Reg Nelson previews the weekend action in the All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League
There is no doubt that the match of the day this Saturday is at Albert Terrace where joint-leaders Woodlands take on title favourites Hanging Heaton.
Last week the Woodlands duo of Brad Schmulian and Tim Jackson set a new all-time Bradford Premier League first team record partnership of 326 as they powered their side to a Premier Division win at Methley.
Hanging Heaton, despite injury worries, will certainly test the home side’s title ambitions after they beat another fancied side in New Farnley. Left-armer Josh Holling was the chief destroyer of Farnley with 6-35, and Ben Kohler-Cadmore (29no) got them past the post with four wickets to spare.
Woodlands captain Cieran Garner, pictured above, recognises Hanging Heaton as the people’s favourites for the title, but he is full of praise for his two batsmen that figured in the record stand. He said:“It was a pleasure to watch Tim and Brad last Saturday. Sometimes you see players get 100s and have a couple of lives on the way, but both these 100s were chanceless”.
“For them to go on and break the all-time league record is something they should be extremely proud of, especially given that the standard of the league keeps improving year on year. It was great to see Brad score his maiden Bradford League century in only his second league game for the club, however it was particularly pleasing to see Tim reach three figures and set the tone for his season.
"Everyone knows the ability Tim possesses with the bat and it would be great to see him making big scores on a regular basis this year like in years gone by."
Garner added: “With regards to this weekend, we need to press the reset button and get focussed for what I see as one of the toughest games of the season against a top quality side. Hanging Heaton are most people’s favourites for the league this year, so therefore the pressures is on them to win. We are playing some great cricket at the moment and everyone’s contributing so don’t write us off”.
Methley are bottom of the pile after two matches, but will surely start to rise under skipper Jared Warner. They have a good chance at Wagon Lane against a Bradford & Bingley side who are still not batting with consistency.
They failed to get over the winning line at Tofts Road by the small matter of three runs, but must have fancied their chances of passing 178-9 after overseas batsman Muhammad Afridi laid the foundations with 68,
Wrenthorpe are surprise joint-leaders after beating Cleckheaton by three wickets with opener Irfan Amjad leading the way with 68 not out. They have a further chance of progress when they go to Red Lane to face a Farsley side they have already beaten once this season when they met in the Heavy Woollen Cup.
The batting is proving problematic for Farsley so far, and last week’s capitulation against Townville underlines this weakness.
Cleckheaton’s disappointing defeat against Wrenthorpe will put extra pressure on them to have a positive result against joint-third place Lightcliffe. It was a case of wasting the good work of former Yorkshire spin bowler Azeem Rafiq (5-54) as Wrenthorpe got home.
Lightcliffe, for the second week running, recovered well from a sticky batting position. Last week the hero was former Halifax League batsman Christian Silkstone, who struck seven sixes and ten fours as he made a remarkable ton from 105 balls. This paved the way for a 33-run defeat of Undercliffe who at one point fancied their chances of victory.
As Undercliffe struggle to get two influential signings onto the field, their prospects are not helped by having to face Pudsey St Lawrence this week.
Although the Saints have lost three players they had enough clout to beat Bradford & Bingley by three runs in a thriller.
Barrie Frankland hit a defiant 53 when his team had been reduced to 79-7, and young leg-spin protégée Archie Scott indicated his potential with a vital analysis of 4-24.
If New Farnley are to be serious title challengers they will need to get back on song against Townville whom they beat in the Priestley Cup First Round.
More batting support was clearly needed as Dan Hodgson (45) and skipper Lee Goddard (38) built the foundation for a big score at Hanging Heaton.
Townville will be stiff challengers and proved their worth last week after recovering from setting a mediocre score against Farsley. The consistent bowling duo of Connor Harvey (5-18) and Jack Hughes (3-22) swept through the Farsley batting.
The next day they proved they could tangle with the `big boys’ as they went down by the small margin of six-runs against New Farnley in the Priestley Cup.
Premier Division Fixtures: Bradford & Bingley v Methley, Undercliffe v Pudsey St Lawrence, Cleckheaton v Lightcliffe, Farsley v Wrenthorpe, New Farnley v Townville, Woodlands v Hanging Heaton.
Pudsey Congs have started brightly this season and their two-wicket victory over Scholes has propelled them into third place. Opener Mubtada Akhtar was the architect of the win with a century, proving that the team have more match winners than Yasir Ali.
