Leaders Cleckheaton suffered a surprise 91-run defeat at Bradford & Bingley to open up the JCT 600 Bradford League First Division title race going into the last two matches of the season.
Cleckheaton, who were shot out for a mere 69 at Wagon Lane, saw their lead cut to 16 points after second placed Pudsey Lawrence gained an easy 10-wicket win down the Aire Valley at bottom club Saltaire while defending champions Woodlands are not totally out of the picture after their five-wicket home win over Hanging Heaton, which leaves them 23 points behind the leaders. Saltaire’s defeat condemns them to relegation.
Bingley made 160 in 48.5 overs with wicket keeper Charlie Best, recently promoted to open the innings, top scorer with 47 as James Lee took four for 38 and Iain Wardlaw three for 35. Cleckheaton were soon in trouble against Bingley’s opening bowlers Matthew Simpson and teenager Jack Hartley, losing both openers, skipper John Wood and Tim Jackson at 15 before slumping to 36 for six and then losing their last four wickets for 11 runs. Simpson took five for 36 and Hartley four for 26.
Despite this defeat, Cleckheaton remain favourites to win the title for the first time for, they will be expected to beat Saltaire at home next Saturday while second plays plays third when St Lawrence meet Woodlands at home.
St Lawrence bowled out Saltaire for 96 in 43 overs with teenager Jordan Thompson taking three for 13 before racing to victory in 20.1 overs. Skipper Mark Robertshaw scored 53 and reached his 1,000th league run in the process while Adam Waite made 37 to leave Saltaire pointless.
After two successive defeats left them all but out of the title race, Woodlands returned to form with a five-wicket home win over Hanging Heaton. Sarfraz Ahmed took three for 47 and Sam Frankland three for 24 as they bowled out the visitors for 144 – Gary Fellows with 40 and Mark Lawson 36 were top scorers.
There were no problems for Woodlands in chasing their target which they achieved in 26.2 overs thanks to openers Frankland – completing a fine all round performance with 38 - and Scott Richardson hitting 33.
Baildon will be joining their neighbours Saltaire in Division Two next season 12 months after winning the Second Division championship following their 10-wicket defeat at East Bierley. Richard Atkins, playing against his old club, took four for 22 and overseas pace bowler Waqas Maqsood four for 31 as the visitors were bowled out for 85. Tabbi Bhatti, also playing against his old club made 43 and Liam Walsh 37 as Bierley coasted to their target.
Andrew Bairstow scored 58 as Pudsey Congs were bowled out for 139 against Manningham MIlls, who had made 46 for two in reply when the match was abandoned. There was no play in the match between Lightcliffe and Morley because of rain.
© Cricket World 2013