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It's shaping up nicely in title race

It's shaping up nicely in title race

After the double-weekend, the Premier Division table seems to be taking shape with the familiar trio of New Farnley (125pts), Woodlands (120pts), Pudsey St Lawrence (113pts) and Townville (113pts) setting the pace, and Methley slipping back to sixth.

Ironically, Ossett were leading the table on Saturday night after their win in the high scoring game with Hanging Heaton in which Nick Connolly scored 111 against his old team. However, they were put to the sword the next day by a clinical New Farnley performance and have slipped four places overnight.

The relegation places have an uncharacteristic look about them with Cleckheaton and Hanging Heaton both on 49 points above bottom side Batley (34pts).

New Farnley had two cracking victories with Lee Goddard scoring 49 against Bankfoot, and Mark Lawson taking 5-23 against Ossett. The overnight leaders Ossett were dismissed for a paltry 72 at the Barry Jackson Ground on Sunday.

Woodlands survived a scare at Batley, despite only chasing 102 after Muhammad Bilal had done his stuff with the ball with 6-35. They were more convincing on the following day, beating Methley by six-wickets with Tim Jackson scoring 50, and Tom Clee an unbeaten 50.

Townville also enjoyed two wins and Conor Harvey was at the heart of the matters again. He took 6-50 against Cleckheaton, including a hat-trick, and followed up with 4-45 versus Batley. Abdul Wahid and Harry Clewett showed good form with the bat for Townville.

Pudsey St Lawrence’s quest to give their youngsters a chance has not inhibited their competitiveness as they join Townville on 113 points.

One of the youngsters, Archie Scott took 6-35 to down Methley, while the two Charlies helped to beat Bankfoot by six wickets. Charlie Best had an undefeated innings of 106, while Charlie Parker took 6-31. Mark Robertshaw was also in the picture with a cultured 79.

Methley’s early leadership of the division seems to be a distant dream as they suffered two damaging defeats at the weekend. The only bright spots were Alex Cree’s disciplined 58 against Pudsey St Lawrence, and Jordan Laban’s fighting innings of 62 at his old club Woodlands.

Farsley are still involved in high scoring matches, losing to Bradford & Bingley, but defeating Hanging Heaton after scoring 307-7.

Ryan Cooper had a weekend to remember with 93 against Bradford & Bingley, and 52 versus Hanging Heaton. Other achievers were Dan Revis with 70, and skipper Matthew Lumb with a bowling return of

Bradford & Bingley had a mixed weekend - beating Farsley, and then losing to bottom club Cleckheaton.

Australian Corey Miller continues to impress with 120 against Farsley who they defeated, and 54 in their defeat against Cleckheaton. Skipper Ed Brown made a valiant attempt to chase the runs against the latter, finishing with a rousing 82.

Bankfoot had a difficult weekend losing to New Farnley and Pudsey St Lawrence, while Hanging Heaton are still in the relegation mire despite a monumental effort chasing Ossett’s 260-5. Adam Patel (84) and Callum Geldart (66) very nearly got them over the line.

It was a different story the next day when they were defeated by 141 runs at home to Farsley. The only bright spark was Tom Lindsay who hit an exhilarating 81 which contained five sixes.

Cleckheaton must have been mightily relieved to get their first win of the season last Sunday when they defeated a good Bradford & Bingley side by 36 runs. This was largely down to overseas batsman Yousaf Baber who came good with an undefeated 147. However, it still would not have happened without the five wickets taken by Iain Wardlaw.

The previous day Cleck were giving Townville a good run for their money before a batting collapse negated their chances. However, they might have unearthed a rare diamond in young Hashim Wajid who took an impressive 4-44 against their high-flying opponents.

Batley made Woodlands fight very hard for their victory when they reduced them to 72-7 However, the title challengers prevailed in a game that Batley’s all-rounder Yasir Ali fought all the way with a bowling return of 3-26, and a crucial 36 not out in a low scoring game.

The next day they battled hard again, but Townville were too good for them.

Best Performers So Far

Nick Connolly (Ossett) 478 runs
Yasir Abbas (Bradford & Bingley) 22 wickets

A couple of weeks ago the Methley v Townville clash would have been the match of the day, but the former’s bad patch has probably changed that.

Maybe the local derby between New Farnley and Pudsey St Lawrence at the Barry Jackson ground has taken that mantle. St Lawrence were not expected to challenge for the title this season, but on current form could give the leaders a lot to think about.

Another crucial match at the other end of the table is between Cleckheaton and Hanging Heaton at Moorend. In an extremely competitive division, these sides, who are packed with quality, are involved in an unlikely relegation battle.

Ossett won’t find it easy against a Farsley side capable of big totals, but still striving for consistency.

Woodlands travel up the road for a local derby against Bankfoot at Wickets Close. The home side are in the bottom four and could easily get sucked into a relegation scrap. But, they have remained competitive for most of the time, and are capable of giving Woodlands an uncomfortable day.

Batley, who are stranded at the bottom by 15 points, need to start picking up a few wins. It won’t be easy against a Bradford & Bingley side that can compile big scores.

