AS captaincy BOWS go, new Farsley skipper Mark Harrison had a blossoming baptism in front of the Red Lane faithful on Saturday.
The former Burley captain, who has taken over from Barrie Frankland, had a polished first afternoon leading Farsley, who secured a comfortable six-wicket win over near-neighbours Pudsey Congs.
Bowlers Chris Henry (4-21) and overseas man Graham Hume (5-34) did considerable damage with the ball, with Farsley reaching 93-4 in reply in 23.5 overs, with Harrison left to reflect on a good day at the office.
On the appointment of Harrison, chairman David Storr said: “I think it will make a bit of a difference and looking forward, we see it as a long-term appointment for the club.
“Barrie did a good job for us. It was a case of becoming not too much for him, but he had taken a new job and Mark, who had success in captaining Burley, is very much a cricket man and an astute captain who makes things happen rather than let things happen.
“He is very proactive and we are looking forward to him taking us to the next level.
“Coming back into the first division, our first step was to consolidate our position and to take the club forward, we have Mark who knows a lot of people. We think it’s a great appointment and are excited by it.”
The win leaves Farsley nicely positioned in fourth place behind the top three of Cleckheaton, Woodlands and Pudsey St Lawrence and while gatecrashing the leading trio is a tall order, Storr is not putting it past his side.
He added: “I think we should have about ten points more, to be fair. Saturday was a good result, but in the previous three games, we came unstuck a bit and I don’t think the wickets were conducive to us as they were so wet.
“But we feel we’ve still got a chance.
“I think we have surprised a few people we are still around the top three.
“Joe Sayers is available for the rest of the season and that’s a big plus for us, while our overseas Graham Hume is doing well.
“On Saturday, he bowled 15 overs on the trot and really performed very well.
“Overseas players have to get used to the conditions, but you can see Graham is a good bowler and has fitted in really well in the club as well.”
At the top, Cleckheaton (158) were indebted to some stunning bowling from skipper John Wood (5-20), backed up by Iain Wardlaw (4-28) in their 91-run success at struggling Bradford and Bingley, blitzed for just 67.
Eleven points behind the champions are Woodlands (196), who were given a scare by second-from-bottom Yeadon (179-8) before winning by 17 runs.
A fine haul of 6-41 from Safraz Ahmed proved the difference, despite a super 73 from Elliott Herd, who earlier bagged 4-73.
One point adrift of Woodlands in third are Pudsey St Lawrence (294-4) who thumped inconsistent Hanging Heaton (139) by 155 runs, with opener Mark Robertshaw hitting a marvellous unbeaten 158.
He put on 133 for the second wicket with Callum Goldthorp (44) before captain James Smith (60) joined in. In the wickets were Chris Marsden (4-37) and Thomas Hudson (4-51).
Cracking stuff from Nick Walker (55 and 3-17) and Mark Lawson helped New Farnley (165) account for East Bierley (85), while Matthew West’s fine 94 couldn’t stop Morley (201-9) losing at Lightcliffe (280-6), for whom Alex Stead smashed a fantastic 152.
PUDSEY CONGS have secured a spot of salvation in what has been a wretched season by booking their place in the semi-finals of the Heavy Woollen Cup with a victory over Delph and Dobcross.
Congs did it the hard way on Sunday, rallying from 60-5 against their Saddleworth opponents to reach 266-7 after an outstanding 139-run partnership between Callum Gledart (98no) and Andrew Bairstow, above, (81).
Delph had an excellent start in reply, thanks to the efforts of Graeme Simpson (84) and Andrew Gleave (44), who put on 117 for the first wicket.
Greg Buckley (79) then took on the baton, but the hosts fell just short at 252.
Congs host Kirkburton in the last four on July 6, with Methley hosting Townville in the other semi-final.
Division Two Bradford League action on Saturday saw Will Smith (70) and Fahad Ul-Haq (66) excel for Hartshead Moor (193-6) in their impressive 17-run win over visiting Baildon (176).
Smith then backed up with 3-46, with Daniel Squire (3-44) also in the wickets.
Spen Victoria (144) disappointingly slipped up at Brighouse (226-6) for whom Zahid Hussain hit a magnificent 115 not out.
Hussain, whose knock contained a six and 16 fours, was well supported by Tahir Khan (46no) with Rob Warriner (4-49) the pick of the Spen attack.
Imran Patel top-scored with 49 in reply for Spen, with Johannes Van Eee (3-18) and Fakhar Hussain (4-34) in the wickets for the victors.
Leading the way at the top are Priestley Cup semi-finalists Undercliffe (238-8), who vanquished Bankfoot (141) by 97 runs.
Nawaz Sardar hit a polished 92 for the winners, with Michael Halsey chipping in with 4-25.
Israr Ullah (94) and Amer Ayoub (49no) helped second-placed Saltaire (177-4) sink Bowling Old Lane (173-9), Ijaz Khan bagging 5-63.