ON THE back of four consecutive wins, Oxenhope made the short journey to league leaders Illingworth optimistic of making an impact on the Halifax League Division One title race.

That optimism soon dissipated as the Illingworth quicks ripped through the early batting order before Bobby Fielding produced a steadying hand.

His contribution of 57 not out proved to be the only significant one as only one other player made double figures. Three wickets each for Luke Brooksby, Jamie Moorhouse and Stephen Cook ensured the visitors were back in the hutch with just 100 on the board.

In the field, Oxenhope recovered some pride with two wickets each for Liam Dyson and Joel Fothergill but the result was never in doubt as Callum Cook (38), Stephen Cook (24) and Luke Brooksby (28no) eased them past the total with six wickets to spare to consolidate their position at the top.

Meanwhile, a seesaw game at Oxenhope II saw the initiative swing several times before a result was determined against Outlane II.

The visitors elected to bat first and a very steady start saw Stephen Helliwell set the basis for the most significant contribution of the game before he was eventually dismissed for 84.

His stand with Simon Ainley (34) was the key to achieving a total of 184. The Oxenhope bowlers shared out the wickets, with Robin Ali (3) and Luke Fleetwood (2) the main wicket-takers.

A poor start and two run-outs handed the initiative to the visitors but opener Graham Ellis (49) finally found a partner in young keeper Spencer Hurd, whose 43 runs put the home side back in the driving seat. Hamzah Kahn (17no) and Robbie Carling (14) edged towards victory before Simon Ailey returned to take the last two of his three wickets with the home side just 12 runs short of victory on 173 all out.