Last week’s start of the season went off with a bang with Townville and Carlton making huge winning scores for the 40-over format.
If anybody witnessed the big crowd at Hanging Heaton, and the invigorating cricket that went with it, they could have been mistaken for thinking it was a Priestley Cup Semi-Final.
It is interesting to note that Conor Harvey is the second high profile player on these previews, along with Lee Goddard last week, to talk positively about the late season League Cup competition.
The tight nature of the group fixtures will obviously exercise the minds of clubs that lost on the first day, knowing that there is now only a thin margin of error if they want to qualify for the respective finals.
This should make an absorbing passage of matches before the final straight when they will be effectively `sudden death’ encounters.
Premier Division Cup West:
Pudsey St Lawrence must be big favourites to beat Morley after the contrasting fortunes of the two clubs last week.
Skipper Chris Marsden (78no) and Barry Frankland (44no) helped the Saints to chase down Bradford & Bingley’s 253-7 in an unbroken stand of 119 for the fifth wicket.
Another young starlet from the junior set-up at Tofts Road made his mark in first team cricket. Young Josh Priestley proved himself to be the pick of the St Lawrence bowlers with 5-60.
The six wicket victory put the Saints with the early pacesetters in what is likely to emerge as a tough group.
Morley were brushed aside by a vibrant Batley side who strolled to a seven wicket victory.
The losers of the Bradford & Bingley and Cleckheaton clash at Wagon Lane this weekend will find it very difficult to win this group. They both lost after posting challenging scores last week.
Bradford & Bingley’s new captain Ed Brown hit an unbeaten 92 as he shared in a fourth-wicket stand of 100 with Yasir Abbas (49). However, they just lacked the cutting edge in the bowling to prevent St Lawrence getting home.
Cleckheaton can take the positives from their defeat against New Farnley after seeing promising debuts from Toby Booth (65) and Kris Ward (50) who helped their side post a useful score of 194-6.
Premier Division Cup East:
Batley will be full of confidence after beating Morley by seven wickets, after dismissing them for just 92. However, the disciplined bowling from Mohammad Shahnawaz (3-19) and Tariq Hussain (3-28) will need to be replicated when they face Townville. .
Townville won a high-scoring encounter with Hanging Heaton at Bennett Lane. Jonathan Booth, although surviving two difficult caught and bowled chances, went on and gave a master class of batting.
Chasing Hanging Heaton’s 271-5, Booth, above, made the day’s highest individual score of 143 not out, striking 10 sixes and 10 fours, and dictating the pace of the innings.
Booth was aided by big-hitting Conor Harvey who smashed 70 runs from just 37 balls, as they added 117 for the fourth wicket. Harvey hit six sixes and five fours to provide the late thrust to the Townville reply.
In the end, after a minor clatter of wickets, Townville got home with five balls to spare to win be three wickets.
Conor Harvey is just happy to be playing cricket. He said: “I’ll start with the new competition, and for me, and as a club we like it. There wasn’t much possible this season after what has gone on, so for us to play cricket is the most important thing. We were on board, no matter what we had to do with the regulations and rules, and I’m glad as a club we decided to do it.
“Results like Saturday at Hanging Heaton make it all worthwhile. We aren’t getting too carried away, but to perform like that after a lot of time off is something we are very happy about. We are always learning and we are progressing as a young team and getting better and better, and Saturday’s result proves that.
“Credit to Jonny (Booth) for Saturday, it was the best innings I’ve ever seen. It’s been a great start to this new competition but we aren’t getting too carried away.”
Harvey is mindful of the tricky challenge at Batley. He added: “We’ve known Batley for a long time and are aware how they operate. It’s not going to be easy going there. They also won on Saturday, and it’s always a tough place to go and perform how you’d like, so we aren’t taking the game lightly. Having said that, the boys can’t wait to go again after Saturday”,
Conor concludes, “There is a real buzz around the club at the minute. Three senior wins and three junior wins this week- so it’s a great place to be at the minute.”
