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Young ones shine in Methley's fine start

Young ones shine in Methley's fine start

If Methley are going to win the title it is not just thanks to their county players, but also their burgeoning young talent. In beating Bankfoot by five wickets, they have a ten-point lead at the top, and youngsters Jason Marshall (pictured top, 100no) and Alex Cree (53) were monumental in their victory.

Bankfoot put up a good fight and had some steady batting to take their score to 201, and their six bonus points keep them in ninth place. 

New Farnley are sitting menacingly in second place after their resounding 185 run win over Batley. Aidan Langley gave early impetus to the innings with 66, but it was Dan Hodgson with 116 not out who ensured a high total. Seamer Dan Houghton has been entrusted with the new ball and he justified it with 4-19.

The next day, New Farnley almost came a cropper in the Heavy Woollen Cup at Broad Oak, but Alex Lilley came to the rescue with a hat-trick.

It was a tough day for Boris Johnson on the Thursday, and an even tougher one for Batley last Saturday. However, they will have easier matches than this to come, and they are above the bottom two.  They had a memorable Heavy Woollen Cup victory the next day against Ossett to boost morale.

When Bradford & Bingley beat Woodlands the other week it seemed that they could be big players in the league this season. After two crushing defeats the picture looks quite different.

Third place Ossett beat them in some comfort by 92 runs with Nick Connolly and Matthew Race making half-centuries, and Marcus Walmsley showing his prowess with the ball to the tune of 4-31.

However, Bradford & Bingley was back with a bang the next day in the Heavy Woollen Cup, when they defeated Yorkshire Premier League play-off winners Castleford in some style.

Their recently arrived Australian Corey Miller scored a superb century and has added some real class to their batting line-up.

Woodlands are very much in the picture at the top and sit in fourth place after their 43-run win at Red Lane against Farsley.

Tim Jackson (57), Brad Schmulian (55) and Mohammad Bilal with 58 runs in 24 balls built a stiff target for a Farsley side that never really threatened it. The fact that they were just short by 43 runs was much to do with Robbie Millar’s innings of 64.

Townville are lurking not far behind the chasing pack after beating Hanging Heaton. Again, Townville were in trouble with the bat, and again they found somebody down the order to bail them out.

This time it was he unsung James Glynn who made a powerful 60 not out to take Townville to a four-wicket win.

Pudsey St Lawrence are not playing like a team stuck in transition, but after Cleckheaton bowled them out for 126 they were in big trouble. Only Josh Priestley with 40 scored substantially, and this innings would prove to be match defining.

Cleckheaton lost early wickets and were always up against it despite the presence of Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore (22) in their side. The off spin of Chris Marsden (5-37) finally finished them off 20 runs short. This was all after left arm spinner Andrew Deegan had taken 6-22 for a Cleckheaton side sniffing their first victory.

Despite the fact it’s only four games into the season, nobody could have predicted that Hanging Heaton and Cleckheaton would be occupying the bottom two rungs.

There is no doubt that the big match in the Premier this weekend is at Lawns Lane where one of the title favourites New Farnley take on the much-strengthened leaders Methley.

New Farnley will look to left arm Australian quick Liam Guthrie to quell the early batting of Methley if it is a hard wicket.

Ossett can consolidate their third place with victory at Bankfoot, while Townville will look to replicate their Priestley win over Farsley when they meet them again.

Woodlands have a derby match with Cleckheaton knowing that their win-less opponents must come good sooner or later.

Pudsey St Lawrence are doing batter then many punters predicted and if they beat Batley could break into the top four.

Bradford & Bingley need to arrest their slide against Hanging Heaton who remain dangerous opponents despite their position.

Premier Division: Bankfoot v Ossett, New Farnley v Methley, Pudsey St Lawrence v Batley, Woodlands v Cleckheaton, Townville v Farsley, Bradford & Bingley v Hanging Heaton.

Division One

Jer Lane are continuing to blow away the opposition and appear to be a good bet for promotion. Farakh Hussain, above, blasted an unbeaten 123 as his side raced to a seven-wicket win over Keighley, hitting 11 sixes and 11 fours.This maintains their 100% record of taking maximum points from their four matches.

One bright light for Keighley was the good form of Nathan Storton who followed last week’s century with an innings of 74.

Carlton are second and a point behind after their fine win at home to much fancied Undercliffe. Steady batting by Daniel Ford (51), Farrouk Alam (38) and Steve Cooper (33) took Carlton to a par score of 208-7.

