New Farnley, Woodlands and Hanging Heaton have started the Premier Division season with two wins on the trot, while Batley, Morley and Cleckheaton have been defeated twice. It’s obviously too early to talk about the title race, or relegation for that matter, but early confidence is massive.
Probably the pick of the matches this weekend is New Farnley against Farsley. Both had impressive wins last week with Lee Goddard (141) again taking centre stage with his second successive century in his side’s 187-run win at Bradford & Bingley.
Goddard was joined in an opening stand of 217 by teenager Aidan Langley, pictured, who made his highest Premier Division score of 84 assisting New Farnley to 349-4.The only negative to New Farnley’s fine start is the hamstring injury to Goddard.
Farsley also had an impressive win with wicketkeeper Jonathan Read hitting an unbeaten 94 to steer his side to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Morley.
Read was joined in a second wicket partnership of 143 by opener Chris Beech (63 runs) which was pivotal to Farsley’s chasing down of Morley’s 216-9.
The Woodlands v Cleckheaton derby can be a titanic affair by repute, and one for the neutral. However, Cleckheaton are finding it difficult to bridge the gap of their missing players, and are probably desperate to get their overseas player on the field.
Their capitulation against Townville was uncharacteristic and Woodlands could expect a backlash.
Woodlands had a comfortable victory over Batley with solid batting from Brad Schmulian (44), Sam Frankland (40) and Greg Finn (37), and decisive spin bowling from Kez Ahmed who took six wickets.
Townville could have very easily beaten Woodlands in their first match, and after their dominant display against Cleckheaton will be feeling they can challenge this year.
Their skipper Jack Hughes has certainly started the season well, and his 4-3 at Cleckheaton illustrated what a dangerous bowler he can be.
Bradford & Bingley will have to be on their mettle when they travel to Townville this weekend. They started with a victory over Morley, but were decisively beaten by New Farnley last week.
Methley got their season under way with a resounding 249-run win over their old rivals Wrenthorpe. Methley’s 16-year old opener Alex Cree showed his rich promise by scoring his maiden Bradford Premier League century which helped his side to a resounding 249-run win over their old rivals Wrenthorpe.
They will have got their confidence back after their humbling opening day defeat at the hands of Hanging Heaton and will be favourites to beat Batley.
Batley did not really extend Woodlands last week despite a fine bowling performance from Mohammad Bhoola (4-40).
Hanging Heaton were taken all the way last week by a young Pudsey St Lawrence side that got within nine runs of the target. The batting didn’t fire as well as recently and it was up to their unsung medium pacer James Byrne to save their bacon, with a bowling analysis of 6-70.
Wicketkeeper Shahban Raheem, above, played the key innings for Hanging Heaton, making an unbeaten 55 after his side had slipped from 64-1 to 134-6
They will travel to Morley as early joint-leaders but without opening batsman Nick Connolly who is serving a one-week suspension. Hanging Heaton know that the home team will scrap for their lives on their own midden.
Morley might have lost last week but could take heart from the fighting qualities of wicketkeeper Luke Heinemann who made an unbeaten 62.
Pudsey St Lawrence lost valiantly last week after falling to 56-6 chasing the Hanging Heaton, total of 229-9. However, a characteristic knock of 83 from James Smith, and with assistance from Charlie Parker (39 runs), they threatened to snatch victory for their side at one point.
St Lawrence face Wrenthorpe at Tofts Road knowing that victory will put them back in the mix at the top. Wrenthorpe had an encouraging start to the season with victory over Batley but were put to the sword by Methley last week.
Gomersal and Ossett lead the way in a division which has seen several fancied team flounder. Seamer, Joel Pollard set up Gomersal’s two-wicket win last week over Hartshead Moor with an impressive analysis of 7-30.
Gomersal could have another tight tussle this week against Keighley who beat last year’s League Cup winners Pudsey Congs. Keighley have a real stalwart in Paul Quinlan who scored 60 runs, and also took 4-43 as his side edged the Congs by 32 runs.