The Congs will expect another victory this weekend when they take on rock-bottom Wakefield St Michael’s.
Scholes are finding their first win elusive even though Saif Tahir (50), Shahid Rehman (41) and Siraj Hussain (37) were all in the runs last week. They go to Jenny Lane to face a Baildon side that had a comparatively easy seven-wicket win last week against Hartshead Moor.
The Moor has had a torrid start to the season and it gets no easier this weekend when they go to league leaders Batley, who bowled out Ossett for 97 last week. Men in form for Batley were Owais Hussain (55) and Muhammad Shahnawaz (4-28) who ensured the eight-wicket win.
Bankfoot could well be dark horses this season, especially after they won a tight game at Gomersal to record their second win of the campaign to secure fourth position. The next day they had a heroic performance in the Priestley Cup against Hanging Heaton when they very nearly overhauled the 306-8 target.
This weekend they figure in what is in effect the `match of the day’ when they welcome Morley to Wicket Close. Bankfoot chairman and 1,000-wicket man Greg Colehan, above, is looking forward to a good game,
“Hopefully it should be a good game. We always have a tough enjoyable game with Morley, and I think they will be thereabouts the promotion places at the end of the season. They are a top set of lads.
“They have a well-balanced side and with Matt Baxter skippering and opening the batting they look strong up top. Nathan Bromby and Matthew Dowse are as good as any bowling opening pair in the Championship."
Reflecting on the season so far, Colehan said: “Our first game with Keighley was washed out and we have beaten Scholes and Gomersal in a tight finish last Saturday. Hopefully we can challenge again this season after finishing a fine fourth place last term”.
Talking about the Hanging Heaton tie, Colehan added: “We were delighted with our efforts against Hanging Heaton in the Priestley Cup. Losing by 18 runs in a high-scoring contest was a superb effort, especially, when we were 111- 5 chasing 306.
"All credit goes to Arsaam Malik (76), Danny Colehan, (who is only 18), scored 46 after hitting a quick-fire 32 on Saturday to get us over the line against Gomersal, and, Jawad Waheed who hit 52 off 28 balls.
“As a club we were very proud of the whole team. Got to mention the bowlers who battled hard as Hanging Heaton were at one point 176-0 and cruising. The Hanging Heaton lads were very complementary about the day and admitted we were the favourites at one stage towards the end. I am sure this will give the lads confidence going into the season”.
Looking at the team that has been assembled, Colehan revealed: "We recruited two players from Baildon over the winter- Hamza Iqbal who bats top order and has turned his hand to be an off spinner, and the added experienced of Ijaz Ahmed who takes wickets and provides a lot of control as a first change seamer.
“We have a young side that is led very well by James Lee, backed by the experience of Andrew Stothart and Ijaz Ahmed. We have put together a side that’s very local, so hopefully we get a real team spirit going with the young lads Adam Wainwright, Danny Colehan and WK Jack Wakeling all having a their first season at this level. Hopefully they can kick on and be successful”.
Despite Morley being tipped for promotion this season, they struggled last week against East Bierley. Only the weather saved them from defeat as they clung on at 159-9 in reply to East Bierley’s 207-9.
For East Bierley, still searching for their first win, it must have been a bitter disappointment. However, they will be buoyed by the debut of new signing Ompal Boken who made an unbeaten 88, hitting four sixes and four fours in an entertaining knock. Bierley play Ossett, who are another team searching for their first win to kick start their season.
Keighley have made an impressive start to their first season in Championship One, and currently stand second. Last week they breezed past Wakefield St Michael’s in a nine-wicket win which starred Luke Chapman (45no) and Louis Horsfield (40no) with the bat, and Paul Quinlan (3-30) and Alex Antoine (3-27) with the ball.
They will be doubtless be attempting to build in their fine start with victory over seventh-placed Gomersal.
Championship One Fixtures: Pudsey Congs v Wakefield St Michael's, Baildon v Scholes, Batley v Hartshead Moor, East Bierley v Ossett, Bankfoot v Morley, Keighley v Gomersal.
Four points separate the top five clubs with Hopton Mills one point clear at the summit. They continued their impressive start to the campaign by defeating Altofts by seven wickets, and face second place Carlton this weekend. This could well be the match of the day in the division between two in-form sides.
