Cleckheaton are within touching distance of their first JCT 600 Bradford League First Division title after Yorkshire pace bowler Iain Wardlaw produced a fine all-round performance to help them beat relegated Saltaire at home by 168 runs.
This 15th win of the season leaves them 17 points clear of second placed Pudsey St Lawrence needing four points from their final match at defending champions Woodlands to make sure of the championship.
Wardlaw made 63 not out to help Cleckheaton post a formidable 283 for eight and then took four for 20, supported by spinner Andrew Deegan with three for 35 as Saltaire were bowled out for 115. Mally Nicholson was top scorer with 89 while Richard Whitehurst made 56 and opener Tim Jackson 38 to leave Jackson needing 49 from the last match to reach 1,000 runs for the season.
Second-placed Pudsey St Lawrence maintained their title challenge while ending Woodlands faint hopes of their third successive championship by beating them by 44 runs at Tofts Road.
Openers Mark Robertshaw with 33 and Adam Waite 26 gave St Lawrence a solid start with a first-wicket stand of 56. Four wickets then fell for 18 runs before a fifth-wicket stand of 114 between Chris Marsden with 84 not out and James Smith (69) enabled them to gain maximum batting points on 241 for six. Marsden struck three sixes, Smith three sixes and both hit nine fours.
Not for the first time this season, Woodlands early batting stumbled as they slipped to 89 for six before wicket keeper Umar Salim, with 49 not out, and Sarfraz Ahmed, with 31, enabled them to reach 197 for nine and deny St Lawrence a fifth bowling point.
Fourth placed Pudsey Congs made a the day’s highest score – 310 for six – as they beat Morley by 159 runs.
Opener Callum Geldart top scored with 101, including three sixes and 12 fours and was joined in an opening stand of 150 by Nick Lindley with 70.
Skipper Matthew Baxter made 52 and Sam Medley 30, but received little support as Morley were bowled out for 151 with off spinner Eddie Walmsley taking four for 56.
Hanging Heaton opener Gary Fellows made the day’s highest individual score as his side bounced back from their Priestley Cup final defeat with a 96-run home win over East Bierley. The former Yorkshire all-rounder scored 132, including two sixes and 22 fours, taking his tally in league matches to 979 as Hanging Heaton reached 258 for nine.
Bierley were bowled out for 162 with Gavin Hamilton top scorer with 40 as David Stiff took four for 40.
Relegated Baildon gained a surprise 102-run win over neighbours Bradford & Bingley.
Solid batting from Jonny Reynolds (48), Vaibhav Naik (47) and Simon Webb (44) enabled them to reach 206 for eight with Jack Hartley taking four for 49. Bingley, who had beaten leaders Cleckheaton the week before, then showed the inconsistency that has plagued their season by slumping to 102 all out with Sohail Raz taking five for 59 and skipper Craig Hitchenor three for 40.
Overseas player Suleman Khan played a leading all-round role as Priestley Cup winners Lightcliffe beat Manningham Mills by six wickets. Khan took four for 63 with his left arm spin as Mills made 212 for seven, Zarak Khan, their top scorer with 89. He then scored 88 as he and Alex Stead 66 guided Lightcliffe to victory.
© Cricket World 2013