Methley might have had Marcus Walmsley (62), Alex Cree (40) and Jordan Laban (40) in form last week in their defeat by Wrenthorpe, but they are now under pressure to get off the mark against Hanging Heaton.
Hanging Heaton in turn, need to win to be in the `shake-up’ for the group leader’s position, and will go to Methley with a renewed determination.
There was nothing wrong with their batting last week with big guns Nick Connelly (107), Gary Fellows (54) and Joe Fraser (55) all wading into Townville’s bowling, but they lacked consistency with the ball.
Wrenthorpe, who had a surprise win against Methley, are at home to New Farnley, who also won.
Jordan Sleightholme’s Wrenthorpe’s side restricted Methley to 174-8 with Jonathan Donnelly (3-26) doing the most to keep them in check.
In what turned out to be a thriller, Wrenthorpe were in big trouble at 42-5, but Mohammed Suleman hit 55 from 39 balls to turn the game in his side’s favour to secure a one-wicket win.
New Farnley opened their campaign with a hard-earned five-wicket win over Cleckheaton. Skipper Lee Goddard (97) and Steve Bullen (55) added 141 for the second wicket as their side chased down the visitors’ score of 194-6.
Division One Cup West:
Bankfoot go to Pudsey Congs buoyed by their 45-run win at Gomersal last week.
Bankfoot skipper James Lee was in the thick of the action as he top scored with 59 in a challenging total of 209-6, and then took 3-36 as Gomersal were bowled out for 164.
Usman Shakir (54) and young Daniel Colehan (42) were the other main scorers for Bankfoot.
Pudsey Congs scrambled to a one-wicket win over Keighley in a low-scoring encounter.
An unbeaten 48 from Paul Quinlan was the main feature of Keighley’s 125-9, an innings kept in check by young spinner Sam Wisniewski (3-21). Vinit Patel, batting at number nine, top scored with 28 not out as Congs just edged home.
Keighley have a home game with Baildon who have a number of young bloods hoping to impress. One of them is Will Kelly, who in scoring 36 runs, took the fight to Hartshead Moor last week in a defeat for the Jenny Laners.
Division One League Cup East:
Ossett lost out to East Bierley last week in a high-scoring match, with Chris Hosley (87) and Joe Finnigan (64 and 3-58), their main man.
They will be keen to get on the winning path in their home fixture with Gomersal who lost to Bankfoot.
Birstall were beaten by Carlton last week, despite seeing decent batting performances from Charlie Orme, who made a breezy 65, and Josh Haynes (40).
This week they have home advantage over East Bierley who had an impressive outing last week.
East Bierley opener Matthew West made a fine debut with an innings of 113, which contained 10 sixes and seven fours, and helped his side overhaul a challenging Ossett score of 274-7.
Another debutant, Danny Cross (72no), along with Paul Martin (45) helped ensure a six wicket victory.
Carlton were the headline makers in Division One last week when they amassed the day’s highest score of 335-3 as they defeated Birstall.
Carlton's talented young batsman Daniel Ford and big-hitting Farrouk Alam put the Birstall bowlers to the sword, sharing a mammoth third wicket stand of 231.
Ford struck six sixes and 16 fours while making an unbeaten 134, while Alam – a winter recruit from Undercliffe – blasted nine sixes and 13 fours while marking his debut with a score of 134.
They go to Hartshead Moor hoping to press their claim further down the line for a place in the group final with a second successive victory.
Hartshead Moor were guided to an eight-wicket win over Baildon by new signing Joe Wood (47no) and Adam Greenwood (38) as they cruised past Baildon’s under par total of 136-8.
Division Two League Cup West:
Dark horses for the Division Two West crown are Jer Lane who defeated Buttershaw St Paul’s by six wickets. Tahir Khan made 70 not out and Asad Mahmood (31no) as the St Paul’s score of 195-9 was surpassed. Seamer Mohammed Jamal (3-33) had earlier been Jer Lane’s best bowler.