Much-fancied Carlton swept to victory last week against Birstall when they won by seven-wickets after a vital knock of 94 from Daniel White.
Jer Lane are off to a flier in the Championship, and their latest victims were Liversedge, whom they beat again the following day in the Jack Hampshire Cup. They go to a revived Spen who are enjoying something of a renaissance so far this season.
Last week they recovered from 56-8 to record their second win of the season by 54 runs at Northowram Fields. The home side had no answer to Spen’s opening bowler Abid Awain who took 6-54 to bowl out the home side for 110.
Fifth-placed Hunslet Nelson had batsmen in form last week as Patrick Hinchliffe (81no), Andrew McIntosh (57) and Will Stiff (53no) piled up 261-4 in their win against East Ardsley. They face what should be an evenly fought contest against Bowling Old Lane.
Old Lane recorded their first win when they overcame newly-promoted Adwalton by 40 runs. Zeeshan Haider was the main man for Old Lane top scoring with 71, and following up with 3-47.
Birstall have yet to win but will always be a threat with Josh Haynes in their side. Despite losing to Carlton last week, Haynes struck three sixes and 14 fours in a dominating century.
This week they face Yeadon who registered their first win last week when overhauling a Buttershaw St Paul's total of 212-8 to win by two wickets with one over to spare. New signing Tom Lindsay led the chase with an innings of 76.
Buttershaw St Paul's meet old Bradford Central League rivals Northowram Fields with James Crossland and Kevin McDermott in the runs. Fields have not won yet, but can take heart from Sam Gardner‘s bowling analysis of 5-51 in their defeat by Spen Victoria.
Basement sides Liversedge and East Ardsley, clash at Roberttown, looking for much-needed points. Ardsley’s South African opener James Van der Merwe, who made 75 last week, will be the player to watch.
Adwalton lost again, but are at least scoring decent runs. Matt Donohoe (71) and James Sherrin (50) led the way last week, and will be hoping to replicate this form against out of sorts Altofts.
On the Sunday there is one fixture - Yeadon v Hunslet Nelson, with both teams looking to steal a march on their rivals.
Championship Two Fixtures: Adwalton v Altofts, Birstall v Yeadon, Hunslet Nelson v Bowling Old Lane, Buttershaw St Paul's v Northowram Fields, Hopton Mills v Carlton, Liversedge v East Ardsley, Spen Victoria v Jer Lane.
Championship Two Fixture: Yeadon v Hunslet Nelson.
The big match in the Conference is at Sandal where the leaders take on much-fancied Great Preston.
This won’t be the defining match of the season, but it will go somewhere into deciding who has the early impetus as frontrunners in the division. Sandal are already 17-points clear at the top with Oulton in second place on 35-points.
The leaders finished early last week, dismissing East Leeds for 60 in just 20.5 overs on their way to their third win of the season. Opening bowler Sam Noden (5-16) and Lee Geldard (4-12) ripped through the East Leeds batting to set up an eight-wicket victory.
Great Preston had an open date and although 30-points behind Sandal, have a game in hand,
Gildersome & Farnley Hill appear to have advanced this season and are currently in third place after beating Oulton in a hard-fought game with Chris Harris, Adam Campion, Jack Irwin and Michael O’Halloran all shining.
Oulton will be frustrated with their free day after seeing their opener Jonathan Henshaw hit 135 last week in their defeat at the hands of Gildersome- an innings that included two sixes and 24.
Gildersome play a resurgent Windhill & Daisy Hill who have a player in Tabassum Bhatti who can turn games in his side’s favour. Last week he made an unbeaten 82 as he and Adam Swaine guided their side to a seven-wicket triumph over Crossbank Methodists.
East Leeds will be keen to get their crushing defeat against Sandal out of their system, and they have a great opportunity to get back on track again luckless Heckmondwike & Carlinghow.
Brighouse have started slowly and were not very convincing in their first win last week against Rodley. Wajid Hussain made a critical 42 to get his side past the finishing line with four-wickets to spare.
They entertain Crossbank Methodists who lost against Windhill despite a brave innings of 46 from James Coulborn. Rodley still await their first win with a free date at the weekend.
Conference Fixtures: Oulton v Azaad, Brighouse v Crossbank Methodists, East Leeds v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow, Gildersome & Farnley Hill v Windhill & Daisy Hill, Great Preston v Sandal. Free: Rodley.