Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale helped Cleckheaton to extend their lead at the top of the JCT 600 Bradford League First Division as second-placed, defending champions Woodlands suffered a surprise 80-run defeat at third from the bottom Bradford & Bingley.
Cleckheaton, who have never won the Division One title, lead the table by 28 points after beating Manningham Mills by 91 runs at Scotchman Road. Gale, making his first appearance of the season for Cleckheaton, struck one six and 11 fours in his innings of 66, sharing a third wicket stand of 104 with skipper John Wood, who made 54 in the leaders’ total of 230 for seven.
Mills were dismissed for 130 with only opener Adal Islam (44) making a telling contribution as spinner Andrew Deegan took four for 38 to ensure maximum 20 points for Cleckheaton.
Gale, who played Bradford League cricket for Spen Victoria and Cleckheaton before becoming a regular player with Yorkshire is still registered with Cleckheaton and makes the occasional appearance when county duties allow.
He has missed some Yorkshire matches recently with a cracked bone in his left hand and his innings for Cleckheaton not only helped his league club, but provided somone batting practice.
Young players, batsman Ryan Cooper and teenage pace bowler Jack Hartley were Bradford & Bingley’s match winners at Wagon Lane. Bingley recovered from 25 for three to reach 179 thanks to Cooper’s innings of 60 as Sarfraz Ahmed took five for 45 and skipper Pieter Swanepoel three for 44.
Some doubted that that would be a winning score, but Hartley removed the first four batsmen, openers Sam Frankland and Scott Richardson, Simon Mason and Farakh Hussain as the visitors slumped to 31 for four and there was no way back after that as they were bowled out for 99 with Hartley finishing with six for 24 in 10 overs.
The win eased Bingley’s fears of relegation as the two clubs below them, Baildon and Saltaire both lost.
Baildon were the latest victims of Morley’s remarkable revival.
Once bottom of the table, Morley have won five matches in a row and they beat Baildon thanks to a match winning innings by overseas all-rounder Kashif Naveed. Baildon posted a challenging 269 for seven with overseas player Vaibhav Naik top scoring with 105, including 14 fours and sharing a third-wicket stand of 177 with Jonny Reynolds.
However, Naveed steered Morley to a four-wicket win with one ball to spare with an undefeated 155, including three sixes and 19 fours.
Baildon now trail Bingley by 21 points and Saltaire’s plight at the bottom of the table is looking precarious after their 173-run thrashing at East Bierley left them ten points adrift at the bottom and 31 points away from safety.
The visitors were virtually batted out of the game by one of their former players Tabbi Bhatti, who made 123, including 20 fours as he shared an opening stand of 206 with Mark Gill (61).
Andrew Rennison then rubbed salt into their wounds by striking seven sixes and three fours in an unbeaten 65 off just 26 balls as Bierley reached an unassailable 333 for four. The visitors were then dismissed for 160 with three wickets each for spinners Luke Jarvis (3-31) skipper Kez Ahmed (3-34).
Third-placed Pudsey St Lawrence beat Priestley Cup finalists Hanging Heaton at home by 38 runs. Skipper Mark Robertshaw top scored with 91, including four sixes and eight fours, supported by James Smith, whose 50 contained four sixes and three fours.
Former St Lawrence batsman Gary Fellows led Hanging Heaton’s challenge with 93 but, apart from Joe Fraser (30), he lacked support as spinners Steve Watts (3-36) and Tom Hudson (3-43) and teenage pace bowler Jordan Thompson (3-51) sealed a 20-point win for the home side.
Lightcliffe, who meet Hanging Heaton in next month’s cup final, went down by five wickets at home to Pudsey Congs. Alex Stead scored 68 and Jonathan Wilson 50 not out with left-arm spinner Glenn Roberts taking four for 30. Congs passed their winning target with eight balls to spare thanks to Callum Geldart (68), Nick Lindley (32) and skipper Gareth Phillips (30 not out).
© Cricket World 2013