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Relegation battle goes to the wire

Relegation battle goes to the wire

7 Sep 2019

It’s D-day for the teams fighting to stave off relegation in tomorrow’s final round of Premier Division games.

Lightcliffe’s stay in the top-flight was ended when they suffered a seven-wicket defeat against Methley but who joins them in Championship One next season is still to be decided.

Methley, who just need three points from their home match with New Farnley, look all but safe after their strong recent run.

That leaves the two sides promoted to the Premier Division last season, Undercliffe (179pts) and Wrenthorpe (171), fighting it out to avoid an immediate return to Championship One.

Wrenthorpe put up a brave fight before suffering a three-wicket defeat against Pudsey St Lawrence with just two balls to go, while Undercliffe were unable to cash in on Simon Lambert’s century as they went down by 21 runs to Hanging Heaton.

Undercliffe have a tricky final game against a Townville side looking for the eight points they need to be confirmed as runners up.

Wrenthorpe also look to have a tough assignment as they go to Bradford & Bingley knowing that they realistically need a victory if they are to claw back the eight-point advantage that Undercliffe have over them.

Methley made it five wins in a row with all-rounder Marcus Walmsley taking 6-30 as Lightcliffe were dismissed for 152. Walmsley followed up with 55 as he and Yorkshire’s Matthew Waite (33no) guided their side to victory.

Undercliffe and Wrenthorpe both put up great fights before losing to Hanging Heaton and Pudsey St Lawrence respectively.

Nobody is battling harder to keep Undercliffe up than opener Lambert. His 116, which included a six and 15 fours, made him the Premier Division’s top runscorer with 690 and took him to the top of the averages on 49.3.

Skipper Scott Etherington (34) shared a first-wicket stand of 108 with Lambert as Undercliffe replied to a Hanging Heaton score of 249-9. The openers gave their side a good foundation but the pressure to score quickly led to wickets falling and Undercliffe were eventually dismissed for 228.

David Stiff (4-33) and Callum Bethel (3-55) were the best of the bowlers for Hanging Heaton as they defended their challenging total which had been built around the contributions of James Keen (63), Joe Fraser (47) and Callum Geldart (40). Spinner Khalid Usman (4-87) and Lambert (3-38) were the most successful members of the Undercliffe attack.

Pudsey St Lawrence’s young all-rounder Archie Scott (55) made his highest score of the season as he helped his side to scrape home in the final over at Wrenthorpe.

Barrie Frankland (37) and James Smith (30no) also made timely contributions as the Saints overhauled the Wrenthorpe score of 228-9.

Smith took his career tally of Bradford League runs past the 12,000 mark – he now has 12,022 – as he saw his side home despite another good spell of spin bowling from Khalil Khan (4-27).

Luke Patel (49) and Khan helped Wrenthorpe to a healthy looking 125-3 before a clatter of wickets saw their side slip to 160-7 as St Lawrence skipper Chris Marsden picked up 4-55.

Sam Wigglesworth showed the sort of fighting spirit that might still keep Wrenthorpe afloat as he struck three sixes and five fours in an unbeaten 50.

Townville are now favourites to finish runners up after they recorded their seventh win in their last nine matches by beating Bradford & Bingley by six wickets.

Skipper Jack Hughes now heads the Premier Division bowling averages after taking 4-12 as Bradford & Bingley were bowled out for just 104. Overseas player Imran Rafique (32no) steered Townville home.

Woodlands with the championship trophy Picture Ray Spencer

Cleckheaton spoiled Woodlands’ title-winning celebrations by inflicting n 11-run defeat on them just hours after skipper Cieran Garner received the league trophy.

Spinners Azeem Rafiq (4-46) and Andrew Deegan (3-55) thwarted former Cleckheaton opener Tim Jackson’s bid to win the game for Woodlands. He made 84 but lacked effective support as his side finished on 212-9.

The champions were left to rue the 53 extras – 26 were wides – which helped swell the Cleckheaton score to 223-9 when they batted first. Nick Lindley and Rafiq both made 42 as the Woodlands spin duo of Chris Brice (4-41) and Kez Ahmed (3-51) posed the main threat.

New Farnley’s top three batsmen were in good form in their 84-run win over Farsley. Adam Waite (9) and skipper Lee Goddard (59) got their side’s innings off to a good start with a stand of 99.

