Heavy rain in the run up to the centenary Final summed up the weather that has pockmarked most of a challenging season. Elland’s groundsmen had their work cut out in preparing a pitch suitable for such a milestone occasion but Hoylandswaine managed to draw deep from their reserves to record their third Sykes Cup final victory. At the centre of their match-winning first innings total was captain Sarjinder Pal Singh, opening the batting for the first time this season and he carefully plotted a patient - he faced nearly half the total balls of the Hoylandswaine innings - contribution that gave licence to some of his more ostentatious teammates to up the ante later on. His opening partner, Iftikhar Naseer (5) succumbed in the tetchy, opening duel to a simply outstanding catch by Delph & Dobcross skipper Alex Peters. The former Greenfield man steadied himself underneath a steepling shot which he did extremely well to hang on to which inspired Delph who managed to take out another destructive element by forcing a slack shot from Chris Holliday (22) sending a simple catch to Rehan Afridi at mid-on.
Singh meanwhile, had survived a couple of half-chances off his edge through the slips earlier and was not in a generous mood as he duly dropped anchor. Former Delph all-rounder Lilley began to show his class by taking the sting out of the Delph pace attack as he and Singh (46) and swiftly put on 76 runs, together making the surface look easy to bat on. Lilley (46) was removed, bowled by an excellent ball from Muhammad Shakir before Singh’s 131-ball watch was finally ended when Xander Selby took a catch from his own bowling. Usman Arshad as afforded the room to start to go after the tiring bowlers as he hit 2 fours and 2 sixes in an entertaining 20-ball cameo to set Delph a 207-7 target. Bowlers Adam Hayes (2-50) and Wasim Qasim (2-46) returned the best figures for Delph.
Hoylandswaine’s three-pronged pace attack was kept reasonably subdued after the restart as Delph searched hard for loose balls to try and keep on top of the rate. For the most part, they succeeded and were ahead on the run rate after 20 overs, with only the loss of Muhammad Shakir (11) to an easy catch from the Hoylandswaine skipper. A shuffle of the pack saw Gurman Randhawa introduced with occasional bowler Christian Jackson in an unusual move, given the balance of play. Jackson (3-31) rewarded his captain by making the crucial breakthrough as Mosun Hussain (14) was tempted with a short delivery that he wastefully lolloped down to Singh at square leg. Randhawa then bowled Peters (21) in the next over which effectively eliminated any chance Delph may have harboured. Aside from a spirited performance from Hayes (25), wickets then fell quickly as they were reduced from 58-1 to 70-5. Umer Yaqoob (17) had some fun down the order but the match withered away with the final wicket falling on 124ao with nine overs left to play. Jackson (3-31) took the man of the match award for his breakthrough and excellent bowling performance.