There are no makeweights left in the Heavy Woollen Cup, as the semi-final draw throws up two potential classic cup clashes today.
Hanging Heaton v Hoylandswaine
Hanging Heaton, who have a good history in this competition, last won the Heavy Woollen Cup in 2013 when they beat New Farnley by six wickets.
In this year’s competition they have sailed through the rounds. In the First Round they bowled out Rastrick for 28, before knocking the runs off without losing a wicket. They then scored a massive 380-8 against Ossett in the next round with Gary Fellows top scoring with 138.
In the Third Round they beat the 2017 Heavy Woollen Cup winners Woodlands in a run fest at Bennett Lane. Hanging Heaton made a challenging 345-6, and although Woodlands made a very credible 271 all-out they were never in the hunt. Callum Geldart had a remarkable match scoring an epic 163 runs before taking 5-57 with his off spin.
Hoylandswaine will be formidable opponents, adding Yorkshire’s Alex Lees this season to their galaxy of stars which includes Gharib Nawaz, Chris Holliday, Usman Arshad, Max Joice, Gurman Randhawa, Adnan Ghani, Shakir Muhammad and JP Singh.
They have actually reached the Heavy Woollen Cup Final in the last three seasons- losing out each time to Bradford Premier League clubs-
2015 Woodlands 182 Hoylandswaine 148
2016 New Farnley 341-4 Hoylandswaine 220
2017 Hoylandswaine 213 Woodlands 216-8
Despite this record, they are definitely capable of winning this trophy and if they get through the semi-finals will be thinking that lightening can’t strike for a fourth year.
For Hanging Heaton, after the disappointment of last Sunday’s Priestley Cup defeat at New Farnley, it’s a great chance to make amends. But, cricket secretary Andrew Hunt acknowledges the fact that it won’t be easy.
He said: “This will be very tough as they have big players throughout the team. But, so have we and at least we have home advantage The outfield at Bennett Lane is so quick, and will be even quicker on Sunday, and whoever bats first might score 300-plus and still lose”.
Hunt goes on to say: “It’s a huge match and we’ve had enquiries from across the Pennines so there will be a big crowd in the sun, and there is no better place for a match like this. The players will be up for it, and we might well be playing them again in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Treophy. It’s the first time we’ve played them and we’ve nothing but respect for them.”
Methley v New Farnley
Methley’s early route to this stage consisted of straightforward victories against Scholes (Cleckheaton) and Crossbank Methodists.
However, they were drawn against two-times South Yorkshire Premier League title winners Wakefield Thornes in the quarter-finals, and managed to win without Yorkshire’s Matthew Waite.
Methley batted first and it was largely through the efforts of Marcus Walmsley (40) and Adam Patel (62) that they managed to set a competitive score of 227.
When Thornes reached 120-4 in reply it seemed as if Methley were a little light for runs, but captain Grant Soames expertly rang the changes in the field, and wickets fell. Soames himself had the vital bowling spell with 3-54, but five bowlers took wickets to win the game for Methley by 17 runs.
Soames has engendered a well-drilled Methley side in recent weeks, and he will be hoping that Yorkshire will see the way in releasing Matthew Waite, Harry Sullivan and Josh Sullivan for such an important match for the club.
Last Heavy Woollen Cup for Methley- 1994 Gomersal 201-8 Methley 202-6 (at Liversedge)
New Farnley have piled up the runs in their cup run with 284-8 v Buttershaw St Paul’s, and 296 v Shepley, and 210-6 v Birstall in a four-wicket win.
They have two cups in successive years and now with the addition of Steve Bullen and Ajmal Shahzad, and the more regular playing Andrew Hodd, are genuine title challengers.
In 2013 they reached the Heavy Woollen Cup final for the first time and were beaten by Hanging Heaton by six wickets. Three years later in 2016 they reached the final again and on this occasion won the cup with a 121-run win over Hoylandswaine.
This was regarded as their first trophy in senior cricket and illustrated how far they had come. Last year they beat Methley in the final of the Priestley Cup at Undercliffe.
This was a remarkable triumph given the fact that Methley appeared to be coasting to victory with ten wickets left. It was widely regarded as the best Priestley Cup final in years, and if that match is replicated in this semi-final it will be an entertaining affair.
As a form guide, Methley recently lost by five wickets to New Farnley in a rain-affected match decided on the Duckworth Lewis Stern method. They batted first and scored 241 with Marcus Walmsley top scoring with 75. The target would have been much stiffer but for off-spinner Dave McCallum’s sterling effort in taking 5-61.
New Farnley chased down a revised total of 187 and were indebted to Yorkshire and England player Ajmal Shahzad who scored an unbeaten 49 after frontline batsmen Lee Goddard and Andrew Hodd went cheaply.