Barnsley continued their dazzling run of form in the Yorkshire Premier League but with just five games to go leaders Dunnington are starting to look uncatchable.
Spearheaded by world No.26 Declan James, Barnsley extended their winning sequence to five thanks to a 16-8 triumph over bottom side Chapel Allerton 2.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the 2014 title winners, who at one stage found themselves 2-1 down on the night thanks to Chapel A 2’s Phil Young beating Chris Emmerson at fourth string and captain Ross Williamson winning brilliantly 15/13 in the fifth against Carlton Oldham.
Luckily the hosts’ Tom Bamford had won a gruelling five-setter at No.5, which meant routine straight-games wins for 20-year-old Oli Harris and star turn James at the top of the order netted Barnsley a 3-2 win.
Meanwhile, up the M1 and across the A64, Dunnington were extending their lead by another four points to 21 by steamrollering lowly Hull and East Riding with barely a bead of sweat expended.
Dependable regulars Julian Tomlinson, Gareth Lumdson and Michael Andrews all won in the blink of an eye. No.5 Ed Shannon, the Devonian who is spending time back in his adopted home in York after living in Holland for several years, thrashed Andy Stott.
Surprisingly only Chris Simpson dropped a game, the world no.45 letting the third slip against former England junior captain Harry Falconer.
The top four positions remain unchanged with second-placed Chapel Allerton 1 winning a ding-dong battle against Abbeydale.
A five-game duel at fifth string went the way of Abbeydale’s Phil Scully, 13-11 in the decider, before Chapel A 1’s Egyptian import Omar El Tahry overcame France’s women’s world No.33 Coline Aumard in four games.
By the time skipper and ex-world No.3 Simon Parke and Welshman Owain Taylor had wrapped up 3-0 wins, the winning five-point bonus was in the bag for the hosts. However, No.1 Mark Fuller’s 3-0 loss to Adam Auckland meant the north Leeds side lost further ground on Dunnington in what’s looking an increasingly forlorn title pursuit.
Pontefract 1 sit just a point behind Chapel A 1 in third after a 4-1 home win over Hallamshire. The sight of former world No.1 and World Championship finalist Lee Beachill at No.5 must have been highly daunting for the visitors from Sheffield.
Beachill made short work of Harry Heathcock (despite being almost twice his age) and there were routine victories further up the order for Lewis Doughty and Taminder Gata Aura. Hallamshire’s No.4 Dan Lawrence bucked the trend with a 3-1 over Ponte’s George Wileman but newly-crowned British U23 Open champion Patrick Rooney beat highly promising youngster Nick Wall 3-1 at top string.
Wednesday night’s other YPL fixture saw Queens end a six-match losing run by defeating Pontefract 2 by a 4-1 scoreline. England national coach David Campion won for only the second time this season but his assistant and team-mate Josh Taylor went down 3-1 to Nick Sutcliffe.
That was Queens’ only defeat of the night though as top two James Earles and Charlie Cowie were victors to lift the Halifax club 16 points clear of the bottom two.