Hunslet Nelson fell to an eight-wicket defeat against league leaders Carlton as they prepare for their Jack Hampshire Cup semi-final against Birstall next Sunday.
Kershaski John Lewis shone with four wickets and a score of 57 not out to help the Wakefield side preserve their unbeaten record after the hosts were bowled out for 164.
The Beeston side’s fifth league defeat of the season leaves them in sixth place with 120 points but they came away with three bonus points.
After being made to bat first by the visitors, a succession of Hunslet Nelson batsmen quickly got the chance to be reunited with former teammates on the club’s inaugural ex-players’ day.
Tight bowling from John Lewis, whose 15-over spell yielded four top-order wickets, and Kieron Holliday in particular left the home side reeling at 83-7 in the 35th over.
However, a 56-run partnership between captain Will Stiff (40) and No.9 Omar Aziz (37) resurrected the innings and secured two batting bonus points as boundaries, previously hard to come by, began to flow before spinner Spencer Hunt wrapped up the innings on 164.
The home side continued to battle back as Stephen Cooper was out lbw to Patrick Hinchliffe for 6, but this only brought John Lewis to the crease with fellow star batsman Dan White.
The latter edged a Glen Thompson delivery but wicketkeeper Adam McIntosh, standing up to the stumps, couldn’t hold on and it proved to be Hunslet Nelson’s last big chance of seriously worrying Carlton in their chase.
John Lewis and White put up a century partnership and struck half-centuries each before Adam Rose dismissed White for 76 with his first ball to earn Hunslet Nelson a third bonus point.
John Lewis sealed the win for the visitors in style with a huge six – his fifth of the innings – that sailed out of the ground as he moved top of the Bradford Cricket League Championship 2 batting standings.
“The scorecard doesn’t tell the full picture. We did really well to get back in it. They just have two batters who are two of the best in the league,” Will Stiff said after the game.
“There were spells where they looked a little bit ropey and if we’d just nicked a wicket then it could have been completely different.
“We scored enough runs to defend but they just hit the ball cleanly. Another day, it’s nicks-off early doors, you get another couple and they’re under pressure.
“We’re a bit frustrated. We know that we’ve got some good performances in there and we’ve got positives from performances recently – we just need to build on that.
“We’ve struggled to put together a complete performance where we’ve bowled well and batted well and if we can do that then we’ve got a run of fixtures where we could win three or four out of five, if not all, so I’m quietly confident that things will turn around.”