Bradford League: Pudsey St Lawrence edge ahead of hanging Heaton as title race hots up

Cleckheaton's Sam Wilson celebrates getting the wicket of Hanging Heaton's Nick Connolly. Pictures: Steve Riding.
Cleckheaton's Sam Wilson celebrates getting the wicket of Hanging Heaton's Nick Connolly. Pictures: Steve Riding.
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YOU could say that the rain was a mixed blessing for title-chasing Hanging Heaton on Saturday.

It was a day when the elements curtailed a number of games, much to several teams’ frustration – with the game between the Tewits and Cleckheaton at Moorend being one of those cut short.

FETCH THAT: Hanging Heaton's Gary Fellows pulls for four against Cleckheaton. Picture: Steve Riding.

FETCH THAT: Hanging Heaton's Gary Fellows pulls for four against Cleckheaton. Picture: Steve Riding.

That said, Gary Fellows’ side were in a spot of bother at 
158-8 – Fellows hitting 47 – when the game was abandoned, with Heaton having to settle for a haul of nine points after Cleck opened with 202-9 in 47 overs following a delayed start.

Meat was put on the hosts’ knock by a fourth-wicket stand of 99 between Chris Holliday (74) and on-song Ian Nicholson (55no), with Heaton spinner Muhammed Rameez passing the 50 league wickets mark with an impressive haul of 6-32.

But the upshot of events is that Heaton are now behind new leaders Pudsey St Lawrence – who endured no rain pain to sink East Bierley by eight wickets–- by two points, although Fellows remains philosophical about Saturday’s events with three games left.

He said: “You have to look at it both ways. Did we gain some points with a draw in the situation it was?

“It was one of those days where you kind of knew that the weather was going to be involved and it was probably a fair result.

“You kind of looked at the forecast and wondered if we were going to get a game in at all. At the end of the day, we will take what we got. If we’d needed 10 runs to win or a wicket and then it rains, then you feel hard done by.

“To be fair, both teams and umpires did all we could to get as good a game in as possible really.

“With the bonus points and things, there are all kind of permutations from matches and this was a fair result really.”

Meanwhile, St Lawrence secured an early finish to sink Bierley after restricting them to just 133 after putting them in.

Bierley looked set for a decent total with Fahid Rehman (64) in eye-catching form at the top of the order, but they soon capitulated and lost their last eight wickets for just 32 runs.

Replying, St Lawrence, despite three rain breaks, were home and hosed in decent time, courtesy of a typically accomplished unbroken third-wicket stand between the ever-reliable Mark Robertshaw and Barrie Frankland, who both reached 53 not out.

The third side in the title picture – third-placed Farsley – were, like Heaton, stymied by the weather.

James Price continued his sizzling campaign with a brilliant 144, with the league’s top run-scorer having now plundered 869 runs this season.

But it couldn’t yield a win for the Red Laners against New Farnley, who were in trouble at 143-7 in reply before the rains intervened and saved them.

Earlier, classy South African strokemaker Price shared in a fine first-wicket partnership of 117 with the talented Adam Ahmed (47) as Farsley posted an imposing 247-8, despite Dave McCallum’s 5-72.

Farnley largely struggled in reply, despite the efforts of Lee Goddard (47) and James Middlebrook (34), with Chris Henry (4-37) and Mark Harrison (3-34) being in the wickets.

But they were saved by the elements, with Farsley 14 points behind leaders St Lawrence.

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