CRAIG Wood played a pivotal role last Saturday as Birstall beat Mirfield Parish Cavaliers by 32 runs to boost their Central Yorkshire League Premier Division survival hopes.
Chasing the home side’s total of 206-6, Parish looked on course for victory at 124-1 in the 32nd over.
Wood then struck to remove Kabir Rashid (29) and end a 117-run partnership with Milan Gunarathne before a collapse saw the final nine wickets fall for 50 runs to leave Parish 174 all out.
Opener Gunarathne fell soon after to Kevin Watson (3-54) for a top score of 82, which included 11 fours and two sixes before Wood tore through the visitors’ innings to claim 6-44 in 14.5 overs and bring Birstall six priceless points.
Earlier Wood (29) shared a second-wicket stand of 69 with Stewart Clifton who anchored the Birstall innings.
Connor Williams made 22 while fellow opner Clifton hit eight fours and three sixes in a patient 76. Clifton and Wood both fell to Gunarathne who finished with impressive figures of 5-43 as Birstall fell from 171-2 to close on 206-6.
Victory leaves Birstall two points adrift of fourth-bottom Northowram, who picked up a bonus point in a seven-run defeat at Wakefield Thornes, and eight clear of Wakefield St Michaels in the second relegation place after they could only take four points in their seven-wicket win at relegated Ossett.
Wrenthorpe stay top of the table after a five-wicket win at third-placed New Farnley and they are seven points clear of Methley who beat visitors Hunslet Nelson by seven wickets.