International umpire Richard Kettleborough shed his white coat to help Sheffield Collegiate claim a stunning one-wicket victory over Whitley Hall on Saturday to keep their slim title hopes alive in the Yorkshire Premier League South.
Former Yorkshire batsman Kettleborough was playing his first league game since 2018 to help cover for unavailability and contributed a valuable 41 from number eight in a nail-biting pursuit of 228.
But it was number eleven Robert Shaw, who sealed a visiting win by hitting a six in the final over with the scores tied.
Collegiate recovered from 33-5 and 187-9 to secure one of those wins which makes you wonder whether something special could be on the cards as they moved within two points of second-placed Treeton and 20 behind leaders Appleby Frodingham with six games remaining.
George Bartlett top-scored with 62 from number seven and when Kettleborough, who has been doing some coaching at Abbeydale Park, fell Collegiate were 177-8.
But captain Josh Varley (15 not out) and Shaw shared an unbroken 39 for the last wicket, with Shaw finishing 34 not out from 21 balls.
Earlier, opener Matthew Cartwright’s 63 was the top score in Whitley Hall’s 220-4 from their 50 overs having elected to bat first.
Five wickets for Will Street ensured Treeton won the top of the table clash with Appleby Frodingham.
Victory for second-placed Treeton opens the door in a title race which would have surely been all but over with defeat.
This was a low-scoring affair which saw visitors Treeton elect to bat and post 147 all out inside 41 overs, including opener Stephen Foster’s 69 and captain Sam Drury’s 39. Paul Hilton claimed four wickets for the hosts.
In reply, league leaders Appleby were in reasonable order at 62-2, only for Street to take five of the last eight wickets as he returned 5-20 from 10.5 overs in 127 all out and seal a 20-run success.
This was Treeton’s 10th win in 16 games, yielding 12 points, and puts them within 18 of Appleby with six rounds still to play. This was only the leaders’ second defeat of the campaign.
Hallam’s three-wicket win chasing 238 against Barnsley Woolley Miners kept up their hopes of avoiding relegation, winning for only the second time this season.
Having elected to bowl, two wickets apiece from Charlie Bourne and James Smedley restricted their visitors to 237-7 from 50 overs. Harpreet Singh Bhatia top-scored with 82 from number three for Barnsley.
In reply, Hallam made steady and composed progress all the way through the chase, with each of the top four all making it into the twenties at least.
Opener Alex Hughes made 57 and wicketkeeper Nick Dymock 54, with Jamie Stone’s 32 providing more than useful support from number six as the win was secured with eight balls remaining.
Hallam still have it all to do to haul themselves to safety.
They are 14 points behind third-bottom Cawthorne, who were bowled out for just 60 in defeat to Wakefield Thornes on Saturday.
That game lasted just less than 32 overs in total.
While Matthew Taylor claimed 4-32 from 10 overs for Wakefield, it was his new ball partner Imran Mahboob who stole the show with outstanding figures of 8-3-9-5.
Wakefield actually made heavy weather of the chase, falling to 10-2 and 49-6.
Jamie Howarth’s 12 from number three was the joint highest score of a match the batsmen would rather forget.
Tickhill beat Doncaster Town by 89 runs defending a target of 221.
Opener Ross Diver made an unbeaten 105 in Tickhill’s 220 all out, carrying his bat as Usama Mir claimed an excellent 6-38 from 13 overs for hosts Doncaster.
Unfortunately for Mir, it counted for little as he was one of Doncaster’s last five wickets to fall for 11 runs as they slipped from 120-5 to 131 all out.
In the other game of the round, it was another one-wicket thriller between bottom side Wickersley Old Village and victorious Elsecar.
Shahjahan Younis underpinned Wickersley’s 236-6 with an outstanding 103 from number three. He was one of three wickets for former White Rose seamer Moin Ashraf.
In reply, Elsecar recovered from 95-6 as Kashif Naveed made 97 from number four.
But when he fell, Elsecar were 191-7 and later slipped to 212-9, still 25 from their target.
However, number nine Joe Denby was their hero with an unbeaten 40 off 25 balls, supported by last man Saqib Hussain’s unbeaten seven as they crept over the line.
Well, crept may not be quite true as Denby finished things with a six and four with the second and third balls of the final over, which started with them needing seven against the bowling of David Mace.