Ossett followed their opening day win at Undercliffe with an emphatic eight-wicket win against Lightcliffe. The club’s new overseas player Rishin Patabedigemade made 59 not out, while former Hanging Heaton man James Keen chipped in with an unbeaten 39.
Matthew Varley made all this possible with a fine spell of bowling that brought him 5-35. Ossett go to Birstall this weekend in what is ostensibly the stand-out game in the division.
Birstall have started well with two victories and showed character in their narrow seven-run win at Carlton. In a low scoring affair Brad Lay’s innings of 36 proved crucial, along with the 4-20 bowling spell from left-arm spinner Josh Haynes.
There is no stopping this young, vibrant East Bierley side who beat an experienced Undercliffe team that includes big time players. When they batted first and set a score of 180 they must have wondered whether they were 20-30 short on the good Bierley wicket.
However, they managed to defend it to the tune of a 30-run victory with good performances from Ben Walter (47), Matthew West (41), Danny Cross (4-46) and Jack Hebden (3-48).
This weekend they go to picturesque Lightcliffe knowing that the home team must find their form shortly. In their defeat last week against Ossett. they had Jack Hendy (63) excelling with the bat, but they also have Alex Stead capable of big runs on the day.
Undercliffe will be disappointed with their two defeats given the class they possess in an experienced unit. Last week, they went down to a 30-run defeat at the hands of an up-and-coming East Bierley side, despite chasing a modest target.
Bankfoot will be another testing game for them especially as their opponents were frustrated they could not get their home match on last week.
Pudsey Congs are another well fancied team to start with two defeats. Despite having the services of Yorkshire prospect Sam Wisniewski, they went down to a 32-run defeat at the hands of Keighley.
They did have three players that were in form in Jacob Slator, above, who top scored with 61 runs, Vinit Patel who took 3-29 and overseas player Pramud Hettiwatte who has started to find his feet with 3-43.
They travel to Jenny Lane to meet a Baildon side who will be keen to put some points on the board having lost their first match, and were unable to play their fixture at Bankfoot last week.
The Hartshead Moor versus Carlton fixture features two teams who were on the wrong end of very tight games last week.
However, both sides had good performers with Hartshead’s David McCallum scoring an unbeaten 82, and Carlton’s seamer Jonathan Rudge taking 5-39.
Jer Lane are one of three teams with a maximum of 40 points, Sandal and Northowram Field are the others who have put an early marker down.
It was obvious during pre-season that Jer Lane had a great desire to obtain promotion, and this is further illustrated two games in.
The recruitment of St Vincent overseas player Cosmond Walters could well be the deciding factor in their further elevation as a club.
Walters produced a stunning innings of 161 which powered Jer Lane to a 173-run win over Wakefield St Michael’s.
The West Indian smashed 11 sixes and 18 fours as Jer Lane piled up 347-8 with skipper Raqeeb Younis (41) and Haseeb Rehman (38) also making runs. This week they take on a Yeadon side expected to challenge but have started with two defeats.
Hopton Mills are another side that are determined to do well this term, and last week they chased down a Buttershaw St Paul’s total of 249-9. A stand of 138 for the fifth wicket between Kashmir Talib (83no) and Chris Scott (53) paved the way for the win.
Their opponents this week are joint-leaders Northowram Fields who were involved in a thrilling two wicket win over Scholes. The star man was John Lister who hit 107 including two sixes and 13 fours.
Sandal have started well and will go to Buttershaw St Paul’s with confidence. Brandon Hewlett was the undoubted star of Sandal’s 155-run victory over Hunslet Nelson. He came in to bat with his side in trouble at 95-6 and transformed their fortunes with a knock of 82, and followed up with 7-48.
St Paul’s lost to a good Hopton Mills side despite good batting performances from Matthew Long (68no) and Amer Ayoub (59). The progress of 15-year-old Long is indicative of how the club’s youth policy is now starting to bear fruit.
