Dramatic Day Sees East Bierley Assume Leadership
East Bierley are the new leaders after another dramatic day of twists and turns in the JCT 600 Bradford League First Division title race.
Two title contenders, Bradford & Bingley and Woodlands suffered surprise defeats as Bierley jumped from fourth to first after thrashing bottom club Bankfoot by 174 runs.
It leaves them three points ahead of the two Pudsey clubs – St Lawrence, who were without a game and Congs, who are now level with their local rivals after beating Farsley.
However, only 14 points separate the top five clubs and Bierley seem certain to lose their lead next Saturday when they have a free date.
The big upset came at Yeadon where the relegation threatened home team beat Bingley by three wickets. Bingley were bowled out for a mere 98 in bowler friendly conditions despite a defiant 29 from skipper Phil Slater, spinner Damon Gormley taking 4-18.
Yeadon also struggled in reply and, after they slipped to 57 for seven with 42 still needed, Bingley must have sensed victory, but Shabhan Raheem (25 not out) and skipper Grant Soames (19 not out) guided them to victory – a result that keeps alive their hopes of avoiding relegation.
Woodlands also suffered a 103-run defeat at Cleckheaton and Bierley took advantage with their runaway victory over already relegated Bankfoot.
Andrew Rennison with 133 and Lee Goddard 107 not out thrashed the Bankfoot attack in a third wicket stand of 237 before Bierley declared at 296 for three after 39 overs. That gave them 11 extra overs, in which to bowl out Bankfoot, but they didn’t need them as the visitors were dismissed for 122 in 37 overs with overseas pace bowler Muhammad Azharullah taking 6-25.
Overses player Ammar Mahmood top scored with 66 as Cleckheaton totalled 189 at home to Woodlands after losing their last five wickets for 27 runs, the league's leading bowler, slow left armer Chris Brice taking 5-65. Woodlands struggled in reply against Cleckheaton's spin attack and slumped to 86 all out with slow left arm bowler Mark Cummins taking 5-20.
Pudsey Congs have been gradually moving up the table and are now in third place after beating Farsley by 115 runs. Eugene Burzler (86) and former Farsley player Gareth Phillips (62) were top scorers as Congs made a formidable 310 for six.
Jamaican batsman Lorenzo Inghram led Farsley’s challenge with 105, but he received insufficient support as they were bowled out for 195 with Burzler completing a fine all-round performance by taking 4-68 while Alex Hewitt took 3-55.
With two of their remaining three matches to play against the bottom clubs, Saltaire and Bankfoot, Congs are in a strong position to win their first title since 2004.
Saltaire’s relegation was confirmed when they were beaten by 77 runs against neighbours Baildon at Roberts Park. Tom Smallwood (52 not out) and captain Ian Philliskirk (50) enabled Baildon to gain maximum points on 225 for seven as home skipper Ijaz Khan took 5-43. Saltaire were restricted to 148 for eight in reply as left arm spinner Mushtaq Ahmed (3-32) and Philliskirk (3-35) each took three wickets.
One time leaders Undercliffe suffered a six wicket defeat at Gomersal. Farak Hussain was top scorer with 53 in the visitors’ total of 215 for seven before in-form opener Richard Gould with 81 supported by Greg Pickles (52) and Phil Carter (37) led the home side to victory.
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