Four of the top five clubs won as the most closely fought battle for the JCT 600 Bradford League First Division title for many years shows no sign of abating.
Pudsey St Lawrence lead the table by 11 points after their six wicket win over bottom club Bankfoot, but only 20 points separate the top five teams and it is impossible to anticipate who will be crowned champions when the season ends on Saturday, September 11.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the uneven number of sides means that every club has two free dates and the fact that St Lawrence have no match next Saturday means that the three clubs below them, Bradford & Bingley, Woodlands and East Bierley could all overtake them before the leaders play again.
St Lawrence bowled out already relegated Bankfoot for 112, of which former Pudsey junior Andrew Duckworth made 62 against his old club. Opener Mark Robertshaw with 47 and captain James Smith 30 led St Lawrence to their modest target.
However, the fact that St Lawrence could not gain any batting points from their win enabled East Bierley (20 points), Bingley (19) and Pudsey Congs (18) to make up ground on the leaders with their victories.
Bingley moved into second placed following their 91-run home win over Gomersal, leapfrogging third placed Woodlands, who were without a match while Bierley are only a point behind in fourth place after their 117-run win over relegation threatened Saltaire.
Opener Simon Davies batted through the innings for 88 as Bingley totalled 284 for four while overseas player Naveed Ghany made 53, but the innings that took game away from Gomersal was Chris Thompson’s 70 off 40 balls. Opener Richard Gould led Gomersal’s challenge with 82, but when he was fourth out the innings collapsed and the visitors settled on 191 for nine.
Bierley, without leading scorer Gavin Hamilton, totalled 261 for eight with Andrew Rennison top scoring with 68 well supported by Tom Owens (38), overseas player Muhammad Azharullah 34 and Gharib Razak (31). Wasim Munawar (76) and Farahan Khan (33) showed commendable defiance, but Saltaire were bowled out for 144 with Azarullah taking 3-37 and left arm spinner Luke Jarvis 3-42.
Fifth placed Pudsey Congs maintained their challenge with a 19-run win over another relegation threatened club Yeadon. Congs, who are 20 points behind the leaders, missed a fifth batting points after making 224 for eight with Andrew Bairstow scoring 55 and Mark Gill 45.
Eugene Burzler took 5-53 as Congs restricted Yeadon to 205 for nine in reply with Sri Lankan Tharanga De Silva (67), Andrew Robertson (45) and James Goldthorp (41) their leading scorers. The result leaves Yeadon 29 points adrift of safety.
Overseas player Ammar Mahmood produced an impressive all round performance as Cleckheaton beat Baildon by 28 runs. Mahmood was top scorer with 79 while opener Mark Cummins made 63 as Cleckheaton totalled 213 for five. He then took 3-61 as Baildon were bowled out for 185 while teenage off spinner Edward Walmsley (3-43) also took three wickets. Johnny Reynolds (49) and wicket keeper Shane Gadsdon (38) were Baildon’s top scorers.
Undercliffe beat Farsley at home by four wickets in a low scoring match. Nawaz Sardar took 4-44 as Farsley were dismissed for 84. Richard Elphee then guided Undercliffe to victory with 31 not out.
Already promoted Hanging Heaton made sure of the Second Division championship after a nine wicket win over Hartshead Moor. Nick Bresnan, brother of England and Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan, took 4-33 as Hartshead were bowled out for 120 before Harvey Anderson (58 not out) and Ron McFarlane (46) led Hanging Heaton to victory.
Second placed Lightcliffe beat Keighley by nine wickets. Sadaqat Zaman took 4-28 as Keighley were bowled out for 138 as Imran Patel with 75 made more than half his side’s total. Former Yorkshire batsman Chris Taylor with 69 not out and Jonathan Wilson 39 not out guided Lightcliffe to their target.
Lightcliffe are 13 points ahead of Manningham Mills, who crushed Windhill by 220 runs. Gulsheraz Ahmed made 116, Shelzad Azlam 83 and Zeeshan Qasim 50 as Mills amassed 304 for four. They then bowled out Windhill for 84.
Third placed Bowling Old Lane beat lowly Great Horton by 101 runs. Old Lane recovered from eight for four, but recovered to reach 201 thanks to Tahir Kahan (91) and Mappa Bandarra (48).
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