East Ardsley had a very good win at Yeadon. Solid batting from skipper Richard Vigars (58), Gary Jennings (43) and Josh Wild (40) took them to a score of 226 which turned out to be 39 runs more than their opponents could muster.
This week they have a home match against Scholes who scored 236 last week but could not defend it, losing by two wickets. Saif Tahir, who scored 91 runs, will be the one to watch for East Ardsley.
Two teams without a win, Spen Victoria and Hunslet Nelson, clash on the wide expanses of the Gypsy Lane pitch. Spen were well beaten last week despite Mohammed Dar scoring 57 not out, while Hunslet Nelson suffered an even worse fate, going down by 155 runs.
It’s obviously an ideal opportunity for one of the teams to get their season on track.
Bowling Old Lane welcome Wakefield St Michael’s to Birch Lane in a match that could well feature stacks of runs. Old Lane racked up 278-8 against Spen Victoria with newcomers Hazrat Abbas and Imran Malik making impressive debuts.
Abbas hit three sixes and 11 fours as he made 109, while Malik chipped in with 52. Abbas followed up with 3-54 as Spen were dismissed for 196.
Malik was signed from Drakes Huddersfield League side Marsden and is expected to boost their batting side, while Pakistani overseas player Abbas could propel the side into the promotion race.
St Michael’s had openers Qasar Hameed (40) and Alex Leyshon (34) in form in their unsuccessful pursuit of Jer Lane’s 347-8.
So far, Adwalton’s 150-year celebration has started with a bang as they top Division Three. However, they had to battle hard to beat Crossbank Methodists. An unbroken last-wicket stand of 46 between skipper Chris Bishop-West and Chris Priestley edged Adwalton to a nerve jangling one-wicket win.
They go to Rodley this weekend hoping to extend their league further against a side that have started the season poorly.
East Leeds are another team firing after beating title favourites Altofts to sit in second place. It was a surprisingly comfortable win by 93 runs after the evergreen James Watling caused the most damage with a brilliant 5-27 spell. Watling has been around for a long time, but one can never write him off as he remains the team’s talisman with the ball.
They next meet Liversedge at Robertown Lane. Liversedge are struggling to get their season started with Heckmondwike & Carlinghow beating them last week by 36-runs.
Brighouse are another team on the up and their latest victims were Gildersome & Farnley Hill who was defeated by 71-runs. Quadratullah Aziz was the match-winner for Brighouse with a bowling analysis of 7-32.
Brighouse are at Busy Lane to play old Bradford League opponents Windhill & Daisy Hill. Windhill were very gutsy in defeat last week narrowly losing by nine runs against Great Preston who posted a formidable 293.
Windhill’s Tabassum Bhatti (117) and Chris Heald (98no) needed more tangible support from their colleagues to get over the line.
Altofts face Great Preston in what can only be described as a match between contenders for promotion. Surprisingly, Altofts fell last week to East Leeds, and Great Preston were taken all the way by Windhill & Daisy Hill.
Great Preston’s solid batting from Ben Broxup (67), Ian Newton (57) and Jacob Wright (50no) ultimately got them through.
Crossflatts had their first win in the league when they demolished Rodley by 169-runs. The former Craven League double winners had Mohammad Shahnawaz to thank for the stunning figures of 7-31 to secure victory. Earlier Josh Brooksbank (67) and Joe Greenwood (49) had laid down the foundation for an impressive 247-9 score. They might find Gildersome & Farnley Hill a tougher nut to crack this weekend.
Gildersome won their first match against Rodley, but succumbed to Brighouse despite excellent bowling figures from Martin Morley (4-40) and Jordan Edmondson (3-30).
The Crossbank Methodists v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow match is too close to call with the former losing a tight match with Adwalton, and the latter beating Liversedge.
Division Three: Windhill & Daisy Hill v Brighouse, Altofts v Great Preston, Liversedge v East Leeds, Crossbank Methodists v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow, Rodley v Adwalton, Gildersome & Farnley Hill v Crossflatts.
Pictures: Ray Spencer