CLECKHEATON are certainly getting their money’s worth from overseas spin king Tanzeel Altaf.
The on-song tweaker claimed nine wickets in victorious causes over the weekend in the league and Priestley Cup against Farsley and Hanging Heaton, respectively, with John Wood’s side now nicely positioned for a treble trophy assault at the business end of the season.
No-one is jumping through hoops yet according to spokesperson Kevin Mitchell, despite Cleck being in the last four of both the Priestley Cup and Black Sheep Trophy and well placed to defend their Division One title at the top of the table.
But the portents are undeniably good with Altaf endearing himself to the Cleck punters in a big way and his team-mates in the field backing it up with some sublime performances.
Altaf came to the party with a fine 5-44 in the 150-run win over a high-flying rival in Farsley on Saturday, which moved Cleck 11 points clear after Woodlands slipped up at home to Pudsey St Lawrence and it has put the Moorend outfit in good heart ahead of the clash with Saints at the end of this month.
Although Mitchell is savvy enough to realise things can quickly change.
He said: “I have to say our overseas has been outstanding and in every game, he seems to be getting three or four wickets – while quite often it’s been five wickets.
“Some of his spin bowling is mesmerising the opposition. Tanzeel is a very wily bowler with a lot of intelligence and he’s adapting really well to say it’s his first year in this country.
“We have also taken our catches in general and some of the fielding and catches taken has been outstanding. Also if someone has failed, someone else has come up with the goods and compensated.
“All the players will say the same thing that if we get 200 runs, we are confident of defending that total. Against Hoylandswaine in the Black Sheep, one of their lads said they we had got 250, they would have been confident of beating us and of course they were all out for 140-odd.
“But what we will not do at Cleckheaton is be disrespectful to any other opposition. Once you say that, it can give people even more impetus against you.
“We will keep our feet on the ground and show others respect and humility.”
Altaf shared star billing with Andrew Gorrod, with his 124 helping Cleck post a hefty 273-9.
Gorrod put on 192 for the first wicket in a magic partnership with Tim Jackson (92) before Altaf got to work on Farsley.
Ex-Yorkshire opener Joe Sayers (63) did his best to stem the tide, but the Red Laners were dismissed well short at 123, Andrew Deegan (3-34) also chipping in.
It was a super Saturday for both Pudsey Saints and Congs, with the former defending a modest 141 to beat Woodlands (131) in the clash of the day.
Chris Brice’s 5-44 helped restrict Saints, but Steve Watts (4-29) also proved a dab hand with the ball, despite the efforts of Logan Weston (57).
Lowly Congs claimed their first win in nine league games in a much-needed 88-run win over Bradford and Bingley (180), inspired by Joe Greaves (64) and Aussie James Pearson (6-53).
Fellow strugglers Yeadon (130-6) also claimed a welcome win bonus against Morley (129-8), Tariq Mehboob helping to rescue the victors from a dodgy 23-5 in reply.
Hanging Heaton (116) were second best to East Bierley (120-4), while Nick Walker (4-29 and 43no) helped New Farnley (111-5) secure an uplifting success at Lightcliffe (109).