We started the month with the first eleven leading the Premiership & with a place in the Sykes Cup semi final & the second eleven in the 2nd of two promotion places in the league & also in semi finals of the Paddock Shield & Earnshaw Cup competitions.
On 6th July, the first X1 travelled to Hall Bower & dismissed the home team for 116, Craig Glover ripping through the early order & taking 4-36 & left arm spinner Danny Wood coming into the action with an impressive 5-32. The Shepley reply commenced with the loss of Tom Denton in the first over & this brought the brothers Dan & Greg Wood together. Greg was in superb form & hit a very quick 89 before being dismissed towards the end of the game, whilst his brother Dan remained unbeaten on 26 to ensure no dramas unfolded in a very convincing 8 wicket win. At Marsh Lane, Shepley’s second team entertained league leaders Hall Bower in a very important fixture for the home club. Having already been beaten twice this season by Hall Bower, the home team were in need of success to keep their 2nd place position in the league intact. On the day, an excellent all round bowling performance saw Bower dismissed for 98 with 3 wickets for Rob Denton & 2 each for Chris James, Chris Cox & Danny Netherwood. The Shepley reply was assured & an unbeaten half century from captain Gary Bradley & 36 not out from Stuart Greaves saw Shepley home for a convincing 10 wicket victory.
On Sunday the 7th, a big crowd came to Marsh Lane to see the Sykes Cup semi final between Shepley & Kirkburton, the home team being anxious to gain revenge for a narrow defeat in the League at the end of June. Kirkburton were put in to bat & excellent bowling by Sean Savage, 4-29 & Danny Wood, 3-17, saw the visitors dismissed for a disappointing 117. The Shepley reply was always in control, the match being concluded after 21 overs with solid scores of 38 & 32 for Dan & Greg Wood respectively & an unbeaten 34 from opener Tom Denton. Shepley now travel to Elland on 11th August to play champions Hoylandswaine in the Final, this being the third year on the trot that this has been achieved by Danny Glover’s side.
The following week saw a home fixture against Barkisland for the first team & once again, the visitors were asked to bat first & they were dismissed very cheaply for a total of 79 in 26 overs. The two Danny’s, Glover & Wood did the damage with 5-20 & 4-24 respectively. The Shepley reply was clinical, victory arriving in the 10th over by 9 wickets, the ever dependable Dan Wood being unbeaten on 42. The second team travelled to Delph for a very difficult fixture & the home team posted a very challenging score of 200-8, 3 wickets for Rob Denton & 2 each for Chris James & Chris Cox. Despite a resolute 41 from Stuart Greaves, Shepley were never really looking like reaching the required total & were dismissed for 136 for a 64 runs defeat.
The next day gave the second team a chance to return to winning ways with a home semi final in the Paddock Shield against Linthwaite. Being in the division below Shepley, our visitors were something of an unknown quantity, but they had an impressive victory against Hoylandswaine in their record to cause caution in the home ranks. Linthwaite batted first & excellent bowling by Rob Denton, 3-33 & 2 wickets each for Chris James & Ali Reza saw the visitors dismissed for 117. An assured unbeaten 59 from Gary Bradley, with support from Dominic Lynn on 24 not out, saw the men from Marsh Lane home to an 8 wicket victory & a place in the Paddock Shield final away against Premiership side Broad Oak on 18th August.
On Saturday the 20th, the 2nd X1 entertained Emley Clarence & bowled them out for 148, Tom James taking 3-26 & Stuart Greaves 2-27. The Shepley reply started badly with a number of early wickets, but a superb innings of 86 not out by Oliver Cox & support from Steve Sullivan, 29, saw us home safely by 5 wickets. The first team travelled to Skelmanthorpe & despite the home team being 90 odd for 5 at one stage, an excellent unbeaten partnership for the 6th wicket saw the home team total 238-5 in their 50 overs. Excellent bowling from Craig Glover saw him return figures of 5-41. The Shepley reply started badly with the early loss of Tom Denton but Dan & Greg Wood then got things moving in the right direction before Greg was dismissed for a valuable 45. When we lost opener Dan Wood for an important 59, the game was very much in the balance, but Liam Wiles was still there & batting extremely responsibly. Wickets continued to fall in the middle order & when we were 7 down, captain Danny Glover came in to join Liam with a lot of work still to do. Liam played solidly for his 53 not out & a whirlwind knock of 41 not out by Danny, saw us safely home in a tight finish by 3 wickets.
The following day, the second team played it’s second semi final in the month, coincidentally, again at home to Linthwaite in the Earnshaw Cup. Shepley batted first & in their allotted 45 overs, amassed a superb total of 278-3, the highlight being 121 from Gary Bradley, but receiving excellent support from Stuart Greaves 45, Chris Cox, a quickfire 50 not out & an unbeaten 30 from Dominic Lynn. Any thoughts that Linthwaite were to become easy victims were quickly banished. From the outset, they played with aggression & numerous excellent boundaries ensued. Whilst Linthwaite lost wickets at regular intervals, they were always up with the necessary striking rate. With slow bowlers Stuart Greaves & young Tom James being asked to bowl the final overs, the gallant Linthwaite response ended with the fall of their last wicket on 267 to see Shepley home by a mere 11 runs. An excellent game of cricket with great credit to both sides, Linthwaite providing a very stern test indeed.
On the last Saturday of the month, the first team received near neighbours Honley & our visitors put together a challenging total of 245-6, with Danny Glover taking 4-69. The Shepley reply stuttered with the early losses of Tom Denton & Greg Wood, but an excellent partnership between Dan Wood & Liam Wiles ensued. When the consistent Dan Wood was out for 53, Liam continued to bat impressively, in conjunction with South African Sean Savage. Unfortunately, Liam fell one short of a richly deserved century & Sean Savage was stumped for a valuable 39. Shepley got home by 5 wickets, an excellent game of cricket played in a very good spirit by both teams. Our second team travelled to Marsden & dismissed the home team for 134, Ali Reza 4-37 & Chris James 3-41. The Shepley response was always struggling however until lower order batsman Chris James came in to join captain for the day Rob Denton. When Chris was run out for 35, Tom Greaves came in to join his captain in a partnership for the last wicket. Tom scored an invaluable 8 not out & gave the necessary support to Rob Denton who finished unbeaten for a gritty 35 to see Shepley home by the narrowest of margins.
In conclusion, we end the month in the same prominent positions in the League as at the end of June, but the teams have also progressed to the finals of three cup competitions, v Hall Bower on 4/8 at Shepley in the Earnshaw, v Hoylandswaine at Elland on 11/8 in the Sykes cup & v Broad Oak at their ground on 18/8 in the Paddock Shield.