ANDY Holden hit top form against his old team, scooping a magnificent seven wickets as Forge Valley beat hosts Cayton by 75 runs to give the victors hope in their battle against relegation.
The Ayton club are still bottom of the Beckett League premier division table, but they are now within striking distance of rivals Staithes, Flixton 2nds and Filey, and possibly even Seamer and Flamborough, as the scene looks set for a close battle to avoid the drop.
After Simon Dobson scored 32 for the East Ayton team, Dave Morris, 57 not out, and Will Tindall, 55 not out, shared an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 104 to steer the visitors to 163-3 at the break.
Paul Woodhead was the pick of the home bowlers with 3-76.
In reply the home team were skittled for just 88 in the face of Holden’s superb spell of 7-31, with James Tindall’s 3-56, offering fine support.
Staxton’s march towards the title continued after their seven-wicket success at Seamer.
Joe Danby struck 58 and Phil Metcalfe 30 to guide the hosts to 174 all out, Andrew Holtby, 3-36, and Adam Hargreaves, 4-32, the top Staxton bowlers.
After the break Chris Dove hit an unbeaten 94 for the leaders, and with Dave Williamson also unbeaten on 36, the win was comfortably secured. Chris Clifford, who turned 70 last Thursday, taking 2-72 for Seamer.
Ebberston kept their slim hopes of catching Staxton alive with a four-wicket win at Flixton 2nds.
The hosts only made it to 150-9 after their 45 overs, mainly due to the excellent bowling of Aussie all-rounder Dylan Bolton, who snapped up 7-52.
Ryan Baldry and Geoff Hill hit 24 each for Flixton.
Bolton capped an outstanding display of cricket with a knock of 54, Tom Brickman also scoring 34 as the visitors won by four wickets, Pete Hill taking 3-35 for the hosts.
Filey were dismissed for 147 in their game at Flamborough.
Paul Kempson, 29, and Andy Burrell, 25, were the only visiting batsman to get going against top bowling from Simon Leeson, 5-35 from nine overs, while Mark Davies and Martin Holmes took two each.
Leeson capped a match-winning show, remaining unbeaten on 92, and, with Mark Purvis, also unbeaten with 40, the pair adding 128 for the second wicket to knock off the runs without further loss.
Only two other matches were played in the other three divisions.
In division A, Sherburn gained their third victory of the season by beating title-chasing Kirkbymoorside to help ease the hosts’ relegation fears.
The home side’s 146 all out was held together by a fine 66 from Craig Sanderson as Sean Walker claimed 5-31 for Kirkby.
After the break the Moorsiders struggled against Chris Crawford, who has recently joined from Hunmanby, as he secured 4-11 to send the visitors back to the pavilion for 76.
In the only division B match to be played, Grindale put hosts Staxton 2nds into bat,
Tom Nicholson hit an excellent unbeaten 82 from 143 balls faced and with Ryan Hargreaves adding 23 the home team posted 165-8, Jamie Knaggs claiming 3-28.
After tea, Grindale’s opener Ian Cousins scored 42, and Jamie Watson 41, the pair adding 79 for the second wicket before Andy Smith hit a forceful unbeaten 45 from 40 balls to take the visitors to the edge of victory.
A snicked single by Liam Cousins from the third ball of the last available over completed their three-wicket victory, Kyle Outhart bowled well, claiming 3-25 in his 12 overs.