Last week’s opening day league programme saw six instances of teams scoring 300-plus in front of grounds shorn of spectators. Let’s hope in weeks to come we will revert back to normal and get the atmosphere back to cricket that deserves it.
Hanging Heaton look like they are intent on challenging for the title under new skipper Ben Kohler Cadmore as they swept aside Methley with a 186-run win at Little Church Lane last week. They piled up a massive 352-8 with Gary Fellows leading the way with an innings of 103.
This week they welcome Pudsey St Lawrence in one of the most attractive fixtures of the day. St Lawrence made 307-7 last week on their way to a 97-run win over Farsley at Tofts Road. Openers Mark Robertshaw (91) and Charlie Best (66) set the tone with a stand of 164.
Cleckheaton had a weekend to forget, losing to New Farnley who lacked their star bowler Alex Lilley through injury, and the next day exiting the Heavy Woollen cup at the first hurdle. However, the stand out performance from tail-ender Iain Wardlaw blasting 76 not out against New Farnley with live in the memory of the Moorenders.
Cleck have a tricky home match against a Townville side that ended losing to Woodlands after `bossing’ the game for much of the time. Skipper Jack Hughes has made a magnificent start to the campaign over the first weekend.
Bradford & Bingley appear to have got a good outfit together under skipper Ed Brown and they started with a comfortable victory over Morley. Opener Kyme Tahirkheli (84) and Bradley Reeve (4-27) were the main men.
The Wagon Laners can test their progress as a team when they take on one of the title contenders New Farnley. The New Farnley skipper Lee Goddard took the plaudits last week making an exhilarating 123 runs from 117 balls to power his side to an eight-wicket win over Cleckheaton. Goddard hit a six and 19 fours as he dominated an opening standard of 128 with Aidan Langley (32).
Farsley will look to get their season started with victory over Morley at Red Lane. They were really up against it last week chasing over 300 at Tofts Road and falling 97 short. Morley will be counting on their overseas player, Sri Lankan all rounder Kavindu Kulasekara giving them a lift as he makes his debut.
Woodlands got out of jail last week at Townville when they looked dead and buried when four of their early batters recorded ducks and the score stood at 6-4. New Zealand all-rounder Brad Schmulian (62) and Scott Richardson (67) helped them to a total of 168, and spinners Kez Ahmed (4-46) and Chris Brice
(4-44) kept their nerve when Townville were closing in to victory.
Woodlands go to Batley who can be unpredictable, but contain dangerous players in their line up.They lost to Wrenthorpe last week despite opener Kasir Maroof carrying his bat for 63 in an inadequate score of 145.
Wrenthorpe will be delighted to have started with a win after losing key players in the close season. Matthew Race was the `go to’ performer for Wrenthorpe last week with a crucial 4-73 followed by an unbeaten 39 to ensure a four-wicket victory over Batley. This week they at home to a Methley side who were stung by their 186-run defeat at the hands of Hanging Heaton.
Premier Division: Batley v Woodlands, Cleckheaton v Townville, Bradford & Bingley v New Farnley, Farsley v Morley, Hanging Heaton v Pudsey St Lawrence, Wrenthorpe v Methley.
Much fancied Undercliffe were brought down to earth with a bumpwhen Ossett beat them by three wickets. Despite the arrival of county player Mark Watts and overseas man Khalid Usman, they lacked the depth on the day to stave off defeat.
They will want to fire at South View Road where their opponents East Bierley will be full of confidence after a brilliant weekend. At Jenny Lane they proved too good for Baildon, chasing the home team’s score of 242-8 and winning by six wickets.
Sam Gatenby (77) and Ben Walter (64no) were the main betters, the latter scoring a sensational 227no the next day in his team’s impressive Heavy Woollen First Round cup win against Wakefield Thornes. The youthful Bierley are a team on the up, but they will be severely tested by the experience of Undercliffe.
Ossett have laid down a marker with victory over Undercliffe, and will be mightily pleased with their new signing Marcus Walmsley who guided them home with an unbeaten 61.They face Lightcliffe this week who will be trying to get back on track after their first game defeat by Birstall. Lightcliffe’s Subhaan Ammar (62) and Alex Stead (399) battled hard but needed more support in their modest total of 157.
Woodlands batsman Brad Schmulian
Birstall reached the heights of 301-6 after Benedict Gundry had smashed a century from just 65 balls. This week they face old Central Yorkshire League adversaries Carlton who were defeated by Gomersal last week.
Carlton has a famed batting side but came up 67 runs short chasing Gomersal’s 279-5,despite solid knocks from openers Daniel White (42) and Steve Cooper (40). Gomersal batsman Jonathan Boynton is always liable to explode with the willow every few weeks, and his unbeaten 101 contained four sixes and 11 fours, to help his side to 279-5 against Carlton.
Carlton could have made a better fist of it if the consistent Gomersal spin bowler Chris Rhodes (5-64) had not been at his very best. Gomersal have a home match against Hartshead Moor who won a low scoring match with Pudsey Congs by two wickets.
Congs lost their last eight wickets for just 12 runs as they were bowled out for just 84. Abhishek Paradkar
(3-5) and new captain Dave McCullum (3-18) were the main instigators of the collapse.
Two of the losers from last week, Pudsey Congs and Keighley, clash this week at the Britannia Ground.
Division One: Carlton v Birstall, Ossett v Lightcliffe, East Bierley v Undercliffe, Pudsey Congs v Keighley, Gomersal v Hartshead Moor.
