Wetherby failed to capitalise on Great Preston’s player shortage in a weekend of shocks at the top of Division One.
With Leeds Rhinos taking on Castleford in the Challenge Cup final, Preston’s first team could only muster ten players in their heavy defeat to Bilton-in-Ainsty.
Wetherby, the champions of 2012, could have overtaken Preston in the title race with a win over Scarcroft, but the hosts suffered a five-wicket defeat to the mid-table men.
Batting first, The Grange Parker’s in-form top three, Richard Grogan (33), Mansoor Hussain (28) and Ian Twitchen (30) made a positive start but they all failed to make a sizeable contribution. Paul Horsey added 33 but Scarcroft restricted the home side to a par 183-8.
A top-order collapse put the chase in trouble, but a sixth-wicket partnership between Matthew Ansell (75no) and Damian Aston (65no) stunned the title hopefuls.
Phillip Atkinson’s half century led third-placed Bilton to 202-8 against Preston, who fielded a mix of first and second team players. Preston were then bowled out for 116, Andy Walker taking 3-13.
With only four matches to go, Walton’s stay in the top division is almost certain to end in September following another heavy defeat.
Shadwell were the perpetrators, with Ben Turner (5-18) and Brad Taylor (4-24) bowling the troubled club out for 94. Ed Whittingham (31no) led Shadwell to victory.
Kirk Deighton let a dominant position slip at Old Modernians, as the Leeds side’s final pair snatched victory.
Richard Ward’s composed 58 not out laid the foundations for Jonny Watkins to plunder an unbeaten 73 as Deighton compiled 201-3.
Dwayne Heke (91) responded for Old Mods before Ward (3-69) and Aidan Marshall (4-43) put victory in Deighton’s grasp.
But a stubborn last stand from Nathan Robson (14no) and Richard Brearley (3no) sent five points to Mods.
In-form Barwick-in-Elmet stretched their unbeaten streak to eight matches with a comfortable eight-wicket win over Old Leodiensians.
Aussie Matt Prosser’s unbeaten 105 overcame Leos’ 167 all out.
Meanwhile, Sicklinghall leapfrogged Leos after a tense eight-run win over St Chad’s Broomfield. Richard Brooke (53) was ‘Hall’s only batsman of note as they were dismissed for 106. But the struggling side recaptured their form with the ball and thanks to Adam Ryszkowski (4-26), they grabbed a sensational triumph.
In Division Two, Church Fenton climbed within four points of fellow promotion hopefuls Garforth Parish Church after a hard-earned two-wicket win over Hillam and Monk Fryston.
Luke Frankland (51) and Martin Pugh (61no) set Fenton 194 to win, before Sam Malpass’s half century led the hosts home.
Garforth suffered their fourth defeat of the season after failing to chase down Kirk Hammerton’s 191-6, making just 144.
Leaders Scholes could secure promotion into Division One this Saturday if results go their way, after beating South MIlford by 53 runs on Saturday.
Crossgates’ future in the division could also be sealed at the weekend, should Ledsham win on Saturday. ‘Gates were humbled by East Keswick on Saturday, scoring exactly half of Keswick’s 134 all out.
Crossgates will be hoping Ledsham will their eight-wicket defeat to Thorner Mexborough, after being bowled out for just 82.
Whixley, beaten by 26 runs at home to Saxton, sit just seven points above the bottom side. But with their impending switch to the Nidderdale League, only Ledsham can contend Crossgates for relegation.