Woodlands have been crowned Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League champions for the eighth time in 16 years. They defeated New Farnley by 74 runs to take the title by 11 points from Townville who overcame Batley by four wickets in a low-scoring game.
In a year when Covid-19 has cast a troublesome shadow it was ironic that a positive test was to prove beneficial to Woodlands’ cause and led to overseas player Brad Schmulian being able to make a match-winning 112.
Schmulian was due to return to New Zealand two weeks ago, but Coronavirus meant he was unable to travel, but after serving 10 days in isolation he was able to face New Farnley.
And the man who will take over from Cieran Garner as captain next season, showed just why he is so valuable to his club. He struck 15 fours and ensured that his side secured maximum bating points with a total of 228.
Spinner Gurman Randhawa (3-54) was the pick of the New Farnley bowlers and his success no doubt encouraged the Woodlands duo of Chris Brice (4-25) and Kez Ahmed (4-41) as they set about bowling their side to victory.
Steve Bullen made a battling 61 not out and Adam Waite (35) but this was Woodlands’ day as they bowled out the home side for 154 and avenged their recent Heavy Woollen Cup final defeat.
Woodlands will now be away to the Yorkshire Southern Premier League champions Appleby Frodingham next Saturday in the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Premier League Play-Offs.
For Townville, who were anxiously following the live scores on the league website after defeating Batley, it was the end of their title dream.
Beaten finalists in the Gordon Rigg Priestley Cup and runners up in the league represents a great effort from Jack Hughes’ side. Although they will be feeling the pain and disappointment of going so close in both competitions, they can be proud that they have played some fine cricket.
It was fitting in the final game of the season that the Premier Division’s two leading wicket takers, Conor Harvey (6-43) and Jack Hughes (3-19) should impress as Batley were dismissed for 85 on a tricky wicket. Kasir Maroof (39no) was the only batsman to come to terms with the conditions.
It is to Batley’s credit that they gave Townville a few scares before succumbing to the defeat which confirmed their relegation. Umar Farooq took 4-39 as Townville lost six wickets before edging home.
Morley, who were promoted with Batley in 2019, will be relegated too despite defeating Cleckheaton by 35 runs in their final game.
Paceman Matt Dowse took 6-42 and Nathan Bromby (4-35) as Cleckheaton were dismissed for 84 in reply to the home side’s 119. Iain Wardlaw was the pick of the Cleckheaton bowlers with 4-33.
Morley finished seven points adrift of Wrenthorpe who survived despite suffering a 150-run defeat against a Hanging Heaton side saying farewell to four players who have been key to so much of their recent success, Gary Fellows, Nick Connolly, Joe Fraser and David Stiff.
Fellows, playing against the club he enjoyed so much success with in the Central Yorkshire League, scored 32 and in so doing became Hanging Heaton’s all-time leading run scorer, while Connolly stole the limelight with an unbeaten 177 – his second successive century.
Connolly hit nine sixes and 18 fours and shared in a third wicket stand of 120 with Callum Geldart (73), while skipper Ben Kohler-Cadmore made 34 not out as a total of 373-5 was posted.
Wrenthorpe slumped to 55-5 before Mustafa Rafique (87) and Joe Wigglesworth (67) added 139 for the sixth wicket and helped their side to make 223. Spinner Callum Bethel took 4-44 while Stiff bowed out with 3-63.
Another player making his final appearance was Pudsey St Lawrence batsman James Smith and he marked the occasion by scoring 73 in his side’s 179-run win over Bradford & Bingley.
Charlie Parker’s hard hit 77 not out and 70 from Josh Priestley helped St Lawrence to 296-7 despite the efforts of Yasir Abbas (3-73). Bradford & Bingley were bowled out for 117 with Josh Dracup taking 3-35. Only Arjum Ramkumar (35) made an impression as Saints ended the season with a win.
Farsley rounded off their campaign with a resounding 10-wicket win at Methley. Skipper Matthew Lumb picked up 4-43 against his old club and was backed up by Ryan Cooper (3-32) and Adam Ahmed (3-39) as the home side were bowled out for 118, Jordan Laban making 32.
Farsley’s openers Cooper (77no) and Chris Beech (31no) took just 17 overs to knock off the runs and secure a 20-point maximum for their side.
Woodlands celebrate winning the league title once again. Picture: Ray Spencer
Ossett's players with the Division One championship trophy Picture: Liz Varley
Ossett secured the Division One title in style with an emphatic nine-wicket win over Baildon at Jenny Lane. It was fitting that their all-rounder Marcus Walmsley should hit a century to crown what has been an outstanding first year for him since moving from Methley.
