Drama As Woodlands Retain League Title

Drama As Woodlands Retain League Title
Drama As Woodlands Retain League Title
©Cricket World

Woodlands retained the JCT 600 Bradford League First Division championship in dramatic circumstances.

Four clubs were in with a chance of winning the championship going into the final day of the season and Lightcliffe were set win their first Division One title after gaining maximum 20 points by beating bottom club Undercliffe by 119 as Bradford & Bingley needed only five runs to beat Woodlands with four wickets left.

Then, slow left arm bowler Chris Brice broke a 50-run seventh wicket stand by dismissing wicketkeeper Matthew Duce for 58 and off spinner Grant Soames then took the last three Bingley wickets for no runs as the visitors were dismissed for 149, losing by four runs.

Woodlands, who lost their first five wickets for 34, were rescued by 21-year-old Liam Brearley with 52 no out, supported by Chris Brice 37 and Tim Orrell 25 as the defending champions reached 153-7. Soames, who mopped up the Bingley tail, finished with 3-12 while skipper Pieter Swanepoel, who made the early breakthrough, took 5-40.

Lightcliffe gained an easy win against Undercliffe, batting them out of the match by making 256-3. Former Yorkshire and Derbyshire batsman Chris Taylor top scored with 87 while Alex Stead made 86 and Yorkshire second batsman Alex Lees scored 46. Off spinner Josh Wheatley then took 6-44 as Undercliffe were bowled out for 137.

East Bierley, who led the table briefly after beating Pudsey St Lawrence by eight wickets, finished third. Off spinner Kez Ahmed took 5-18 as St Lawrence were bowled out for 110. Skipper Gavin Hamilton then scored 77 as Bierley cruised to victory.

Cleckheaton, who began the day with a chance of the title, but their hopes of a first championship were dashed when they lost by three wickets to Pudsey Congs. Ian Nicholson with 48 and captain John Wood 37 were top scorers as Cleckheaton reached 210-7,  but it was felt that this was not enough to win and Congs eased to victory with in-form opener Nick Lindley (79) and Andrew Bairstow (53) leading the way.

Hanging Heaton, who have had a bad run recently, secured their First Division future with a seven wicket win over Saltaire thanks to a superb opening stand of 198 by Rob McFarlane  with 102 and skipper Mark Lawson 93. Saltaire totalled 223-8 with Nawaz Sardar 62 not out, Waleed Akhtar 57 and Fahid Rehman (39) their top scorers, but it was not enough for Hanging Heaton.

Last season’s runners-up Farsley were relegated after losing by four wickets at Manningham Mills. Adam Patel top scored with 43 as Mills completed their season with a win.

Baildon were confirmed as Second Division champions after Morley beat promotion rivals Yeadon by six wickets. Baildon had made sure of promotion by winning their last match the week before, but Yeadon went into their last match knowing that if they beat Morley they would win promotion – and, if they took 16 points from their win they would pip Baildon for the title.

As it was, Yeadon were bowled out for only 127 with spinners Kashif Naveed, their overseas player taking 3-31 and Dave Nebard 3-40. Morley were struggling at 36-4 in reply before skipper Matthew Baxter guided them to victory – and promotion - with an unbeaten 59 leaving Yeadon missing out in third place.

Brighouse and Idle have been re-elected to the league after finishing in the bottom two in Division Two.

David Markham

© Cricket World 2012

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