IF a well-known brand of continental lager did top weekends on the cricketing front, then Hanging Heaton have just had one, writes LEON WOBSCHALL.
A league victory over a high-flying rival in Farsley, which saw them leapfrog the Red Laners into third spot in Division One, coupled with a win for the second XI over the same opponents was commendable enough, but the best was yet to come.
That arrived on Sunday when the Tewits reclaimed the Priestley Shield following a five-wicket victory over Pudsey St Lawrence at Keighley, with Steve Bourne’s 64 providing the match-winning contribution and earning considerable praise.
The previous day’s efforts saw the first team ease past Farsley (194-8) by seven wickets, with Dave Paynter (79) and Nick Connolly (74no) in the runs for Gary Fellows’s side, who claimed their fourth league success in their past five outings.
That has left the Bennett Lane outfit with a great chance of securing a top-three finish, which would represent massive progress given that they finished eighth last term.
Cricket chairman John Carruthers said: “It was a bit of a Carlsberg weekend with two wins on Saturday and a cup final win on Sunday! We can safely say that a top-three-or-four (first team) finish would be a definite achievement this season.
“It would be massive progress if you go back five or six years when we were in the depths of the second division. If we had the consistency we are now showing at the start of the season, I am not saying we might have won it, but I think we would have finished definite top three.”
Praising the impact of talisman skipper Gary Fellows, fostering the winning mentality he helped orchestrate for several seasons at CYL outfit Wrenthorpe at Heaton, Carruthers added: “Gary stands head and shoulders above a lot of league cricketers, if I am honest – both with his attitude on and off the field. It’s great to look at your captain and know he leads by example.
“He’s been pretty consistent, while in the past five or six weeks, Nick Connolly and Dave Paynter have also really come into their own and really found their feet at a new club and settled in now.”
At the top, Cleckheaton (306-7) took another significant step towards reclaiming the title and banged another nail into the relegation coffin of rock-bottom Yeadon (208) in the process with a 98-run triumph.
Overseas star Tanzeel Altaf, enjoying a dream of a season, was once again the game-star, smashing a scintillating 91 not out off just 41 balls before taking 5-74 to break the back of Yeadon, 35 points adrift of safety. Also in the runs for treble-chasing Cleck was Andrew Gorrod, who continued his fine season with 80.
Woodlands (221-7) are the only side who can realistically catch Cleck, with Pieter Swanepoel’s side seeing off Bradford and Bingley (133) by 88 runs at Albert Terrace.
A huge clash at the bottom saw East Bierley (125) sink Morley (104) by 21 runs, all this after the former imploded from 116-3 to 125 all out.
Spinners Dave Nebard (4-31) and Kashif Naveed (3-33) did their bit with the ball for the Scatcherd Laners, but poor batting proved their nemesis.
Luke Jarvis took a match-winning 5-29 for Bierley, now 29 points above second-from-bottom Morley.
Faltering Pudsey Saints were obliterated for an embarassing 56 in a 120-run hammering at New Farnley (176-8), for whom skipper Mark Lawson took 4-9 – bowling with pace and not spin.