Walmsley made 101 not out, an innings laced with four sixes and 10 fours, as he shared in an opening stand of 128 with George Heartfield (53) before getting good support from Sri Lankan Rishin Patabedgige (60no) as Baildon’s score of 221-8 was surpassed.
Simon Bailey (57), Dwayne Heke (43) and Simon McDermott (34) led the way for Baildon while Walmsley (3-70) was the pick of the Ossett bowlers.
Bankfoot need just one point from their final game against Carlton to be certain of promotion to the top flight after defeating bottom team Hartshead Moor by 51 runs.
Jawad Waheed (4-17) and Seif Hussain (4-28) did the hard work as Hartshead Moor, despite a defiant 53 not out from Josh Marsden, were dismissed for 96.
Bankfoot had found run scoring difficult when they batted first. Seif Hussain (32) was top scorer in their total of 147 as Marsden (3-39) and Daniel Squire (3-45) posed problems.
Birstall, who need to take maximum points at Hartshead Moor next Saturday and hope Bankfoot draw a blank against Carlton, had to work hard for a two-wicket win over Undercliffe.
Skipper Nick Kaye hit an unbeaten 57 and Eri Austin (37) as they overhauled Undercliffe’s total of 206-5 with eight wickets down. Zeeshan Qasim (3-47) against providing the main threat.
The Undercliffe innings was again dominated by opener Ollie Hardaker. He made a fine 124 and took his tally of league runs to 969 in his debut season.
Hardaker dominated an opening stand of 150 with Billy Whitford and hit four sixes and 18 fours in another powerful batting display.
Lightcliffe gave their hopes of avoiding relegation a big boost with a 77-run win at Carlton where skipper Rob Burton took 6-59 to seal his team’s triumph.
Daniel White’s 86 dominated Carlton’s 138 after Lightcliffe had battled hard to post 215 when they took first knock.
Hardaker was dismissed for 28 in Sunday's three-wicket win over East Bierley leaving him on 997 runs and needing three from Saturday's final game to reach 1,000.
New skipper Bailey Worcester (61) played the key innings as Undercliffe chased down East Bierley's core of 186-8. Wicketkeeper Harvey Lockwood (76no), Jack Hebden (34) and Sam Gatenby (30) were the main contributors for East Bierley as Qasim (3-47) and Billy Whitford (3-53) proved to be the best of the Undercliffe bowlers.
Alex Stead made a patient 77 before Finlay Hill’s vital 57 and 30 from Jonathan Whiteoak took the initiative away from a bowling attack led by the ever-reliable Jonathan Rudge (7-57).
The win enabled Lightcliffe to climb out of the bottom two at the expense of Keighley who they visit in their final game next Saturday.
Keighley went down to a 49-run defeat against East Bierley, whose opener Sam Gatenby hit 285-5 as the visitors made 285-5. Gatenby hit a six and 16 fours and was backed up by Daniel Cross (44), Ben Walter (41), Paul Martin (30) and Harvey Lockwood (30no).
Ben Hemsley (58no), Louis Horsfield (46), Shahzada Khan (40) and Max Davidson (38) battled hard but Keighley finished on 236-9 and are now eight points behind Lightcliffe. Martin took 3-46 for East Bierley.
Gomersal are not out of danger after their 23-run defeat by Pudsey Congs. They are just 11 points ahead of Keighley and have a tough fine game at home to champions Ossett to come.
Sri Lankan Pramud Hettiwatte top scored with 63 as Congs made 224 while Sabir Mahmood made 32. Richie Wear was Gomersal’s best bowler with 5-54.
Liam Fletcher (57) and Andy Gorrod (47) top scored in Gomersal’s 201 while Jamie Allen (5-43) and Ryan Heptinstall (3-32) impressed for Congs.
Jer Lane took another step towards securing promotion with a four wicket win over Northowram Fields.
Amjid Khan produced an impressive spell of 5-9 which was backed up by Aezaz Dar (3-52) as Northowram Fields struggled to 126-9. Kyle Welsh (73no) carried his bat through the innings but lacked support.
Jer Lane had to battle hard for their win but Abubakar Dawood (31), Raqeeb Younis (30) and Ibrar Younis (30no) got them home.
Jer Lane have 290 points and are 10 ahead of East Ardsley who won both their weekend games to maintain their late push for promotion.
East Ardsley followed up an emphatic nine wicket victory over Wakefield St Michael’s with a five wicket win over Bowling Old lane on Sunday.
After bowling out St Michael’s for 153 with Ben Smith taking 4-57. East Ardsley cruised to victory as Damien Bowles (76no) and Simon Tucker (46no) shared a second wicket stand of 118.
Farhan Hussain (48no) and Zeeshan Haider (35) guided Old Lane to 189-8 in Sunday's encounter. Louis Hurley (66no) was backed up by Simon Tucker (36) and Damien Bowles (32) as East Ardsley eased to a five wicket win.