That was followed by a second-wicket partnership of 143 between Waite and Steve Bullen (81) which helped push New Farnley towards their eventual total of 268-9.

Chris Beech (4-50) and skipper Matthew Lumb (3-50) toiled away for Farsley with the ball before becoming the two top scorers in their side’s reply of 184. Beech led the way with 73 while Lumb scored 35. Pace bowlers Alex Lilley (4-38) and Andrew Brewster (4-34) helped seal New Farnley’s victory.

Sunday’s fixtures: Methley v New Farnley, Farsley v Woodlands, Cleckheaton v Hanging Heaton, Undercliffe v Townville, Bradford & Bingley v Wrenthorpe, Pudsey St Lawrence v Lightcliffe.

Champioinship One

The battle for the Championship One title has been turned on his head after leaders Batley suffered their third straight defeat to drop from first to third.

They went down by 65 runs against Keighley and that enabled Morley, seven-wicket winners over Pudsey Congs to take top spot.

Bankfoot also leap-frogged Batley after their crushing 150-run win over an East Bierley side still not mathematically safe from the threat of a second successive relegation.

Just nine points separate the top three ahead of next Saturday’s final round of matches where Morley and Bankfoot have away games against Baildon and Wakefield St Michael’s respectively, while Batley will try to arrest their slump at home to fifth-placed Gomersal.

Keighley opener Richard Gould became the second highest runscorer in Bradford League history after scoring 84 to take his tally to 16,261. Only the former Keighley player Richard Robinson on 17,471 is ahead of him.

Gould helped Keighley to a total of 205-5 which Batley never threatened to challenge as Paul Quinlan (6-38) and Alex Antoine (3-53) dismissed them for 140. Mohammad Tahir (40no) was the only batsman to challenge the dominance of the bowlers.

Pudsey Congs were left to rue their decision to bat first at Scatcherd Lane as they were dismissed for 96. Oliver Halliday (3-12) was the most-successful bowler. Skipper Matt Baxter (35) top scored as Morley knocked off the runs.

Bankfoot skipper James Lee produced another outstanding individual performance as he inspired his side to victory over East Bierley.

He set the tone for his team’s 11th win by making a fine unbeaten 109 which was the cornerstone of Bankfoot’s 252-4. Lee hit four sixes and seven fours in his century and was well supported by Hamzah Iqbal (72).

East Bierley had no answer to the bowling of their former left-arm spinner Andrew Stothart (5-15) and Lee (3-34) as they were bowled out for 102.

It means that Morley lead the way with 244 points, followed by Bankfoot (240) and Batley (235). Up into fourth place are Ossett who have won three and tied one of their last four games to surge up the table.

A second-wicket stand of 131 between Jack McGahan (79) and Harvey Anderson (58) set Ossett on course for a total of 239-7 in their 125-run win over relegated Scholes.

Spinner Jude Roberts (3-87) and Haris Khan (3-70) were the best bowlers for Scholes who were bowled out for 114. Only Josh Fell (34) got going as spinner Matt Varley (4-19) impressed.

Gomersal are another side making a late move up the table. They defeated Baildon by six wickets to climb to fifth.

Callum Flynn led Gomersal to victory with a superb knock of 102, He struck two sixes and 18 fours during a second-wicket stand of 149 with Phil Carter (46) which enabled his side to pass Baildon’s score of 159 with just four wickets down.

Baildon’s batsmen struggled against the bowling of Joe Duffy (4-46) and Chris Rhodes (3-48) when they batted first.

Wakefield St Michael’s will have to win their final game against title-chasing Bankfoot if they are to have any chance of avoiding an immediate return to Championship Two after their 94-run defeat by Hartshead Moor.

Iain Wardlaw went to the top of the Championship One bowling averages after taking 6-22 as St Michael’s were dismissed for just 78.

Hartshead Moor had struggled early in their innings against Imran Mahboob (6-26), but determined knocks from Martin Ellis (37) and James Hardcastle (36) swelled their side’s score to 172-9.

Championship Two

Carlton clinched the Championship Two title with a seven-wicket win over Liversedge whose relegation was confirmed by the result.

The trophy will be presented to Carlton before their final game at home to Bowling Old Lane nest Saturday and it is a just reward for their consistency throughout the league campaign.

Second-placed Birstall are 25 points behind after their four-wicket win over Spen Victoria, but they too can reflect on a job well done after securing promotion.

