There is no doubt that the match of the day in the Premier Division is at the Barry Jackson Ground where New Farnley (3rd) take on Townville (joint 1st), with the small matter of ten points dividing them.
Townville caught Woodlands up after a comfortable 65-run win at Morley, with Jack Hughes (34 runs & 4-41) again showing his all round game.
New Farnley were too good for Batley despite lacking key bowler Alex Lilley, and their injured batsman Russ Aucott.
The key feature about the nine wicket win was the continued form of Lee Goddard who scored 88 not out to take his tally of runs to 534 for an average of 133.50.
Woodlands bowling lacked its usual penetration as they went down to a last ball defeat to a depleted Pudsey St Lawrence side.
Muhammad Bilal smashed six sixes and three fours to make an unbeaten 65, while opener Sam Frankland held the early batting together with a knock of 63. But, the bowling could not defend the par score of 247-7 on a very good wicket. They will aim to get backon track at Morley.
They will need to replicate Townville’s win at Morley to keep pace at the top.
Pudsey St Lawrence’s band of young prospects, and two second teamers managed to beat leaders Woodlands. But, it was old stager James Smith that transformed matters in their favour when they seemed to be going down to defeat.
He got completely on top of the Woodlands bowling hitting a rapid 56, and leaving the tail-enders a fighting chance which they took. If they beat Cleckheaton on Saturday they could be right amongst the leading pack.
Cleck suffered again last week, going down by 66 runs against Methley to stay in the bottom two. They did have some good performers in Nick Lindley (pictured right, 73), Mally Nicholson (55) and Amir Hussain’s (6-67), but they are desperate to see the arrival of overseas player Charitha Kumarasinge.
Methley are inconsistent, but on their day will be a match for anybody. In beating Cleckheaton, they were given a cracking start by opener Gharib Nawaz (95) and his good work was built on by Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite (72) and Jason Marshall (48 ) as a total of 281-9 was reached.
They face Bradford & Bingley this week who lost to Wrenthorpe despite adding Yorkshire’s George Hill to their team. Opener Kyme Tahirkheli (50) and former Yorkshire Academy player Arjun Ramkumar (47) were the main scorers in Bradford & Bingley’s 234-7. A score that proved to be inadequate as Wrenthorpe passed it with six wickets down.
It seems that every time Wrenthorpe are talked about as relegation candidates they pull off a win, and they continue to reap the rewards of a `have a go’ attitude.
Wrenthorpe’s Matthew Race led the way with an unbeaten 88 in the successful run chase, while Sam Wigglesworth (52) and Mohammad Suleman (39) added the required impetus. This week they do battle with Farsley who were beaten by a Hanging Heaton side that showed better form.
Callum Geldart hit three sixes and 12 fours while making 115 in his side’s 75-run win over Farsley at Red Lane. Skipper Matthew Lumb (4-55) and Mark Harrison (52no) were the best Farsley could offer on a day when Hanging Heaton looked as good as ever.
At the moment Hanging Heaton are out of touch of the top sides, but if they can get a maximum points tally at local rivals Batley they will could be there or thereabouts depending on the other results.
Premier Division: Batley v Hanging Heaton, Wrenthorpe v Farsley, Methley v Bradford & Bingley, Pudsey St Lawrence v Cleckheaton, Morley v Woodlands, New Farnley v Townville.
Eric Austin was in the runs again for Division One leaders Birstall Picture: Ray Spencer
Top two Birstall (120 pts) and Ossett (110 pts) seem to be pulling away from the chasing pack with dominant displays the order of the day.
Birstall openers Eric Austin (150no) and Josh Haynes (121) shared a stand of 250 as they provided the inspiration for the leaders’ 73-run win over Keighley. Haynes also took five wickets with his left arm spin.
Next up for Birstall is a trip to Jenny Lane to face a Baildon side who have now risen to fifth in the league after beating Lightcliffe. Opener James Ford hit an unbeaten 80 in a three wicket success.
Ossett had a 44- run win against Hartshead Moor with the consistent opener Marcus Walmsley (69 runs) again impressing. They make the long journey to Keighley aiming to retain second place with a win.
Keighley were gallant losers against Birstall with skipper Paul Quinlan showing his team the way with 73 runs.
Gomersal beat East Bierley in a rousing match last week. Big-hitting Ben Walter struck 10 sixes and seven fours while making 102 runs for East Bierley, but he ended up on the losing side. East Bierley’s total of 253 was chased down by Gomersal as they secured a four-wicket victory. A fifth wicket partnership of 113 between Andy Gorrod (78) and Richard Wear (56no), proved decisive.
These sides were jostling at the top a few weeks ago, but they are now chasing some distance behind the top two. Gomersal have a home fixture against Bankfoot who were surprisingly defeated last week by Pudsey Congs, while East Bierley are at Hartshead Moor.
Seif Hussain (5-39) was Bankfoot’s best bowler last week, while Abhishek Paradkar (57), Craig Field (44) and Nick Ward (36) excelled for Hartshead Moor.
Undercliffe have picked up of late, but are still way behind the promotion pace. They were unconvincing winners last week against bottom club Carlton and were thankful that Zeeshan Qasim (4-28) interrupted their opponent’s promising start.
This week they have a home match with Lightcliffe who lost to Baildon despite a fine innings of 71 by Gavin Whipp.
Pudsey Congs upset the formbook by winning at Bankfoot who were very much in the promotion hunt in third position. The two-wicket success was earned with Yorkshire spinner Sam Wisniewski (4-63) prominent with the ball, and Jamie Allen (3-16) also played his part as Bankfoot were bowled out for 126.