Title contenders Jer Lane were made to fight very hard before overcoming an impressive East Ardsley side last week. East Ardsley set a challenging total of 244, which included an innings of 51 from Simon Tucker.
However, an unbeaten 96 runs from Abubakar Dawood, a knock laced with a six and 16 fours, enabled Jer Lane to secure a two-wicket win. On the evidence of this match, both sides could well be in contention this season.
Jer Lane go to Wakefield St Michael’s who scrambled to a one-wicket win over Spen Victoria last week, while East Ardsley visit a Yeadon side that suffered a disappointing defeat against Northowram Fields on the opening day.
Sandal had a good weekend winning their first league match against Bowling Old Lane, and also advancing in the Heavy Woollen Cup. An opening stand of 113 between Karl Hewitt (71) and Danny Riley (49) helped Sandal to 237-8 as they defeated Bowling Old Lane by 71 runs. Pace bowler Sam Noden again showed his undoubted class by picking up 5-53. Sandal have a home match with Hunslet Nelson who were fell to a disappointing defeat at the hands of Hopton Mills last week.
Northowram Fields had a resounding win last week with a margin of 99 runs on Yeadon. Kyle Welsh (73 ), Adam Wainwright (42) and Ben Grech (39) all contributed to an impressive score of 25, while Joe Hough (4-26) and Farhan Hussain (3-20) were the best of the Northowram Fields bowlers. They will travel to a Scholes side that lost to Buttershaw St Paul’s last week by five wickets.
Hopton Mills showed ambition in the close season by signing a clutch of good cricketers. They certainly started with a real intent, bowling Hunslet Nelson out for 65 with Umar Abbas (4-17) and Michael Carroll (4-29) doing the damage in the seven-wicket win. Mills play Buttershaw St Paul’s who have a very handy new recruit in leg spinner Michael Flathers who took 5-56 on his debut.
Spen Victoria will be hoping that Bilal Ejaz, who scored an unbeaten 69 in defeat last week, will receive better support when they meet Bowling Old Lane this weekend. Old Lane also lost despite a good innings from Zeeshan Haider of 74.
Division Two: Wakefield St Michael’s v Jer Lane, Yeadon v East Ardsley, Scholes v Northowram Fields, Hopton Mills v Buttershaw St Paul’s, Sandal v Hunslet Nelson, Spen Victoria v Bowling Old Lane.
Title favourites Altofts were really tested last week having to chase Heckmondwike & Carlinghow’s formidable 315-6. However, an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 196 between Ben Walsh (112no) and Danny Eden (87no) saw Altofts put down an early marker.
They will have confidence in their batting, but will not under estimate East Leeds this week with the redoubtable James Watling (4-28) showing early form in his side’s win over Windhill & Daisy Hill.
Another well fancied team are Great Preston, but they suffered a big opening day defeat at the hands of much changed Brighouse. Only Cullum Jordan (4-81) and Ollie Baron (54) came out of it with much credit.
However, they will have a good opportunity to get their season started with a home match against Windhill & Daisy Hill who fell to East Leeds. Veteran Maz Bhatti is still striving to prop up the team from Busy Lane, who also has his accomplished cricketing son Tabassum as a team mate.
If Brighouse continue in the same vein which saw them beat Great Preston by 179-runs, they could just be challenging after a few difficult seasons. Brighouse’s opener Parvaise Khan had a day to remember as he struck 12 sixes and 13 fours while making 172 in a powerful score of 320-8.
However, it won’t be easy for Brighouse at Russell Way against a Gildersome & Farnley Hill side that began the season with a win against Rodley. Gildersome & Farnley Hill’s total of 238 proved too big a challenge for Rodley as they were bowled out for 168 to lose by 70 runs. Josh Potter (52) and Reece Thompson (44) were their top scorers, while Chris Harris (3-18) and Liam Pearson (3-35) took the bowling honours.
New boys Crossflatts were on top for much of the game in their 24-run defeat at Crossbank Methodists. Mohammad Shahnawaz (4-27) helped to peg Crossbank back to 131, but top scorer Rizwan Abid (35) deserved more support from his colleagues as his team was bowled out for 107.
They have another chance to get their first win when they welcome Rodley to their neat, compact ground. Although Rodley lost by 70 runs, they have a dangerous player in Robert Young who is capable of spoiling Crossflatts’ party.
Crossbank Methodists have a match-winner in Imran Patel who took 5-51 against Crossflatts and will be the man Adwalton have to watch this weekend. However, Adwalton had an impressive win last week when they eased to a seven wicket win over Liversedge.
Matthew Walker (42no) and the ever consistent Matthew Donohoe (37) ensured they had little trouble passing a below par score of 154.
Will Atkin made a battling 52 for Liversedge but lacked support as Adwalton’s Chris Priestley picked up 4-29 and Umar Bashir (3-31). Liversedge will need more players firing if Heckmondwike & Carlinghow replicate their batting form of last week when they registered 315-6.
Heckmondwike could not defend their score, but must be encouraged by the form of their three batsmen Kanhu Pattniyik (85), Paul Cooper (57) and Matthew Crowther (44).
Division Three: Brighouse v Gildersome & Farnley Hill, Crossflatts v Rodley, Adwalton v Crossbank Methodists, Heckmondwike & Carlinghow v Liversedge, East Leeds v Altofts, Great Preston v Windhill & Daisy Hill.