Only Asad Mahmood (41) and Matt Gibson (33) offered real resistance as Liversedge were bowled out for 112. Kieran Holliday (4-15) and Spencer Hunt (3-42) did much of the damage. Carlton had little trouble knocking off the runs as Daniel White led the way with a knock of 49.

All-rounder Josh Haynes, last season’s Gordon Bowers Young Cricketer of the Year, sparkled as Birstall overcame Spen Victoria.

After taking 4-45 as Birstall dismissed their rivals for 140, Peter Jackson top scoring with 40, Haynes made 50 as Birstall secured victory. Bilal Ejaz (3-42) and Abid Awain (3-55) were the successful Spen Victoria bowlers.

Adwalton’s relegation back to the Conference after just one season was confirmed on the day they secured only their third win of the campaign.

Bowlers Ghulam Hussain (5-75) and Vinit Patel (4-47) joined forces as Hunslet Nelson were bowled out for 167, Glenn Thompson (41) and Andrew McIntosh (34) top scoring.

Adwalton knocked off the runs for the loss of seven wickets thanks to an unbeaten 55 from Usman Shakir which countered the threat posed by Will Stiff (4-44).

Who fills the third relegation spot will not be clear until after Saturday’s last round of fixtures. Hopton Mills are the team most at risk after their five-wicket defeat by Bowling Old Lane left them 13 points behind Altofts and 15 adrift of Northowram Fields.

It means they have to win their match at home to Buttershaw St Paul’s on Saturday to have any chance of catching either Altofts or Northowram Fields who meet on the final day.

Arsalan Ejaz took 5-27 as Mills were all out for 117. Amjid Hussain made 40 as Old Lane eased to victory.

Altofts went down by 17 runs in their clash with east Ardsley. Even an unbeaten 87 from Imran Patel and 39 from Sam Huitema were not enough as their side were dismissed for 217 in response to East Ardsley’s 234-7, in which Louie Hurley (54) and Dan McTiernan (37) led the way.

Northowram Fields secured a nail-biting win over third-placed Yeadon to give their chances of avoiding relegation a huge boost.

Hammy Shahzad set up their success with 5-26 as Yeadon were skittled out for 113. Northowram Fields also found runs hard to come by as left-arm spinner Gareth Lee took 6-15, but they managed to edge home.

Buttershaw St Paul’s moved into fourth place after securing a three-wicket win over Jer Lane. Skipper James Sawyer took 3-31 as Jer Lane perished for 108. Kevin McDermott made 34 as St Paul’s eased home.

Conference

Sandal skipper Kristian Shuttleworth lifted the Conference Championship trophy aloft after his side rounded off their title-winning campaign with a resounding 10-wicket win at East Leeds.

Opening bowler Sam Noden took 7-28 as the home side were dismissed for just 77. Openers Karl Hewitt (40no) and Danny Riley (33no) steered their side to their 15th win of the campaign.

Australian Tyson Freeman took his tally of runs for the season to 811 with a superb 110 as second-placed Great Preston beat Rodley by 229 runs.

Freeman struck 19 fours and was supported by James Marston (37), Kieron Thurston (36) and Stuart Ruddick (35) as Great Preston posted the day’s highest score of 318-8.

Daniel Hill took 4-85 for Rodley, who were bowled out for 89 when they batted. Lee Russell took 4-11, and Freeman (3-18).

Heckmondwike & Carlinghow hauled themselves off the bottom of the league with a surprise three-wicket win over third-placed Gildersome.

Paul Cooper (57) and Adam Holt (47) led the way as Heckmondwike & Carlinghow chased down Gildersome & Farnley Hill’s score of 70, despite the efforts of Josh Edmondson (5-20).

Gethin Clarke (62) and Josh Sturgess (34) led the way for Gildersome & Farnley Hill as Usman Qureshi (5-51) posed the main threat.

Oulton’s season ended in defeat as they went down by 77 runs against Windhill & Daisy Hill. Gaurav Patel took 5-24 as they were bowled out for 114 replying to a score of 191. Adam Swaine’s knock of 73 was the highlight of the Windhill & Daisy Hill innings, while Joe Sykes (4-46) and Matt Boucher (3-46) were the pick of the Oulton bowlers.

Sandal celebrate their Conference title win. Picture: Ray Spencer

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