Reg Nelson looks ahead to Sunday's Priestley Cup final between New Farnley and Woodlands at Undercliffe.
This final brings together two heavyweight sides that have had recent success in the Priestley Cup. Holders Woodlands are playing in their third final in four seasons, having won the trophy in 2016 and 2018, while New Farnley were winners in 2017.
How They Got There
First Round: Woodlands were drawn against local rivals Cleckheaton and ended up winning to the tune of 84-runs. However, their batting was not entirely convincing and at 36-4 they were in big trouble. Left hander Liam Collins bailed them out with a swashbuckling 78 to take the score to 196 all-out. Cleckheaton struggled all the way with the bat, finally collapsing to the leg spin of Brad Schmulian (3-50).
Second Round: They travelled to Gomersal and on a cloudy and brooding day, openers Sam Frankland (116) and Tim Jackson (101) shared a first-wicket stand of 219. The final total was 283-4 which proved to be 225-runs too many for Gomersal.
Frankland struck four sixes and 12 fours while Jackson’s innings contained one six and 10 fours. After a rain break delayed their reply, Gomersal were dismissed for just 58 with off spinner Kez Ahmed (4-27) and paceman Elliot Richardson (3-7) being the chief destroyers.
Third Round (Quarter-Finals): Woodlands were expected to be tested by Methley as they had their two Yorkshire players Matthew Waite and Jarred Warner available.
Methley batted first and looked to have the foundation for a good score when openers Warner (37) and Marcus Walmsley (33) shared a stand of 74. After that, only Matthew Waite with an innings of 43 looked like threatening Woodlands with a big score. The innings closed on an under par 177 as Brad Schmulian picked up 3-25.
An opening stand of 113 between Sam Frankland (74) and Tim Jackson (35) took all the pressure off Woodlands, and they went on to overhaul Methley’s total with 16.3 overs to spare.
Semi-Finals: In the semi-finals Woodlands faced Hanging Heaton at Albert Terrace with all the ingredients of a potential classic. However, few people could have predicted the outcome of an extremely early Woodlands victory.
Hanging Heaton decided to bat first and their hopes were effectively in tatters once Mohammad Bilal (3-28) had reduced them to 31-4. Spinner Kez Ahmed (above, 4-14) piled on the agony as Hanging Heaton's last four wickets fell with their total on 86. Skipper Gary Fellows and wicketkeeper Ishmail Dawood were the joint top scorers with 22.
Opener Tim Jackson (33) set the platform for Greg Finn (23no) and Garner (15no) to see their side home by six-wickets
First Round: They defeated a determined Townville side, but it was far from straightforward. New Farnley batted first and at 4-2 and 46-3 they were in danger of setting a very small total. However, they reached 213-9 largely through an excellent knock from Billy Whitford who finished unbeaten on 88 after coming in at No.7.
Townville were well on course for victory at 154-4, but rookie left-arm spinner Sam Barraclough took the key wickets in a crucial bowling spell of 4-34. The tail-end just couldn’t scramble together the handful of runs needed and they finished six runs short in 42.4 overs.
Second Round: The next round was a little easier but, New Farnley still had to work hard for their 49-run victory at Wrenthorpe. However, it shouldn’t have been so close given the score they got.
Alex Baldwin and Dan Hodgson built a record partnership for the competition after coming together when the score was
2-1. Baldwin, promoted to open, hit a fine 118, while Hodgson continued his early-season form with 102. Baldwin hit two sixes and 14 fours while Hodgson struck eight fours as New Farnley made 310-4.
Wrenthorpe at one stage looked like possible winners, but missed out in the end with Farnley’s young spinner Sam Barraclough picking up 3-54.
Third Round (Quarter-Finals): New Farnley were again made to work hard when they beat Championship One promotion chasers Morley by five wickets.
Morley batted first and struggled all the way settling for 124 all-out, with Mark Lawson (3-15) and Sam Barraclough (3-12) being the major wicket-takers.
New Farnley’s top order were far from convincing and it was left to Dan Hodgson (48no) to guide them home.
It’s ironic that for all the talk about the `big players’ at New Farnley, young spinner Barraclough has emerged unheralded, as the most prolific wicket-taker for the side in the cup so far.
Semi-finals: New Farnley showed their strength as they brushed aside the challenge of Championship One outfit Baildon. Spinners Luke Jarvis (above, 4-16) and Dave McCallum (2-12) took the bowling honours as they bowled out the Jenny Lane side for 96.
New Farnley opted to promote Steve Bullen to opener to help him rediscover his best form and he responded with an unbeaten 57 which included a six and eight fours. Fellow opener Adam Waite was 31 not out when victory was secured in 17.1 overs.
How the sides fared against each other in the league
New Farnley v Woodlands April 27th 2019
New Farnley 116-9 (39 overs) Woodlands 89-4 (13.5 overs)
On a rain ruined day to start the season, New Farnley’s innings was reduced to 39 overs and further bad weather brought in the possibility of a Duckworth Lewis Stern decision.
New Farnley struggled in their innings, and could not come to terms with Chris Brice who took 5-15. Their final score was 116-9, and although they took an early Woodlands wicket was facing defeat when the rain finally finished the game.
Woodlands were in good shape at 89-4 with left-hander Liam Collins in control on 39 not out from 20 balls.
Woodlands v New Farnley July 6th 2019
By this stage of the season New Farnley had their quick bowler Andrew Brewster back from injury to give Alex Lilley much needed support with the new ball. New Farnley came with a plan, and it worked as Brewster made the early breakthrough, and then Lilley took over bowling a hostile, and sustained spell that found the Woodlands batting wanting.
Lilley ended with 5-15, with Charlie Parker joining in the mayhem with 4-27 as Woodlands were bowled out for 68. New Farnley knocked off the runs by eight wickets condemning Woodlands to their first defeat in the league.
Watch out tomorrow for the views of the two captains