Premier Division: Ossett v Farsley, Cleckheaton v Hanging Heaton, Batley v Bradford & Bingley, Methley v Townville, Bankfoot v Woodlands, New Farnley v Pudsey St Lawrence.

Division One

After Jer Lane conquered Undercliffe last week they are even more emphatic leaders with one of their main rivals losing more ground.

Undercliffe’s score of 236 all-out was less than par against a team of Jer Lane’s batting calibre, despite good knocks from Danish Hussain (53), Oliver Hardaker (56) and the unsung Nick Smith (61).

Having got Farakh Hussain out second ball, and none of the first three reaching double figures, Undercliffe must have thought they were favourites, especially when they later had them in some distress at 147-7.

But, Jer Lane  have been there before and Deron Greaves scored 78 and Quadratullah Azizi was unbeaten on 76 in just 32 balls to sweep their side to victory again. Former Brighouse all-rounder Azizi earlier curtailed Undercliffe’s innings with a fine return of 5-63.

It was a stern test from Undercliffe, but one Jer passed with flying colours to keep up their maximum points campaign.

The top three now reads Jer Lane (120pts), Carlton (105pts) and Birstall (100pts)as Undercliffe slip back to fifth.

The good teams have good recovery powers and third place Carlton proved that was the case with them again.

They were 33-4 against Gomersal, but Daniel Ford (61) and Farrukh Alam (75) helped to revive the score to a final 256 all-out. Gomersal were never in the hunt, falling for 106 all-out with seamer Jonathan Rudge picking up 6-29.

Baildon’s recent good form was brought to a shuddering halt when Birstall beat them decisively last week by six-wickets.

Form batter Kevin McDermott tried to give Baildon a substantial score with an innings of 43, but 189 was never going to be enough against an improving Birstall side.

Matthew Dyson top scored with 81 not out after Jaymish Patel (6-56) had restricted the Baildon score.

The next day Birstall won their re-arranged match against Morley by five wickets to move up into third place.

Pudsey Congs have crept up into promotion contention after a regulation six-wicket win over Morley. Overseas man Yohan Mendis steered the Congs to their target with a cultured 65 not out.

Sam Wasniewski was the bowler that befuddled Morley the most. For the losers, Matt Baxter was the one that stood up to be counted with 66.

East Bierley’s thrilling one-wicket win over Keighley was undoubtedly influenced by spin bowler Dan Cross who took 7-40.

The much-anticipated debut of Bierley’s Pakistani overseas player Nisar Ahmad was something of an anti-climax, but nevertheless, his contribution of 30 with the bat, and 3-63 with the ball turned out to be crucial.

East Ardsley were desperate for a win, and they got one last week in their eight-wicket win over bottom club Wrenthorpe. The heroes were overseas man Muhammad Tariq who scored an unbeaten 80, while spin bowler Daanyaal Ahmed took 6-35.

For Wrenthorpe, Adal Islam, who scored 61, is in dire need of substantive support from his team mates.

Best Performers So Far

Oliver Hardaker (Undercliffe) 416 runs
Zeeshan Qasim (Undercliffe) 19 wickets
Farrukh Alam (Carlton) 19 wickets
Sam Wisniewski (Pudsey Congs) 19 wickets

The obvious match of the day on Saturday is Jer Lane v Carlton - and although not a defining title match - it will go some way in establishing both sides’ credentials.

Pudsey Congs have an ideal opportunity to gain points when they go to bottom side Wrenthorpe.

Undercliffe will find it more difficult to win at East Bierley now that their overseas player Nisar Ahmad has arrived.

However, Bierley can’t afford too many slip-ups now that they are playing `catch-up’ after their rocky spell.

It’s a source of great surprise that Morley have struggled to such an extent this season. They find themselves in the bottom three and need to beat Gomersal this week. 

Two inconsistent sides in Baildon and Keighley clash at Jenny Lane this weekend, with well-respected Simon Bailey returning to face his old team-mates.

Birstall face East Ardsley looking to extract `big points’ to continue their rise in the table.

Division One: Gomersal v Morley, Jer Lane v Carlton, Wrenthorpe v Pudsey Congs, East Bierley v Undercliffe, Birstall v East Ardsley, Baildon v Keighley.

Division Two

Lightcliffe have further enhanced their position at the top after an easy nine-wicket win over Hunslet Nelson. Seamer Jonathan Whiteoak (3-28) did the early damage before Peter Dobson (4-10) cashed in as their opponents were bowled out for 68.

This gives them a 25-point lead over second place Northowram Fields, and they might just need that cushion given their rival’s current form.

Fields bowled out much fancied Great Preston for 110 with Sam Gardner being the pick of the bowlers with 5-45. The impressive in-form opener Kyle Welsh finished 47 not out and ensured a five-wicket win.

Sandal are still third despite losing a tense game with fast improving Yeadon. Former Saltaire player Adeel Ashraf hit a fine century as Yeadon recorded a 12-run win which moves them up to fourth place, just one point behind Sandal. Ashraf stroked two sixes and 15 fours as he made exactly 100 in a final total of 213.

