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Wear’s Raw talent gives Harden big lift
It was one of only three games finished this week in a league that so far has lost more than a third of its matches to the weather.
But dark clouds weren’t going to put off Harden, who raced to 221-8 – their second-highest score of the season – with Wear leading the way with 73.
He found good support from Mark Beckett (52), James Seymour (36) and Ben Birkill (35) while Tony Gilks was the pick of the bowlers with 4-55.
Rawdon were always behind the clock but needed at least 166 to pick up two points.
No 3 batsman Chris Brown raised hopes with a half-century but the rest struggled to contain Wear, who produced a spell of 6-49.
Rawdon did manage a point when they hung on at 159-9 and stay in third place but are now only a single point ahead of Harden.
The two sides above them were both rained off.
At the other end of the table, the scrap between the bottom two was rained off with the game finely balanced.
Chris Wheeler (113) and Saj Ijaz (49) led the way as Olicanian hit a season-best 216-4 and Upper Wharfedale were going well at 110-2 when the rain drove them back inside.
But both gained a point on third-from-bottom Calverley, who were quickly dispatched at North Leeds.
Anthony Jones made a determined 32 as Calverley were skittled out for 83 in 37.1 overs, unable to contain Steve Wales (4-23) and Barry Singleton (3-14).
North Leeds eased home without losing a wicket in 17.1 overs to complete the double over Calverley this season.
Steeton were denied what looked likely to be an easy six points when their match at bottom-of-the-table Adel was rained off and so lost their top spot in Division One, overtaken by Collingham, who enjoyed an ominously comfortable win at fourth-placed Kirkstall.
In the only other top flight game to start, Charlie Swallow (48) and Robbie Oldham (27) shared a stand of 51 in Ben Rhydding’s 170-9, with Anthony Giles (3-49) and Richard Rhodes (3-25) doing a good containing job.
Otley’s hopes of a win that would have sent them up to third were destroyed when heavy rain forced the match to be abandoned before their innings could start.
The weather also intervened at a tense moment in the clash between Division Three promotion hopefuls Hall Park and Tong Park Esholt.
A J Weerapuli (44), Harris Butt (34) and Gareth Wilkinson (30) were the main contributors to Tong Park’s 142, with Craig Hobson (4-40) picking up his second four-wicket haul of the season and Jonathan Postle taking 3-24.
Sean Atkinson (37) led the run-chase that saw Hall Park on 117-5 with six overs remaining when the sides were forced off.