward Islands, missed much of the first half of the season because of his commitments on a sports scholarship at Woodhouse School, but he showed his massive potential with a 6-30 spell as Bardsey were dismissed for 133.
Edward, like Ali, now has 29 victims for the season, and Michael Lambert is not far behind them. Add to that the batting of Ollie Hardaker, Mark Gilliver, Michael Lambert, Leon Harber and Ryan Sharrocks, and Horsforth have a line-up that is set to stroll away with the title but also challenge for promotion to Division One in a year’s time.
Illingworth were thwarted by the weather when their match was abandoned with Calverley on 60-4 chasing 185-7 but New Rover kept up their late challenge, overtaking Silsden’s 162-5 in which Muhammad Waqas had scored 64.
Sam Boyden (5-32) and Gareth Lee (4-7) skittled out Hall Park for 102 and Imran Mirza (44no) and Lee (34no) had no difficulty in sealing the win for Menston, while a half-century from Johnny Johnson put Addingham on the way to a 73-run win over Alwoodley.
Otley and Burley, the top two in Division One, both lost tight finishes in games much reduced by rain. Fortunately for them, hard-chasing Beckwithshaw were also affected by the weather and only gained a couple of points more.
Jonathan Hughes (44) top-scored as Ilkley put on 143-7 in their 27 overs against Otley, who made a solid start to reach 83-2. They then lost four quick wickets and some tight bowling under pressure by Paul Dover (2-14) ensured they were still four runs short at the close.
Burley’s top order struggled in the chase of Bilton’s 197-4 and, despite the efforts of No7 Danny Bryan (71), assisted by Jason Wright (28) and Richard Brook (33), they were bowled out six short of victory.
Josh Hobson took 5-30 as Rawdon restricted Steeton to 130-9, with last man James Emmott (38no) top-scoring. The home side looked set for victory with openers Ben Heritage (41no) and Conor McInerney (29no) in control but then a downpour ended the chase.
Bolton Villas are beginning to look destined for the drop from Division Two after Colton bowled them out for 64 in response to their own 213-3.
That win sent Colton to third place above Green Lane, who became the latest victims of leaders Follifoot.
Gareth Wilkinson hit 86 in 50 balls, including 17 fours, as Tong Park reached 197 in their abandoned game against Adel.
With Neil Kettle (23no) and Scott Hartley (27no) going well, Harden looked in with a chance of overtaking North Leeds’ 187 target when the game had to be abandoned.