BATLEY warmed up for their top-of-the-table All Rounder Cricket Equipment Central Yorkshire League Championship clash at Liversedge this week with a ten-wicket win at home to third-placed Northowram in a rain-shortened contest.

Northowram made just 104-8 in their 33 overs as Hassan Patel (3-25) removed three of the first four batsmen with only 23 on the board.

In reply, Fawad Maqsood (43) and Muhammed Tahir (45) knocked off the runs without loss in only 19.2 overs as Northowram bowled every player except wicket-keeper Chris Metcalf.

That win leaves Batley six points ahead of Liversedge, whose game at home to East Ardsley was washed out, and they are now 16 ahead of Northowram with only four games to play.

Buttershaw St Paul's, 12 points behind second-placed Liversedge, still have a mathematical chance of promotion but their rained- off game at home to East Leeds scarcely helped their cause, and a win at East Ardsley this week is now a must.

In the Premier Division, Birstall and Lower Hopton have a fight on their hands to avoid being relegated, while Scholes' hopes of a place in the end-of-season Yorkshire Council play-offs are fast fading.

Birstall's lack of penetration in attack left them chasing a daunting 280-3 at champions Townville, Jason Booth (113) and teenager Connor Harvey, with 49 not out off 19 balls, putting the bowlers to the sword.

Craig Wood made 97 at a run a ball in the Birstall reply but Ritchie Bresnan's 5-57 won it for the home side.

That defeat leaves third-from-bottom Birstall just two points ahead of Lower Hopton, who were all out for 65 chasing 140 at home to Altofts.

Birstall have a home game with leaders Methley this week, while Lower Hopton are at Wakefield Thornes.

At the other end of the table, Scholes, in fifth after losing at Wrenthorpe, go to Townville this week, while Ossett, fourth after their defeat at Mirfield Parish, are at home to bottom club Hunslet Nelson.