THE Halifax League Premier Division table has a refreshing look to it after four matches of the truncated season with Triangle (41 pts) closely followed by promoted Blackley (40) and Thornton (39).

A partial explanation of the absence of last year’s top two was that they were battling it out at Broad Fold Park. Booth recovered from last week’s shock defeat to Bradshaw by recording a 33-run victory over Illingworth St Mary’s.

The home team won the toss and posted a very challenging 243-7 with Richard Laycock (68), Matthew Hoyle (62) and Patrick Thomas (49 not out) enjoying the excellent batting conditions.

The St Mary’s reply was always behind the clock due in the main to losing wickets at regular intervals, only Hamza Mehmood (47) caused any problems. In the end, the visitors were bowled out for 210.

At Grassy Bottom, leaders Triangle successfully chased a Mytholmroyd score of 251 all out. The away side should have got more as they left 32 balls unused, but that was not the fault of the lower order, as Saad Hussain hammered 95 runs from 56 balls and, along with James Cowen's 35, their score jumped from 122-8 to 246-9. The early order damage had been inflicted by a fine 12-over spell from Liam Turner (6-53).

The hosts paced their reply to near perfection as Daniel Crosland (73), Kurtis Whippey (63 not out) and Adam Stocks (48) all enjoyed knocks. A winning score target of 252-4 was reached with 23 balls to spare.

Blackley are proving to be the surprise package, thus far, notching their third win of the season at home to Sowerby Bridge Church Institute. It wasn't an easy victory by any means, as chasing the visitors' 179-9, only one ball remained as 180-8 was reached, Wayne Swift (52 not out) was the batsmen that proved the difference.

Previously, the in-form Alex Scholefield (58) was once more in the runs but SBCI may be relying too much on their new signing.

Walton Street is proving to be a batsman’s nightmare currently as another 19 wickets fell for only 187 runs, not that Bradshaw, will complain as the odd wicket remaining at the close was theirs. Sowerby Bridge stumbled to 93 all out, after opting to bat, as four Bradshaw bowlers shared the wickets.

Batting proved just as difficult in the second innings and at 64-8 the odds were on a home win. However, No 7 Robert Fairbairn (25 not out) guided his team home at 94-9 to leave the Bridge in the bottom two.

Copley continued their improvement after a poor start to their campaign and surprised Warley coming away from Paradise Lane with a well constructed seven-wicket win. The home team chose to bat first but simply failed to get any momentum going at the start and at 46-4 the omens did not look good as nearly half the 40-over allocation had been used.

However, Cameron van Rensberg (58) and Chris Marsh (55 not out) got together to add a partnership of 115 runs, before skipper van Rensberg perished off the last ball of the innings going for a big six finish, 161-5.

In complete contrast was the Copley reply as Gavin Whipp (55 not out) and Will Rushton (66) featured in a 103 second-wicket partnership that took the score to within 27 runs of the target. Rishikesh Bhuskute (15 not out) helped Whipp to cross the line at 163-3.

Third-placed Thornton had an easy home 108-run victory over bottom team Shelf Northowram Hedge Top. A couple of half-centuries from Bradley Weatherhead (58 not out) and Ryan Brooksbank (58) were the mainstays of the 231-9 total.

SNHT are struggling at the moment and their fourth attempt to get into gear also suffered an ignition failure. In reply, only No 8 batsman Luke Cole (36 not out) showed any real form and, given an impossible task coming in at 81-7, he at least managed to take the score to 123 all out.

The afternoon’s top score came in the First Division as Clayton hammered 302 all out in 39.4 overs at home to Luddendenfoot. Opener Chris Ramsden (97) was no doubt annoyed when he was caught three short of his century. However, his contribution, together with that from Joseph Brown (41), set up Matthew Roe to crash 51 not out in only 19 balls at the close to lift the score from 231-7 to that all out total.

The Foot could offer little in response as skipper Daniel Barron (40) top-scored whilst three other batsmen settled in but then lost their wickets in the twenties – 168 all out and a Clayton win by 134 runs.

Upper Hopton sit proudly at the top of the table, not only unbeaten, but with a maximum 48 points from its first four fixtures – stalwart Jack Carson no doubt checking the record books to ascertain if that has happened before in their 117-year history.

The latest maximum came at home to Oxenhope, conversely now having lost all of its four matches. Hopton are currently batting deep and the biggest partnership of the day was that for the eighth wicket as Matt Broadbent (58 not out) and Matthew Haigh (43) combined to add 87 runs as their team totalled 241-8 with credit to Anas Tanveer for his 4-46.

Given the visitors record, thus far, the target was mountainous and so it proved. But, Craig Bartlett (50) and skipper Chris Kibble (55 not out) at least had the satisfaction of scoring half-centuries in a total of 147 all out.

Second-placed Low Moor Holy Trinity had much the better of their short trip across the borough boundary to Batley and Mount.