Yeadon’s crafty all-rounder Gareth Lee was influential again with 35 vital runs and a crucial bowling spell of 4-76.

Sandal had decent performers in Matthew Westwood who made 58, and paceman Sam Noden who took 4-42. Clearly, both Sandal and Yeadon have the class to challenge the top two during the course of the season.

Just behind these two are Buttershaw St Paul’s and Hopton Mills who clashed last week. Hopton Mills compiled a total of 268-4 in a surprisingly emphatic victory. Imran Patel (90no) and Sohail Hussain (80) added 114 for the fourth wicket before Umar Abbas hit a brisk unbeaten 52.

St Paul’s never looked like challenging the home side’s score and were bowled out for 125 with Abbas impressing with 5-52 to cap a fine individual performance.

Bowling Old Lane had Hazrat Abbas and Imran Malik both making 84 in an impressive total of 267-7 against Crossflatts.

However, their lack of penetrative bowling very nearly let Crossflatts in who finished 11 runs short. Former Saltaire man Joe Hicks (60) appeared at one point to be anchoring his side to victory.

Hartshead Moor’s plight worsened last week as Wakefield St Michael’s bowled them out for 79 and won by five wickets. The result leaves them 17 points adrift of second bottom Hunslet Nelson.

The Best Performers So Far

Kyle Welsh (Northowram Fields) 378 runs
Jonathan Whiteoak (Northowram Fields) 20 wickets

The undisputed match of the day this week is at leaders Lightcliffe who face second place Northowram Fields. A win for Lightcliffe will put them well clear at the top, but Fields will be stiff opposition.

Tenth place Crossflatts are probably in a false lowly position and will be out to prove this against third place Sandal, while Hopton Mills could upset fourth place Yeadon on their High Street ground.

Great Preston have a home fixture with Buttershaw St Paul's in a game that has the potential to be a high scoring one.

Wakefield St Michael's, who play Bowling Old Lane, are three points in front of their opponents in a game which is difficult to predict the outcome.

The bottom two Hunslet Nelson and Hartshead Moor clash in Beeston with the latter in danger of being well adrift if they lose.

Division Two: Yeadon v Hopton Mills, Crossflatts v Sandal, Great Preston v Buttershaw St Paul's, Wakefield St Michael's v Bowling Old Lane, Lightcliffe v Northowram Fields, Hunslet Nelson v Hartshead Moor.

Division Three

It’s all change at the top after Heckmondwike & Carlinghow downed the leaders Adwalton, and Liversedge beat Gildersome & Farnley Hill.

The table now reads Liversedge (114pts), Adwalton (106pts) and Heckmondwike & Carlinghow (101pts).

Owais Hussain top scored with 114 for Heckmondwike & Carlinghow as they made the day’s highest score of 303-6. Adwalton, who were previously unbeaten, made 227-7 to lose by 76 runs. The consistent Matty Waller again shone for Adwalton with 88.

Liversedge’s close season signing of Parvaise Khan, above, is now showing to be an inspired capture. He had an impressive all-round performance against Gildersome & Farnley Hill scoring an unbeaten 62 to go with his fine bowling analysis of 5-33. Liversedge won by eight wickets with Josh Sturgess top scoring for Gildersome & Farnley Hill.

Fourth place Scholes dismissed East Leeds for just 99 as they dashed to a seven-wicket win after Mahleb Mahmood had picked up 5-14.

Spen Victoria are still on the march and have now risen to fifth after that man Paolo Girardi again proved to be a class act.

He took 5-33 as his side bowled out Windhill & Daisy Hill for 123 to complete a 54-run win, and he also chipped in with 32 in Spen’s par score of 177.

Veteran seamer Maz Bhatti (4-51) battled gamely for a Windhill & Daisy Hill side that lack strength in depth.

Mid-table Brighouse proved to be too good for Rodley in a 123-run win. Consistent batting from Rameez Khan (65) Nasir Mehmood (64 and Zain Jamsed (47) helped the score along to 271-8

Altofts bowled Crossbank Methodists for 75 in a five-wicket win with Alfie Oliver (5-28) and Craig Wood (4-19) proving to be too good for the opposition.

The Best Performers So Far

Matty Waller (Adwalton) 416 runs
Thomas Davidson (Adwalton) 19 wickets
Paolo Girardi (Spen Victoria)19 wickets
Craig Wood (Altofts) 19 wickets

The Scholes v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow fixture this coming Saturday could be a cracker given their respective positions closely behind the top two.

The top side Liversedge will hope to extend their good run when they meet improving Spen Victoria, while second place Adwalton have a tricky match with Altofts who have not looked too convincing this season.

Brighouse, who have a home match with East Leeds, are 15 points better off than their opponents and are in seventh place.

The Windhill & Daisy Hill v Rodley match brings together two sides low in confidence, while the Gildersome & Farnley Hill v Crossbank Methodists encounter has a similar attribute.

Division Three: Scholes v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow, Brighouse v East Leeds, Altofts v Adwalton, Windhill & Daisy Hill v Rodley, Gildersome & Farnley Hill v Crossbank Methodists, Liversedge v Spen Victoria.

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