Undercliffe were well placed at 151-2 with Byron Boshoff (89) and Danish Hussain (49) effectively winning the match for their side. However, the last nine Undercliffe wickets fell for 39 as they came up 18 runs short. Not one batter reached double figures after the No 3 batsman, revealing a possible lack of strength in depth.

Undercliffe’s former all-rounder Farrouk Alam (4-41) and Kershaski John Lewis (4-44) did most of the damage. This augurs well for a Carlton side renowned for their batting strength, but now appears to have a cutting edge with the ball.

Gomersal have hit form and are now in fourth position, and also look forward to South African Lwandiswa Zuma debuting. However, they were in big trouble at 50-7 against Pudsey Congs until Nick Schofield (77) and Daniel Syme (68) recovered the situation. Gomersal’s seamers Richard Wear (3-39) and Joel Pollard (3-57) then proceeded to clinch a 32-run win.

Congs are now fifth and should be still encouraged by the form of Sri Lankan batsman Yohan Mendis (50), wicketkeeper Joshua Bennett (44), Vinit Patel (4-67) and Adam Pearson (3-63).

East Ardsley are finding life in Division One difficult and are still without a win after being eclipsed by Morley. Opener Jack Rowett’s unbeaten 74 guided Morley to a seven-wicket win after Sri Lankan Kavindu Kulasekara (4-35) had restricted Ardsley.

Baildon had a welcome win at Wrenthorpe with form batsman Kevin McDermott scoring 89 and Jonny Reynolds 59 not out, in an eight-wicket win.

Wrenthorpe are now bottom, and they will look to the experienced Adal Islam, who made 71 against his old club to trigger a revival. However, he will need support from all his team-mates to stave off the very real prospect of relegation.

East Bierley slumped to another defeat despite Matthew West (50) and Harvey Lockwood (32no) batting well in pursuit of Birstall’s 276-7. 

Birstall are now showing the form of last year when they were favourites to go up with Ossett. Brandon Silverwood (72) and Nick Kaye (62) were the chief run-getters, while Juned Delair (4-38) and Dave McCallum (4-39) helped to dismiss Bierley and complete a convincing 100-run win.

East Ardsley are the next side to attempt to halt Jer Lane’s progress, while Pudsey Congs are at home to second place Carlton. If the Congs are serious contenders for promotion, they dare not lose to opponents who will gain quite a sizable point gap on them if that should happen.

Undercliffe need to forget the Carlton calamity and bounce back with a win against Morley. However, it won’t be easy against an experienced Morley side that seem to have found their feet.

The emerging Gomersal have an interesting match at Birstall, while Baildon welcome an out of sorts East Bierley side to Jenny Lane.

Keighley need to get back on track and have the ideal opportunity against bottom side Wrenthorpe.

Division One: Birstall v Gomersal, Baildon v East Bierley, Keighley v Wrenthorpe, East Ardsley v Jer Lane, Undercliffe v Morley, Pudsey Congs v Carlton.

Division Two

Lightcliffe still lead the way and appear to be the team to beat after winning their opening four matches. Opening bowler Jonathan Whiteoak, right,took 5-39 as they bowled out Wakefield St Michael’s for 72 to complete a comfortable 122-run win. St Michael’s are one of six sides in mid table separated by just two points.

Sandal, who are in second place, are flying this season after making several shrewd signings. One of their signings was seamer Michael Carroll who took 6-38 in their 60-run victory over Bowling Old Lane.

Northowram Fields are in a false position in sixth place, and with their batting power could well be one of the pacesetters chasing Lightcliffe.

Kyle Welsh (120no) and Richard Gould (89no) shared an unbroken opening stand of 229 as they powered Fields to a 10-wicket win over Hopton Mills.

The next day it was different batsmen in the Gordon Rigg Jack Hampshire Cup tie who made centuries - South African Harry Hauenstein hit 182 and Ben Grech 121, as they piled up a record score of 445-5 against Rodley.

For Hopton Mills, there were some good individual performances in Kashif Talib who made an unbeaten 73 not out and Sohail Hussain who scored 40.

Third-placed Buttershaw St Paul’s suffered their second defeat of the season when they went down by 26 runs to a Yeadon side showing signs of getting their season back on track.