Hopton Mills who defeated Bowling Old Lane by three wickets on Saturday, are a further eight points back. Michael Carroll (3-34) and Umar Abbas (3-57) were the key bowlers as Old Lane were dismissed for 135. Farhan Hussain (45) was the top scorer. Gary Senior (33) and Abbas (30) saw Mills to their target.
Gulsheraz Ahmed hit an unbeaten 114 as Yeadon chased down a Buttershaw St Paul’s score of 246-9 to win by seven wickets. Ahmed struck four sixes and 19 fours while sharing a second wicket partnership of 106 with Jonathan Bell (59) and adding 116 for the third wicket with Muhammad Khan (46).
Relegated Scholes defeated Hunslet Nelson by 87 runs to record only their second victory of the season. Ali Rafiq made 69 and followed up with 5-47 as Scholes bowled out Hunslet Nelson for 142 after making 229-7. Adnan Ahmed (60) gave good support to Rafiq with the bat as Alastair Finn (3-37) posed the main threat.
Jamal Khojani (55) top scored for Hunslet Nelson who were kept in check by Rafiq and Saif Tahir (5-24).
Bottom team Spen Victoria suffered a six-wicket defeat at home against Sandal. Brandon Hewlett (51), Will Henshall (44) and Kristian Shuttleworth (30no) enabled the visitors to overcome a total of 190. Haseeb Khan (42) and Mohammad Ullah (34) were Spen’s top scorer while Sam Noden (3-51) and Hewlett (3-54) were the pick of the bowlers.
Sandal recorded their second win of the weekend when they defeated Scholes by six wickets. Openers Leighton Shuttleworth (53) and Danny Riley (46) were backed up by Karl Hewitt (36) as the Scholes total of 158 was overhauled. Andrew Spencer (55) and Ali Rafiq (45) top scored for Scholes as Brandon Hewlett picked up 4-33.
Great Preston require just one point to be sure of promotion after recording a 93-run win over East Leeds.
They now have 306 points and lead by seven from Crossflatts who they face in the final game of the season nest Saturday.
James Conlon smashed eight sixes and eight fours while making 103 while Ian Newton hit an unbeaten 86 and Ben Broxup (34) as Great Preston made 323-6 before bowling out their opponents for 230. Chris Canning (61), Rafi Ullah Khan (54) and Zahid Tarvas (54) made half centuries but Stuart Ruddick (5-57) ensure Great Preston prevailed.
Crossflatts survived a series of scares against Liversedge before scraping home by one wicket. They slipped to 56-6 in reply to 148 before Mohammed Shahnawaz (47) restored some order but they still needed their last wicket pair of Mayank Singh and Charlotte Boulton to see them home. Adam Clarke (4-61) and James Lunn (3-32) bowled well for Liversedge. Boulton (4-35) and Shahnawaz (3-43) took the bowling honours for Crossflatts.
Brighouse are 13 points behind Crossflatts and can pounce if the league newcomers slip up in their final game. Quadratullah Azizi (5-47) and Parvaise Khan (4-25) bowled out Rodley for 73 as Brighouse stormed to a seven-wicket win.
Rodley bounced back from the defeat by scoring 307-7 as they defeated Altofts by 22 runs. Louie Stronach (82), Tom Wharton (72no) and Bailey Wilson (40) helped Rodley to their highest score of the season.
Jordan Carter (76), Sam Denison (62) and Adam Perry (56) led the Altofts response which saw them make 285.
Just a week after beating leaders Great Preston, Heckmondwike & Carlinghow suffered a six-wicket defeat at the hands of second bottom Windhill & Daisy Hill.
Byron Greenwood took 3-25 as Heckmondwike & Carlinghow were bowled out for 125. Matthew Marshall was unbeaten on 35 when Windhill & Daisy Hill sealed victory.
Adwalton openers Will Cutt (94), and Matt Donohoe (73) shared a stand of 173 which was built on by Umar Bashir (60) as a total of 301-7 set them on course for a 118-run victory over Altofts. Dominic Richardson (60) and Elliot Carter (38) top scored in the Altofts reply of 189. Andrew Ingham (5-50) and Chris Priestley (3-40) were the best of the Adwalton bowlers.
Crossbank Methodists bowled out Gildersome & Farnley Hill for 71 as they secured a 148-run victory. Imran Patel (4-34) and Arshad dan (3-22) shared the bowling honours. The Crossbank Methodists’ score of 219-9 was built around the contributions of James Colbourn (47), Simon Copland (43) and Imran Patel (43no). Tom Lindsay (4-24) and Jordan Edmondson (4-42) were the best of the bowlers.