Norton Woodseats won their 2 opening matches, but defeat at Collegiate C, where Yar Mohammed took 5 for 55, seemed to spur the Graves Park outfit to a new level of performance. Coal Aston were next overwhelmed by 110 runs and Phoenix fell by a massive 201 runs to see Norton reach the top of the Division where they stayed until the end of the season. Roger Bird scored 78 in the Coal Aston match and Aamir Ashfaque was devastating with 5 for 5 in the Phoenix game. He followed this with 5 for 25 as Elsecar B were beaten by 5 wickets. Shoaib Yashin chipped in with 5 for 29 as Wickersley B were disposed off by 88 runs. After the weather halted proceeding for a couple of weeks, Norton received their second defeat by 36 runs at Rotherham Town. Undeterred Ashfaque was on target with 5 for 38 as Mexborough were beaten by 7 wickets and Bird displayed his dexterity with 5 for 17 in a 10 wicket win over Phoenix. The final reverse came at Armroyd Lane before Norton won their last 3 games to take the Championship. Ashfaque took 6 for 49 in the game against Frecheville. Roger Bird hit 502 runs at 45.6 to take the Divisional batting award and Aamir Ashfaque bowled well throughout the season to take 55 wickets at 6.8 runs each for the Divisional bowling prize.
Wickersley B began in good style too with 3 victories to see them lead the table after the first month. Will Asher scored 117 not out against Frecheville and Graham Cooke struck 96 in a 169 run defeat of Phoenix B. Elsecar B came to Northfield Lane to inflict the first defeat, followed by a 32 run reverse at Collegiate C and a home defeat by Norton Woodseats to see Wickersley wallowing in mid table. Paul Melia took 7 for 48 in the Collegiate game and then struck back with 5 for 20 in the win against Bradfield. When July arrived Wickersley had fought back into 2nd position. Shaun Birch chipped in with 5 for 33 when Dodworth were beaten at North Field Lane and Melia claimed 5 for 44 in defeat at Elsecar. Bradfield were beaten by 6 wickets thanks to 121 not out from Cooke and Wickersley were now within sight of a return to Division 1. Kevin Cooper smashed 123 and Cook 109 in a 147 run victory over Thorpe Hesley and although this was followed by defeat at Clifton Lane; a final day win over Mexborough ensured their 2nd place final position and promotion. Kevin Cooper led the batting averages with 508 runs at 42.3 and Graham Cooke’s tally was 632 runs at 39.5. Paul Melia had a great season with the leather taking 51 wickets at 12.8 runs each.
Collegiate C were overwhelmed by 117 runs in their opening match against Bradfield but then went on to win the next 5 games played to hoist their promotion intentions. Andy Simpson hit a blistering 168 not out at Clifton Lane; Riaz Richards 86 as Norton Woodseats were beaten by 22 runs and South African Oscar Nauhaus smashed 135 at Phoenix B to earn him the junior player of the month for June.
Collegiate were now in 2nd place but their challenge faltered with the June rains and they lost both the matches played in the next 7 weeks. Junior Tom Lister showed the way with a sparkling 81 in the next match against Elsecar B. Despite a reverse at Wickersley B, where Nauhaus reached 142, Collegiate’s challenge gained momentum to see them win 7 of the last 8 games played to achieve promotion in 3rd place. Nauhaus hit 86 not out against Phoenix B, 88 at Frecheville and 100 against Mexborough in accumulating a total of 939 runs and win both the Junior and Senior Divisional batting prizes and the League aggregate runs award.
Elsecar B won their opening game in Division 2 thanks to stalwart Mick Bowler who took 5 for 63 and reached 67 not out. The next 2 games were lost however, despite 5 for 39 from Steve Taylor at Phoenix B. Then Richard Kirk smashed 93 as Wickersley B were beaten by 96 runs. Narrow home wins against Coal Aston and Mexborough followed. Defeats by Rotherham Town B and Collegiate C sandwiched a great performance of 8 for 14 from Mick Bowler at Thorpe Hesley, to earn him July player of the month award. August had arrived and Elsecar were in 9th position, just above the relegation places.
The team responded to the challenge and in a thrilling race to the end of the season won all final 6 games to finish in 4th position just 4 points away from promotion! Shaun Pedler took 5 for 45 and Mick Bowler scored 82 in the return win over Wickersley; Steve Taylor did more damage with 6 for 36 as Norton Woodseats were beaten by 2 wickets and Mark Kingston hit a classy 127 not out in the victory at Mexborough. Richard Kirk scored 339 runs and Mick Bowler 337 runs and 32 wickets to earn him the Divisional all rounder award. Shaun Pedler won the Divisional junior bowling award with 26 wickets.
Rotherham Town C opened up their campaign with successive losses at Norton Woodseats and against Collegiate C. Jonathan Allan scored 99 not out and 88 in the 2 games. The first win came at Bradfield by 4 wickets and then against beleaguered Dodworth by 10 wickets. David Mace took 7 for 54 in the Dodworth game. A loss at Thorpe Hesley heralded the end of May but then Town appeared to be making a determined effort for promotion, winning the next 4 matches, and with weather interference, to take them to the end of July in 3rd position. Mace took 5 for 30 and junior Alexander Staveley scored 82 not out as Phoenix were beaten by 162 runs.
The consistency was not maintained however and Rotherham faltered with 4 losses in their final 6 matches to finish in 5th position, 10 points short of promotion. Mace took 5 for 21 in the return win at Dodworth; Allen scored 100 in defeat against Thorpe Hesley and 102 in victory over Wickersley B; Michael McArdle took 7 for 46 in a 10 wicket victory over Phoenix; Nick Brier scored 92 in an 18 run defeat at Elsecar and Jonathan Plater scored 92 in the final day defeat by Coal Aston. Jonathan Allan scored 735 runs at an average of 52.5 and David Mace claimed 44 wickets at 13.9 runs each.
