THE title race in the Pilmoor Evening Cricket League first division has been thrown wide open.

Sessay lost for the first time this season while their closest rivals won. As a consequence, their lead at the top of the table has been cut to just one point by Acomb, with Thirsk a further point behind.

Sessay’s first defeat of the season came at Sheriff Hutton Bridge, where their 124-6 proved to be a comfortable target for the hosts.

Sessay lost early wickets to Alex Ibbotson (2-9) and their total was mainly due to 58 from Nick Thorne and 31 from Paul Flintoff. Mark Fisher also took 2-17 to keep Sessay within range before opener Russ Robinson led the Bridge reply with an unbeaten 61. Ian Clish supported with 21 and Joe Gaudie added a brisk 34 as Bridge won comfortably with more than three overs in hand.

Acomb kept up their challenge when their batsmen put them in an impregnable position at struggling Alne by racking up 234-4. Steve Lennox (85), Aidan Burton (52), Rhys Hughes (25) and Matt Dale (36) took a heavy toll of the home attack, but Alne made a spirited reply through Tom Speller’s 73 and 23 from Tom Wilson as they closed on 150-7. Charlie Brookes (3-38) and Harry Littlewood (3-15) had the best returns for Acomb.

Another side to break the 200 barrier was Helperby when they entertained Sheriff Hutton. Atish Chouhan dominated the Sheriff attack in making 136 and, with Joe Kinsella (27) and Dan Marston (24) in support, Helperby closed on 220-5, Matthew Maltby enjoying some reward for his side in returning 2-40.

Chris Gartland (47) and Matthew Prosser (22) showed up well in the visitors’ reply, but Lewis Rees-Hughes took 3-17 and Charlie Grasby 2-25 as Sheriff closed well in arrears on 116-7.

The closest fought first division contest was played out at Thirsk where Newburgh were the visitors. Dan Orchard (56), James Wilkinson (32) and JJ Owen (32) saw them to 165-5 with Tom Banks taking 2-25 and Josh Sargent 2-57.

Newburgh took up the challenge and James Banks made 56 and his brother Tom 56 not out but, needing 16 from the last over, they came tantalisingly close only to close on 161-2.

At the top of the second division, Clifton Alliance and Dringhouses both recorded big wins to stay neck-and-neck at the top of the table.

Clifton’s victory came at the expense of hosts Civil Service. Joe Kilvington made 31, Joe Ashdown 26, Will Scholey 26 not out and Lewis Clark 40 not out as the visitors posted 163-5.

The home batsmen never threatened and they were all out for 50 as Dominic Snook (2-17), Will Moll (2-11) and Zac Loveley (2-18) ensured a comfortable evening.

Dringhouses batted first at Crayke and took a heavy toll of the inexperienced home attack. Sam Lingard made 48, Murray Coyle 50 (ret) and Martin Baguley 51 (ret) as Dringhouses closed on 189-3. Crayke used nine bowlers to try to stem the flow of runs.

When Crayke batted, home skipper Graeme Dawson defied the Dringhouses attack in making 50 (ret) but Lewis Rennison took 3-15 and the young Crayke side closed on 87-7.

Huby moved into the top half of the table when they recorded an eight wicket win at Raskelf. John Wilson’s 42, and 39 from Sam Porter, did most to take Raskelf to 118-6 with Josh Robertshaw (3-31) emerging as the outstanding Huby bowler. Max Lord with 32 and 50 (ret) from Ian Varney confirmed Huby’s victory.

The closest contest in the second division came at Rowntrees and Huntington where the hosts emerged victorious over Easingwold with four balls to spare.

Kyle Waite (37) and Max Cosgrove (35) were the top scorers in Easingwold’s 123-8, P Moss (5-22) and David Ward (3-17) taking all the wickets to fall. Rob Stevens then made 52 (ret) and Richard Shaw 18 as Rowntrees and Huntington paced their reply to perfection to record a last over win.