Promoted Saltaire’s 111-run win over one time champions Pudsey Congs was a stand-out result as the JCT 600 Bradford League finally got underway after the first two rounds of league matches were postponed because of the weather.
New overseas player, pace bowler Nawaz Sardar, who joined them from First Division rivals Undercliffe, took four for nine in 12 overs as Congs were bowled out for a mere 96 in reply to Saltaire’s total of 207 for four while skipper Ijaz Khan took three for 34.
Irfan Amjad was Saltaire’s top scorer with 58 while Fahid Rehman, who scored 1,000 runs last season made 46 not out and new signing Tabbi Bhatti, returning to the club from relegated neighbours Baildon, scored 36.
The victory earned Saltaire 19 points and they are the early pacesetters along with defending champions Woodlands, who also gained 19 points by beating Hanging Heaton by 37 runs.
At one stage, Woodlands were struggling at 16 for three, but recovered to gain maximum five batting points with the day’s highest score, 232 for eight. Simon Mason top scored with 58 while Grant Soames made 41 and Chris Brice 39 while long serving overseas player, Sarfraz Ahmed smashed four sixes in his 33 late in the innings. Pieter Swanepoel then took five for 43 as Woodlands restricted Hanging Heaton to 196 for nine. Joe Frazer with 49 and former Yorkshire wicketkeeper Ismail Dawood – back at the club after a spell with East Bierley – with 44 were Hanging Heaton’s top scorers, but they could not keep up with the required run rate.
Last season’s runners-up Farsley made a bad start, surprisingly being bowled out for a mere 54 against Undercliffe with opening bowler Mubtada Akhtar taking seven for 24 on his debut. Yorkshire second team batsman Callum Geldart then hastened his team to a nine wicket win with 46 not out.
Bradford & Bingley also had a comfortable win at East Bierley, bowling out the home side for 76 to set an eight wicket victory with Chris Thompson taking four for 30, skipper Phil Slater three for three and new overseas player Sandeep Ravishanker from India three for 16. New signing, Alex Atkinson, a Cumberland team-mate of Thompson in the Minor Counties competition, steered his team to their modest target after they had lost two wickets for 12 runs.
New overseas player Ali Norman took four for 36 in Manningham Mills’ ten-run win over promoted Lightcliffe. He was well supported by Iqbal Khan, who took three for 24 as Lightcliffe finished on 179 for nine in reply to Mills’ total of 189 for eight.
Alex Stead with 69 and Yorkshire second team batsman Charlie Roebuck 39 led Lightcliffe’s revival after a poor start, but they finished short of their target. Earlier, opener Farakh Hussain top scored with 66 and Iqbal Khan made 36 not out, including four sixes for Mills while Lightcliffe’s overseas player Suleman Khan took five for 30.
Pudsey St Lawrence made a winning start, beating Cleckheaton at home by 47 runs. David Hester with 65 and opener Adam Waite 62 dominated St Lawrence’s innings of 177 for nine. Off spinner Steve Watts then took four for 37 and debut making bowlers Andrew Pollock with three for 38 and Oliver Ashford three for 19 as the visitors were bowled out for 130.
New signing Richard Whitehurst, the former Gomersal captain top scored with 58, but his efforts were in vain.
By David Markham
© Cricket World 2012