Jer Lane, who have secured a loan deal for Woodlands spinner Kez Ahmed, face Northowram Fields, who last week limped meekly to a six-wicket defeat by Spen Victoria.
Buttershaw St Paul’s had the consolation of seeing their wicketkeeper Jack Seddon hit 77 runs in their Jer Lane defeatand will be hoping Woodlands recruit Elliot Richardson fires against Bowling Old Lane.
Old Lane recorded a comfortable five-wicket win over Scholes after bowling out their opponents for 104 with Adam Zahid taking 3-52. Zeeshan Haider was unbeaten on 36 when Old Lane reached their total.
Division Two League Cup East:
Spen Victoria opened their fixtures up well, bowling out Northowram Fields for 80 to set up a six-wicket win. Rahat Shah took 4-20 to complete an impressive debut.
This puts Spen in good heart for their home match with Hopton Mills who succumbed to East Ardsley last week. However, Ashley Mackereth (4-24) made Ardsley work very hard for their three wicket win.
Ismail Patel (4-39) helped to restrict Hopton Mills to 125, while Tom Daniels (39no) and Richard Vigars (26no), confirmed the victory after a torrid start.
Their next challenge is an away fixture with Hunslet Nelson who was no match for Sandal last week.
East Ardsley had a very good weekend, on the next day advancing in their National Village Regional heat when they decisively beat Pendle Forest.
The inter divisional match between Scholes and Sandal should go the way of the visiting side on early season form.
Sandal’s batting star Matthew Westwood hit an impressive 127 as his side scored an easy 120-run win over Hunslet Nelson. Westwood hit a six and 21 fours and shared a second wicket stand of 159 with Danny Riley (57 runs) as last season’s Conference champions scored 247-6.
Hunslet Nelson never looked like challenging the Sandal score and was dismissed for 127. Patrick Hinchliffe top scored with 36 as Sam Noden picked up 3-29.
Scholes lost their first match against Bowling Old Lane after being bowled out for 104.
Division Three League Cup West
Heckmondwike & Carlinghow battled well against East Leeds but ended 35 runs short of the 241 target. Abdullah Qureshi (50) and Usman Qureshi (40) led the brave response of 206-9.
This week they are at home to Crossbank Methodists’ who lost to Rodley by seven wickets.
Rodley’s opener Luke Cosford made an unbeaten 70 and was well supported by Gary Sagar (34) as they eased past Crossbank Methodists’ total of 136. Bailey Wilson was another key player for Rodley as he took 4-38.
Adwalton, who visit Rodley this week, will be looking to get on the winning trail after losing to Brighouse last week. Despite their four wicket defeat, they had encouraging performers in Shoaib Rehman (57), Matthew Donohoe (30) and Adam Holroyd (4-50).
Division Three League Cup East
Gildersome & Farnley Hill might have lost last week, but they were involved in a cracker against an Altofts side that got home with just five balls to spare.
Jack Irwin (63) and Harrison Kelly (45) added 108 for the second wicket in the strong Gildersome score of 237-8.
Meanwhile, Gildersome’s opponents this week are East Leeds, who had Zahid Tarvas (78) and Ben Wilkinson (69no) in good form as they scored 241 on their way to a 35-run success against Heckmondwike & Carlinghow.
One of the fancied teams Great Preston came a cropper last week against Oulton, capitulating to a 125-run defeat. It could be said that only Stuart Ruddick with 5-55 could hold his head up high.
They will have to turn their fortunes around very quickly against an Altofts side that chased `big’ last week and succeeded thanks to Qamar Shahzad (97no) and Tom Clarke (42no).
Oulton were impressive winners last week with Ryan Healy (59) and Benjamin Child (3 wkts for 0 runs) being the architects of their 125-run win over Great Preston.
They have a home match against Brighouse who also won last week.
Brighouse’s Parais Khan (60 runs) and Sohail Hussain (32 runs) helped their side past Adwalton’s score of 158.