DEFENDING champions York are threatening a late charge to retain the Hunters ECB Yorkshire Premier League North title.

Defeats for the top two that mean that York, who were 21 points adrift of top spot three weeks ago, will go into next week’s match against leaders Sheriff Hutton Bridge knowing victory will put them in pole position to claim a hat-trick of titles.

Castleford went into the their match against Sheriff Hutton Bridge at Savile Park as underdogs and found themselves at 48-4.

A fight back led by Umair Khan (72no) and Andrew Bourke (35) added 53 for the fifth wicket and an unbeaten stand of 68 between Khan and Jack Young (26no) saw them post 178-6, visiting keeper Ben Gill with four catches.

Matthew Rees (4-26) took four of the first five wickets in the visitors' reply and skipper Adam Fisher added to his side's woes, becoming the first batsman in the competition to be given out for obstructing the field.

The visitors were unable to recover and, despite the efforts of Mark Fisher (35), they succumbed to a 38-run defeat, Eddie Morrison finishing with 3-49.

Yorkshire Academy maintained their record of never having lost a league game at Sandhill Lane, condemning Woodhouse Grange to a second defeat in three weeks.

A half-century from opener Finlay Bean (50) dominated the opening exchanges before four wickets each from Josh Jackson (4-35) and Tom Neal (4-48) saw the visitors bowled out for 167.

Three early wickets from seamer Harrison Quarmby (3-15) helped reduce the home side to 24-5 and then spinner Harry Sullivan (4-31) helped bowl Grange out for 100, Chris Bilton top-scoring with 41.

York closed to within two points of the leaders with an 18-run victory at home to neighbours Clifton Alliance.

A strong performance from the hosts’ top four included a partnership of 76 between openers Duncan Snell (48) and Ben Robinson (30) and a further stand of 95 between James Billington (65) and Chris Booth (45).

Australian Billington passed 40 for the sixth time in seven innings before he became one of four wickets for Andrew Simpson (4-13).

Chasing 225 for victory Greg Drewery (30) and David Taylor (31) made a bright start but it was Simpson (63) who looked most likely to engineer a win for the visitors, Clarke Doughney (2-50) picked up the key wicket and three from fellow spinner Ben Robinson (3-39) kept the pressure on. A final total of 206-8 earned the visitors four points.

Stamford Bridge stayed fourth but lost ground on the top sides after the St George’s Road outfield was unfit and the game against Harrogate was cancelled Harrogate.

The game between Dunnington and Scarborough at Common Lane went down to the wire, Linden Gray (5-30) and Ben Elvidge (4-46) sharing nine wickets as the east coast side dismissed the hosts with eight runs to spare.

Earlier in the day Yorkshire’s Matthew Pillans (56) rescued the visitors from 86-7 with a half-century that enabled them to reach 164, former Yorkshire seamer Moin Ashraf finishing with 4-24 and Jonathan Anderson 3-66.

In reply seven Dunnington batsmen got to double figures but no one could better Chris Pereath’s 25, but they were still in with a chance during a 35-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Harry Griffiths and Dave Brent.

There was a dramatic finish in the bottom of the table clash at Oval View where Sessay were beaten by visiting Beverley Town.

The match got off to a delayed start and was reduced to a 30 overs a side, and having been put in to bat the visitors fought to reach 116-8.

Robert Fish was the top scorer with 23 before he was run out by Navin Kavikara (3-26), the Sri Lankan also picking up three wickets with the ball.

Skipper Matthew Till made 22 for the home side in the early stages of their reply and it looked as though Mark Jackson (34) would see them home but when he was out 17 were still needed off 19 balls.

Town’s skipper Andrew Burton conceded just three from the penultimate over and Greg Whyley five from the last to secure a memorable win.

It meant the visitors complete the double over their hosts but both sides still have it all to do if they are to avoid relegation.