Bradfield easily beat Collegiate C by 117 runs in their opening game spearheaded by 6 for 25 from Andy Heath. Then South African Hennie Swart starred with 119 when Elsecar B came to visit. The 2 victories were quickly followed with 2 losses and then 2 more victories by 9 wickets each. Tom Coulson took 6 for 39 in the win at Dodworth. A loss at Northfield Lane proceeded a 7 week period of inactivity through the inclement conditions which prevailed. When normality was resumed at the end of July, Bradfield went on a winning spree proving victorious in 5 of the next 6 matches, to finish in 6th position Joe Barker hit 112 not out against Mexborough and Tim Pearce took 5 for 21 against Coal Aston. Hennie Swart scored 563 runs at 51.2 to take the batting honours and Andy Heath’s 29 wickets cost him 15.3 runs each.
Coal Aston seem to be transfixed in the middle of Division 2 and have only moved 2 positions in 4 years! From 8th in 2004 and 2005, up to 6th in 2006 and 7th last season. They began brightly with Simon Mintoft hitting 108 not out followed by 90 from Andrew Lockwood as first Mexborough and then Frecheville were beaten. But 3 losses followed before Lockwood blasted 137 not out and Matthew Johnson took 5 for 18 as Phoenix B were humbled by 129 runs. Coal Aston lost the next 2 games before June and the rains came. On the resumption Mexborough and Frecheville were beaten again with Nick Horsfield claiming 5 for 12 in the Mexborough match. The sequences followed until the season closed with 9 wins and 8 losses and mid table security. Andrew Lockwood led the batting with 567 runs at 37.8 and Matthew Johnson took most wickets with 34 at 14.7 runs each.
Mexborough had to wait until their third game before they obtained their first success by 2 wickets over Frecheville, with Scott Hibbett reaching 89. Victories over Bradfield and Dodworth followed but hopes of a quick return to Division 1 were dashed as the next 2 games were lost and the season became a topsy turvey one with Mexborough finishing in 8th place. Hibbett hit 81 in victory over Dodworth and then took 5 for 67 in defeat at Thorpe Hesley. Ryan Tingle took 4 for 23 when Collegiate were beaten. Melvin Caddick hit 93 not out in a disappointing defeat at Dodworth. Rafiq Hussain smashed 80 not out in a 129 defeat over Phoenix B. Scott Hibbett hit 728 runs at an average of 48.5 and Ryan Tingle took most wickets with 34.
Although Thorpe Hesley lost their first game to near neighbours Elsecar B they then won 5 of the next 6 games played to see them challenging strongly for a Promotion position in second place.. Zaf Rashid took 7 for 38 and James Connelly hit 85 as Phoenix were beaten by 129 runs. Mahmood Hussain took 5 for 29 against Rotherham Town. Ed Moss-Ward scored 92 against Mexborough. The rain intervened for 3 weeks but on resumpition the inexplicable happened as the season’s promise crumbled. Thorpe won 2 and lost 7 in the second half of the season to send them tumbling down the table and narrowly avoid relegation. Connelly scored 100 in defeat at Bradfield, 111 in victory against Frecheville and 106 not out at Clifton Lane in back to back games. James Connelly scored most runs, 650 at 43.3; Mahmood Hussain took 22 wickets.
Frecheville’s 3 year stay in Division 2 came to an end in a season which saw the Silkstone Road outfit struggle from the outset. The first 3 games were lost with Martin Froggatt’s 88 at Wickersley B being one of a few bright spots. Dodworth were beaten in the next match but with losses increasing and wins a rarity, Frecheville spent the rest of the season occupying the 11th position, until a final day victory over Phoenix B moved them up to 10th position but still with relegation. Steve Hollingsworth reached 80 in defeat at Thorpe Hesley and Robert Smith scored 78 in the final day win over Phoenix B. Steve Hollingsworth finished with most runs at 477 and Dane Heald took 22 wickets.
Rotherham Phoenix B won 2 of their first 3 games, with David Judge taking 5 for 25 in the opening day win over Dodworth. Tom Arnold recorded 5 for 68 at Thorpe Hesley; Chris Bramall also bowled well with 5 for 58 in victory over Elsecar B and 5 for 57 at Wickersley B. Steve Ratcliffe joined in with 122 not out in the Elsecar match. The Wickersley match started a 5 match losing sequence and Phoenix knew they were in a fight to avoid relegation. The defeats were also becoming heavier, with 4 of the 5 by above 125 runs. At last the sequence was broken with the commencement of the second half of the season, Tom Arnold turning in a superb piece of bowling taking 7 for 5 as Dodworth were defeated for the second time. In an exciting climax in the next match Thorpe Hesley were beaten by just 6 runs. This turned out to be the last win of the season as Phoenix recorded losses in all of the last 6 to be played. John Kerry scored 81 not out against Coal Aston and was the main run scorer with 366 to his credit. Tom Arnold took most wickets with 24.
Dodworth’s season proved disastrous even before it began. They pulled out their second team from the League at the last minute and were unable to play a home match until May was almost over, missing 2 off the first 3 weeks as a consequence. They remained rock bottom throughout the season winning just 2 matches; failed to turn up for one match and deducted 10 points as a result and were unable to turn out a full side on other occasions. Junior Ben McLee starred with 106 not out at Norton Woodseats and 102 at Wickersley B, Lee White took 5 for 39 against Phoenix and 6 for 41 against Mexborough. McLee scored most runs with 275 and White most wickets with 25. Because of the problems Dodworth will not be competing in the South Yorkshire League next season.