THORNTON are now just one point above the relegation zone in the Halifax League Premier Division after the narrowest of defeats at home to Shelf Northowram HT.

Nikki Hutchinson (72) and Thomas Harrison (54) helped the hosts to a competitive 249-9 as Razwan Saghir took 4-70.

Hedge Top responded with aplomb and claimed a win by one wicket with just one ball to spare. The architect of a nail-biting triumph was opener Daniel Cole, whose magnificent innings of 141 not out was aided at the close by the one not out of stubborn No 11 Jack Hemblys.

The last pair took the score from 237-9 to thwart Bradley Weatherhead (4-53) as Hedge Top moved into second place.

Chris Kibble saved Oxenhope from total humiliation as they made the short journey to leaders Illingworth St Mary’s.

His 57 not out of a total of 100 runs extended the visitors innings to 33.1 overs when, at 57-8, the close seemed likely to come a lot sooner.

The leaders now have a 14-point cushion at the top with their four-wicket win taking only 25 overs to claim the maximum return.

Great Horton Park Chapel won the battle of second and third places to overtake Clayton in the Division One table with a two-wicket win at Ewart Street.

The visitors batted first and made 157-9 on a difficult track, skipper Joseph Brown (47) the leading scorer as both Adam Beesley (4-23) and Stuart Fenton (4-34) found the conditions to their liking.

In reply, with Horton’s score at 87-5, the match was evenly poised but Baber Yaqoob (40) and Chris Brown (30 not out) put on 58 runs for the sixth-wicket that proved just enough in a 161-8 winning score.

In the Second Division, Augustinians remain rooted to the bottom spot after losing to Cullingworth at Woodhouse Gardens by six wickets.

The hosts managed 117 runs as Michael Bright (4-17) was the main wicket taker of five successful visiting bowlers. Cullingworth too struggled to reach the small target, taking 39.4 overs to make 120-4, Gary Bloodworth (44) top-scoring.

Division Two leaders Low Moor HT went 20 points clear as they took advantage of Luddendenfoot having a free date.

Opponents Outlane managed only 113 all out in its case against leaders Low Moor HT. Chris Brook (40) top-scored as Martin Jenkins claimed impressive figures of 14-5-21-4.

Low Moor had little difficulty in knocking off the requirement, with Jason Gelder (48 not out) and skipper Lee Broadbent (41) to the fore in an eight-wicket victory.

Leymoor were the only winning home team against Queensbury. Seven of their batsmen made useful scores in an all-round team effort to register easily the highest total in the division of the day – 194 all out in 44.3 overs, Gareth Walker’s four wickets rather expensive at 21.75 apiece.

The visitors never looked in any shape to pose a threat to the target score and lost, in military order, a wicket for nearly each 10 runs scored in scrambling to 102 all out – Pierce Walker finishing with 4-42.