THIXENDALE are 25 points clear at the top of HPH York Vale Cricket League after seeing off high-flying division one rivals Clifton Alliance.

Alliance gained some consolation the day after though, a commanding run chase helping them to a seven-wicket victory over Burn to be the first team into the HPH Cup final.

Matthew Simms (3-43) was among the wickets again for Clifton (182-3) as runs from Harry Cruise (50), Leigh Adamson (38) and Steve Haig (37) gave Burn a competitive total of 180-9 to defend.

The Clifton top order found their form and, after the foundations were laid by Ali Wray (33), Niall Tilsley (30) and Jason Gatus (31), Mathew Phillips (74 not out) completed the win for the York side.

Thix took first knock in the table-top clash with Simon Walgate (83) holding their innings together against tight bowling from the young Clifton attack, led admirably by Matthew Simms (3-49).

Chasing a target of 208, Alliance's early optimism was dented by the regular loss of wickets as their top order failed to build on starts. They fell well short on 139 all out with Jonty Megginson (4-30) the pick of the home bowlers.

Third-placed Burn (166-5) were made to fight hard to secure the spoils against Ovington (165) whose Alex Dickinson (65no) carried his bat as the home side were dismissed by the bowling of Ashley Abbott (4-41) and Tom Cobley (3-37).

Fifties from Steve Haigh (60) and Ed Clark (50) set Burn on course for victory before the Ovington spinners led by Jacob Lamb (3-9) caused a few flutters in the visitors' camp.

Basement side Yapham (159-4) turned the tables on fellow strugglers Askham Bryan (157-9), ending the latter’s recent upturn in form with a comfortable run chase led by Craig Readhead (46) and Dan Isensten (50).

Kelfield (211-7) dominated an under-strength Melbourne (66) with Jamie Wheeler excelling with both bat (66) and ball (4-11) to record a 145-run victory.

Stockton & Hopgrove (126) took the spoils in a low-scoring game against South Cave & Brantingham (67), whose reply was taken apart by the bowling of Athula Rathanayke (5-13) and Dean Tyler (4-13), with Stockton’s Jamie Kerrison (44) the only bat having a productive day at the crease.

Division two leaders Stamford Bridge (175-7) returned to winning ways with a strong all-round performance against Ben Johnson (71).

A hard-hitting late-order contribution from Lewis Wilson (43) alongside a more circumspect knock from Charlie Wilson (57no) was the foundation of the visitors' innings before Ben Johnson succumbed to the strong Stamford bowling line-up, Fenton Griffiths (3-24), Thomas Holmes (3-5) and Des Healey (3-8) sharing the spoils.

Only Neil Drew (25) reached double figures for the hosts.

Challengers Dunnington (135-5) maintained their good form with a dominant performance against Clifton Alliance (133) whose below-par total was indebted to Mark Taylor (66no). Will Hayes-Smith (3-9) and Ed Millington (3-19) were the pick of the home bowlers before skipper Steve Jackson (59no) steered his side home.

Hemingbrough’s (141) up-and-down form continued with a heavy defeat against bottom side Sessay (142-2) whose teenage debutant Archie Powell was the star of the show.

After snaffling five of the visitors' wickets, Powell (5-41) completed the victory with a mature knock (46no) to secure his side's second league victory of the season.

Despite the heroics of an on-form Ed Hutchinson (3-19 and 82no), fellow strugglers Thorpe Willoughby (166-7) were narrowly defeated on their trip to Pocklington (168-6) whose skipper Steve Wilson (54) led the home side’s successful run chase.

An improving Heslington (167-5) turned the tables on division three leaders Burn (165) with a surprise five-wicket victory led by club stalwart Phil North (63 and 3-17) despite another telling innings from Burn opener Ray Adamson (86).

Thorpe Willoughby had a more productive outing to record a comfortable victory against Pocklington, Jonny Leybourn (4-13) doing the damage for the hosts with the ball as his side assumed top spot in the table.

Stamford Bridge (239) and Ovington (243-7) played out a nail-biter, with the home side squeezing out a win after a gallant run chase from the visitors. Martyn Stevens (92) and Gabriel Uttley (83) top scored for each side with Kareem Baqai (4-38 and 32) putting in a creditable performance for the visitors.

Selby (193-9) recorded a comfortable victory against Bolton Percy (135-8) whose Sam Clews (72no) was the mainstay of his side's unsuccessful reply.

The Press player of the week goes to Sessay’s teenage debutant Powell.