Congs didn’t find the task of knocking off the runs very easy, but Jacques Allen steadied the ship with a timely 32. The Congs go to Carlton’s scenic ground this week fully aware that although the home team are struggling, they still possess some strong batting.
Carlton opener Daniel White, who made 59 last week in the latest defeat, is one that Congs need to get out.
Division One: Carlton v Pudsey Congs, Gomersal v Bankfoot, Hartshead Moor v East Bierley, Keighley v Ossett, Baildon v Birstall, Undercliffe v Lightcliffe.
The promotion race is hotting up with East Ardsley (96pts), Wakefield St Michael’s (95) and Jer Lane (92) leading the way. Jer Lane have a precious game in hand due to their clash with Hunslet Nelson being postponed.
East Ardsley had a hard-earned two-wicket win over fellow promotion challengers Buttershaw St Paul’s last week with Gary Jennings (64 runs) and Ashley Pearson (5-35) starring. They have a tricky away game in prospect at Northowram Fields this week.
Wakefield St Michael’s are now second after edging home by three wickets at Northowram Fields with spinner Zaeem Zulfqar (4-32) and Qasar Hameed (42 runs) making decisive contributions.
St Michael’s have a home fixture with Sandal who are now almost within touching distance of the chasing pack. Sandal bowlers Lee Geldard (4-56) and Sam Noden (3-33) restricted Hopton Mills to 168-8 as they secured a 32-run win. Danny Riley (50) and Brandon Hewlett (45) had helped to build Sandal’s score to a par 200.
Jer Lane will be dying to get back on the field when they visit old Bradford Central League rivals Buttershaw St Paul’s. It won’t be easy for Jer against a side that went all the way last week with East Ardsley in a two-wicket defeat.
However, it won’t be easy given Yeadon’s recent resurgence. An unbeaten 101 by Yeadon’s Muhammad Khan enabled his side to pull off a thrilling one-wicket win over Bowling Old Lane last week, with eight balls to spare.
Khan hit two sixes and 13 fours as he helped his side stave off the threat of Zeeshan Haider (5-74) to chase down a score of 236-9. Jonathan Bell (56) was also a key figure in the Yeadon triumph.
Khan had earlier taken 4-32 as he and Nadeem Hanif (3-51) toiled away in an Old Lane innings in which Abid Alishan top scored with 53.
Old Lane should get back on the winning track when they play Scholes who last week lost to Spen Victoria who were at the bottom.
Spen’s win was edgy as they got home by two wickets chasing 109, thanks to their consistent skipper Bilal Ejaz, who made an unbeaten 35 to get them home. It will be more difficult for them this week when they welcome Hopton Mills to Spen Lane.
Hopton Mills lost to Sandal last week despite the dependable seamer Michael Carroll taking 5-56.
Division Two: Wakefield ,St Michael’s v Sandal, Spen Victoria v Hopton Mills, Bowling Old Lane v Scholes, Hunslet Nelson v Yeadon, Buttershaw ,St Paul’s v Jer Lane, Northowram Fields v East Ardsley.
The three form teams in the division are Brighouse (113pts), Crossflatts (108) and Great Preston (95).
However, East Leeds and Crossbank Methodists are not far behind in what should be an intriguing promotion battle this season.
The match of the Day is undoubtedly Brighouse v East Leeds. If the latter should win at Russell Way it will certainly put the ‘cat amongst the pigeons’ at the top.
For East Leeds, Ben Wilkinson (78no) and James Watling (4-54) were instrumental in last week’s victory over Heckmondwike & Carlinghow, while former Saltaire batsman Khurram Maqsood (72) and Parvaise Khan (50) showed the way for Brighouse in the win against Crossbank Methodists.
Great Preston will be out to put pressure on second place Crossflatts when they take on Heckmondwike & Carlinghow. Third place Great Preston were the day’s quickest winners when they beat Adwalton by nine wickets.
Jacob Wright (4-26) and Lee Russell (4-37) helped to dismiss Adwalton for 93, and later Oli Baron wrapped up the win with an unbeaten 59. This is the kind of display that marks Great Preston out as a major contender for promotion, but they can’t afford any of the uncharacteristic slip-ups that occurred early season.
Gildersome & Farnley Hill had a massive 151-run win over Altofts with Mick O’Halloran proving to be a big hit with the bat. He smashed seven sixes and six fours in a quick-fire 80 which enabled his side to make a very competitive 269-9. This week Gildersome travel to Liversedge who had their first win last week.
They defeated Rodley by 17 runs with Will Atkin (36), James Lunn (31) and Samar Farooq (4-28) the main men.
Altofts have still not got it together this season and will find it tough against second place Crossflatts. The new boys had a comfortable win against Windhill & Daisy Hill with Josh Brooksbank (pictured right, 73), Harris Hassan (61no) and Alex Bradbury (5-40) taking the honours.
Fifth place Crossbank Methodists can enter the chasing pack if they despatch Rodley this weekend.
Last week they lost to leaders Brighouse but found salvage in James Colbourn, who top scored with 55, and later on a 10th wicket stand of 59 runs that illustrated Crossbank’s battling qualities.
Rodley could still have a hangover from their defeat at the hands of Liversedge, who had previously not won a league match,
Windhill & Daisy Hill are back in bottom place and have a home match at Busy Lane against Adwalton, who after a bright start to the season are now in mid-table.
Division Three: Brighouse v East Leeds, Great Preston v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow, Windhill & Daisy Hill v Adwalton, Altofts v Crossflatts, Liversedge v Gildersome & Farnley Hill, Crossbank Methodists v Rodley.