Woodlands strengthened their position at the top of the JCT 600 Bradford League First Division with a 79-run win at relegation threatened Baildon while Cleckheaton’s title challenge faltered. By David Markham.
They increased their lead to 33 points over Cleckheaton, whose eight match winning run came to an end with an 86-run home defeat against Bradford & Bingley.
In a match reduced to 40 overs because of rain, Woodlands made 190-8 thanks to an 81-run ninth wicket partnership between overseas player Sarfraz Ahmed (45) and wicket keeper Usman Salim (37 not out). They came together with Woodlands in trouble at 98-7 as left arm spinner Mushtaq Ahmed took 3-14 in ten accurate overs, but their valuable stand took the game away from Baildon, who were bowled out for 111.
Only all-rounder Richard Atkins showed much resistance as he dominated Baildon’s innings with a defiant 64. Opening bowlers Sarfraz with 4-11 in nine overs and skipper Pieter Swanepoel 4-34 in nine did the damage while left arm spinner Chris Brice took 2-33. This defeat leaves next to the bottom Baildon 44 points adrift of safety.
Bingley lost early wickets after being into bat at Cleckheaton in a match reduced to 45 overs and were in trouble at 46-4. They were rescued in a fifth wicket stand of 66 between top scorer Chris Thompson (51) and overseas player Naveed Ghany (39) while acting captain Matthew Duce made a useful 24 to enable Bingley to reach 197-8, pacemen Iain Wardlaw and James Lee each taking three wickets.
Cleckheaton lost wickets regularly and were bowled out for 111 in 23.5 overs with Thompson taking 3-17 and Scott Etherington 3-12 while wicket keeper Duce claimed four victims.
There was an exciting finish at Undercliffe where the home side tied with defending champions Pudsey Congs in a match reduced to 39 overs, leaving Undercliffe with 12 points and Congs 11.
Congs totalled 180-9 with Adam Patel top scoring with 47 while Ed Walmsley (32) and overseas player Mohammed Naved (30) shared a valuable ninth wicket stand of 57 after Congs had slid to 109-8. Ashley Metcalfe was Undercliffe’s most successful bowler with 4-38. Undercliffe replied with 180-6 with skipper Ben Heritage (44) and Nawaz Sardar (41) sharing a valuable fourth wicket stand of 58.
There was another close finish at East Bierley where the home side beat Hanging Heaton by a mere nine runs. Bierley reached 206-7 in a match reduced to 37 overs with opener Gavin Hamilton top scoring with 88 and sharing a third wicket stand of 93 with Andrew Rennison (36) while visiting paceman John Carruthers took 4-39.
Hanging Heaton made a strong effort to reach their target through James Stansfield (40), Joe Fraser (35) and Nick Bresnan (34), but Bierley managed to restrict them to 197-8 with spinner Luke Jarvis taking 4-53.
Farsley were the day’s top scorers as they earned 20 points from their 57-run win at Pudsey St Lawrence. Consistent batting enabled Farsley to reach 256-7 in 46 overs with opener Steve Simpson making 49, Barry Frankland 42 not out and Joe Greaves 38.
A second wicket stand of 107 between opener Mark Robertshaw (83) and David Hester (44) put St Lawrence on course, but after Hester was second out at 131 wickets tumbled and they were all out for 199 with Ryan Lumb taking 4-57.
Bottom club Gomersal are 61 points adrift of safety after their 119-run defeat at Manningham Mills. In a match reduced to 42 overs, Mills totalled a commanding 245-7 with Gulsheraz Ahmed making 104 not out. Gomersal were bowled out for 126 with Iqbal Khan taking 4-40 and Zeeshan Qasim 3-9.
© Cricket World 2011