Muhammad Zulfiqar (53) and Mohammed Sharafat (49) were Yeadon’s major scorers in a total of 229, while Adeel Ashraf (3-19) and Gareth Lee (3-30) helped to ensure maximum points.

Crossflatts have recovered from their opening two defeats and had an impressive victory over Hartshead Moor. Wasim Hussain helped to bowl Hartshead out cheaply by taking 6-43, while Joe Greenwood (51no) was instrumental in leading his side to a six-wicket win.

Great Preston slumped to a surprise five-wicket defeat against Hunslet Nelson. The Hunslet batting was consistent all down the order with Sam Thewlis (58no) finally seeing them home. Thewlis had a good all-round game taking 3-49 in the Great Preston’s innings.

Great Preston also had consistent scorers down the order with James Conlon (50) the best, but their bowling lacked the penetration to defend 223.

The best game on paper this weekend is between Buttershaw St Paul's (3rd) and Sandal (2nd), but the Northowram Fields v Crossflatts dual could run it close.

Fields had four different century makers last weekend and have started to make waves in the division, while Crossflatts have risen to fifth after two fine wins.

The leaders Lightcliffe will be on their guard when they welcome Yeadon to Till Car Lane. Their opponents don’t often play to their potential, but when they do, they will be a very difficult proposition. 

The Hartshead Moor v Great Preston game should go the way of the away side based on this season’s results, but the home side have the experience to do better than what their league position suggests.

Bottom side Hopton Mills have still not recovered from losing a host of players from last season, and they will find it difficult at Bowling Old Lane

Hunslet Nelson and Wakefield St Michael's clash at Gypsy Lane knowing that their bottom four status could change radically with a win. They are both in a cluster of clubs within range of both the top and the bottom.

Division Two: Lightcliffe v Yeadon, Hunslet Nelson v Wakefield St Michael's, Hartshead Moor v Great Preston, Northowram Fields v Crossflatts, Bowling Old Lane v Hopton Mills, Buttershaw St Paul's v Sandal.

Division Three

Adwalton are still lasting the pace at the top with another impressive victory last weekend. They bowled out previously unbeaten Scholes for just 82 with Tom Davidson taking a match-winning 5-12 in the five-wicket win. Only Hamza Khan (31) made an impact for Scholes who have now dropped to fourth.

Liversedge moved into second place three points adrift of Adwalton after recording a four-wicket win against Altofts who all were out for 126, Again, Australian Byron Nicholls impressed with 3-36.

Heckmondwike & Carlinghow are third after an easy eight-wicket win against struggling Crossbank Methodists. Sam Beacham (4-16) and Wajid Hussain (4-25) made sure the target was as modest as 64.

East Leeds had a close call in their four-run win over Rodley. Form batsman Zahid Tarvis (56) was backed up by Kamran Farooq (59) as they built a total of 239. Rodley nearly reached the target, but James Watling’s 3-59 was crucial.

For Rodley, they had some good performers on the day in Gary Sagar (61), Bailey Wilson (52) and Robert Young (40) with the bat, and Jacques Moss (4-16) and Tom Ritchie (3-29) with the ball.

Spen Victoria will take heart from their second win of the season when they defeated struggling Brighouse by five-wickets. Junaid Jamshed took 5-21 and Abid Awain (3-18) as Spen bowled out Brighouse for 81

Windhill & Daisy Hill also had a welcome win, beating Gildersome & Farnley Hill by five-wickets. Shoaib Iqbal took 5-35 as Gildersome & Farnley Hill were bowled out for 111.

Gethin Clarke showed lots of character in his innings of 45 for Gildersome but needed more support from his colleagues.

This weekend leaders Adwalton should prevail in a home fixture with East Leeds, while second place Liversedge will fancy their chances against Windhill & Daisy Hill.

Scholes will look to get back on track at Gildersome & Farnley Hill, as will Altofts at Spen Victoria.

Brighouse are still suffering after losing a multitude of players in the close season. Their opponents this weekend are Crossbank Methodists who endured a similar scenario. Both are in the bottom two and desperate for a win to start climbing the table.

Rodley, who conceded a record score in the Gordon Rigg Jack Hampshire Cup last Sunday, face a stiff challenge from Heckmondwike & Carlinghow who are putting some good performances together. 

Division Three: Gildersome & Farnley Hill v Scholes, Liversedge v Windhill & Daisy Hill, Spen Victoria v Altofts, Crossbank Methodists v Brighouse, Rodley v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow, Adwalton v East Leeds.

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