Undercliffe suffered a dramatic batting collapse against Townville and saw their Premier Division place snatched away as rivals Wrenthorpe pulled off a last-day win at Bradford & Bingley to avoid relegation.
Just 12 months ago Undercliffe beat Wrenthorpe on the final day of the season to pip them to the Championship One title, today the fortunes of the two clubs were reversed.
Undercliffe were left with the hollow feeling of disappointment and dejection after seeing a potential match-winning position slip from their grasp as they lost their last six wickets for 23 runs to lose by 20 runs after bowling out Townville for 137.
In contrast, Wrenthorpe were celebrating a dramatic last day climb out of the bottom two at Wagon Lane where they defeated Bradford & Bingley by 99 runs.
The game at Intake Road must have been an emotional roller coaster for Undercliffe’s followers. Their players looked up for the challenge as spinners Khalid Usman and Simon Lambert both took 4-47 to bowl out Townville for what looked a modest score of 137. Only overseas player Imran Rafique (42) made an impression.
Undercliffe looked to be heading for the win that would guarantee safety as they reached 94-4, but then everything went wrong.
Skipper Jack Hughes (4-31) and Harry Clewett (3-45) sensed the growing anxiety of the Undercliffe side and helped Townville to a victory which confirmed them as runners up for the first time.
Wrenthorpe owe a huge debt of gratitude to overseas player Khalil Khan for their survival. He has produced many fine performances this season and in their hour of need he came up with another.
Khan top scored with 55 as Wrenthorpe made a challenging 220-8. Skipper Jordan Sleightholme, another player who deserves huge credit for his team’s escape from relegation, made 36.
Apart from Matthew Duce (41) the Bradford & Bingley batsmen did not cause any anxiety for Wrenthorpe. Khan took 3-22 and Ollie Kilburn (3-38) to bowl out the home side for 121.
The result saw Wrenthorpe reach 190 points which was six more than Undercliffe who will join Lightcliffe in Championship One next season.
There has been little cheer for bottom team Lightcliffe, but they did exit the Premier Division with a bang. They defeated the 2018 champions Pudsey St Lawrence by 57 runs to end their campaign on a high.
A sixth wicket stand of 60 between Christian Silkstone (51) and James Horne (39no) proved crucial as Lightcliffe made 200 before bowling out their opponents for 133.
St Lawrence opener Mark Robertshaw hasn’t been at his run scoring best this season, but at least he did finish the campaign by making top score of 51 in his side’s disappointing reply. Off spinner Josh Wheatley turned out to be the match winner with 5-29, while Suleman Khan took 4-38.
Champions Woodlands finished their programme with a nervy two-wicket win over Farsley. After bowling out the Red Lane side for 146, Woodlands made heavy weather of their reply and scraped home with eight wickets down.
Ryan Cooper (44) and Matthew Revis (41) helped Farsley recover from the loss of two early wickets to make 146. Off spinner Kez Ahmed was the main threat with 4-57.
Woodlands, who had been beaten by Cleckheaton 24 hours earlier, looked nervy when they batted. Sam Frankland (30) top scored as they secured victory. Ben Morley (3-17) was the best of the Farsley bowlers.
Hanging Heaton marked Gary Fellows’ final game as captain with a win as they beat Cleckheaton by four wickets.
Callum Geldart took 4-33 and Josh Holling (3-58) as Cleckheaton were dismissed for 172, skipper Mally Nicholson top scoring with 49.
Geldart (41) and Fellows (36) helped Hanging Heaton towards the victory which secure third place in the final table. Spinner Azeem Rafiq took 3-47 for Cleckheaton.
The match was Cleckheaton all-rounder John Wood’s final game. He has made a huge contribution to Bradford League cricket over the past 30 years and will always be remembered as the captain who led the Moorend club to successive title wins in 2013 and 2014.
Methley, the team that was rooted to the bottom of the table for much of the season, finished eighth after beating New Farnley by two wickets to record their sixth win.
Sudara Udagedara (4-48) and Marcus Walmsley (3-49) were the pick of the Methley bowlers as New Farnley were dismissed for 208. Steve Bullen and cricket manager Paul Hutchison – making a rare appearance – were the top scorers with 40 each.
Walmsley continues his good recent form with 81 while Sohail Raz hit an unbeaten 48 as Methley eased to victory with three overs to spare.