Bradford League: Price is right for league’s surprise package Farsley

Bradford League T20 Final Day at Pudsey St Lawrence: 
Sohali Raz beats the bat for Methley in the semi-final against Hanging Heaton. He took 4-10 for  the day's best bowling figures. PIC: Steve Riding
Bradford League T20 Final Day at Pudsey St Lawrence: Sohali Raz beats the bat for Methley in the semi-final against Hanging Heaton. He took 4-10 for the day's best bowling figures. PIC: Steve Riding
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THE PRICE is most definitely right as far as Farsley are concerned so far in 2016.

The ECB Bradford Premier Division’s surprise packages have a solid sheen at the top of the order these days, with overseas man James Price looking a cut above in particular in the club’s scintialling season so far.

None more so than the weekend when the Red Laners defied the weather to secure an outstanding 24-run victory over near-neighbours and leaders Pudsey St Lawrence as the title race took a major twist.

South African Price struck an exquisite 84, with his innings featuring three sixes and 10 fours to steer third-placed Farsley to 192-4 in a game reduced to 30 overs per side.

Price shared in a 55-run opening stand with James Wainman (32).

Replying, St Lawrence fell short at 168, despite Adam Waite continuing his good form with a neat 50.

The frontrunners’ progress was curtailed by Wainman, who took 3-35, with seasonal success story Adam Ahmed further confirming his highly-regarded reputation with 4-38 as Farsley inflicted a second successive league defeat upon St Lawrence.

On the impact of Price, Farsley batsman Mark Harrison said: “He has been brilliant for us and loves the club and has integrated well.

“He leads from the front and by example.

“If he scores big runs throughout the second half of the season, then I am pretty sure we will be somewhere near the top end of the table.

“He knows what we expect of him and he is delivering at the minute and, hopefully, we can get a few more hundreds out of him and then we will win some more games.

“In our league, if you get 800 or 900 runs, then you are having a more than good season. But we haven’t put pressure on him and have just said: ‘Bat and enjoy it.’ He has done well opening.

“Ryan Cooper is also worthy of a mention and he has had a different dimension to our side. He provides that consistency in that middle order and has made some good scores.

“He just provides that cutting edge to us.”

After last season’s overseas travails with Jake Fawcett, Farsley have fared considerably better with Price, with a bit of research and a close club friendship going a long way, according to former captain Harrison.

The move has certainly reaped a harvest, with Price having already surpassed 500 league runs this term, with an impressive average of 51.30 in a fine return in his maiden season in the Bradford League after spending last season across the Pennines at Milnrow.

On how Price made his way to Red Lane, Harrison said: “Basically we scouted him from the Central Lancashire League. I am a bit of a cricket ‘badger’ and know my statistics and knew he had got 1,400 runs last year.

“I thought that anyone who could do that was pretty special. We had an overseas player here 10 years ago called Graham Hume and I messaged him and said: ‘What is this guy like?’ His reply was: ‘He is an awesome batter and a great bloke and he will fit right in at your club.’

“As soon as we got that type of reference, then we were keen to get him on board.

“So it basically came about through a friend in our old overseas. It was a good connection to have.”

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HANGING HEATON cashed in on Pudsey St Lawrence’s second successive top-flight defeat to add further high-summer intrigue at the top-flight summit.

While leaders St Lawrence slumped against Farsley at Tofts Road, the Tewits turned over Woodlands by 46 runs at Bennett Lane to signal their own title credentials as they seek to end their wait for league silverware, which stretches back to 1999.

The upshot of both results is that Heaton now trail St Lawrence by just eight points at the top, with the pair meeting at Bennett Lane in a huge game on July 30.

Farsley are a further 15 points adrift of second place and 22 behind St Lawrence with nine matches still to go this term.

Not for the first time this term, second-placed Heaton were indebted to captain Gary Fellows, who again showed his consummate class by striking his fourth century of the season to take his seasonal league runs tally to an outstanding 603.

The one-time Yorkshire player hit exactly 100, comprising five sixes and seven fours, to provide almost half of the hosts’ haul of 217-4 in a game reduced to 38 overs.

Fellows and fellow opener Nick Connolly laid the perfect foundation, not for the first time this season, putting on a superb 143 for the opening wicket.

Replying, Woodlands, minus Chris Brice, fell short at 171, Logan Weston top-scoring with 41, with the wily David Stiff being the pick of the home attack with 4-24.

The only other completed game saw New Farnley consolidate fourth place with a six-wicket win over Pudsey Congs, whose woes deepened at the foot of the table.

It was ex-Tykes man and Congs old boy James Middlebrook, son of Congs stalwart Ralph, who returned to haunt his former club, hitting an unbeaten 71 in Farnley’s successful riposte of 141-4, despite Nick Lindley’s 4-36.

Earlier, Congs mustered 137-4 in the reduced 25-overs-a-side contest, with their main contributors being captain Gareth Phillips (53no) and Callum Geldart (37).

The loss leaves Congs in second bottom, although just 13 points separate the Pudsey outfit and sixth-placed Cleckheaton.

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HANGING HEATON saw their hopes of Twenty20 Cup glory dashed by a scintillating innings of 80 not out from Bradford and Bingley’s Jack Edgar – as the 2011 winners claimed their second title.

Opening, the Tewits mustered 143, with Gary Fellows top-scoring with a fine 58, almost carrying his bat before being the ninth wicket to go.

An inspired knock from Edgar then saw B&B home at 144-6.

In the semi-finals, Nick Connolly’s unbeaten 42 helped Heaton (138-6) see off Methley (134-7), despite the best efforts of Sohail Raz (4-10) and Marcus Walmsley (32).

Pudsey St Lawrence lost out in a ‘super-over’ bowl-off 12-7 to B&B after both tied at 139-8 following a dramatic tussle.

James Smith (43) and Chris Marsden (31) were in the runs for St Lawrence.

Yeadon are the new Championship A leaders following a crushing 143-run win over bottom-placed Idle, while previous leaders Batley slipped up by two wickets to Ossett.

Kiwi bowler Taine Jolley was smiling with dream figures of 6-9 for Yeadon, who skittled Idle for a derisory 40.

Earlier, yeadon made 183-6 declared, Max Maciver and Damon Gormley hitting 50s.

Tim Walton hit 52 as runaway Championship B frontrunners Townville defied the weather to sink Carlton by 53 runs and they are a whopping 56 points clear of Wrenthorpe, who beat Bankfoot by five wickets.

Ralph Middlebrook.

Pudsey Congs plotting another big upset at league leaders Hanging Heaton