CHAMPIONS Pudsey St Lawrence flexed their muscles ahead of Saturday’s big showdown with Hanging Heaton with a 35-run victory over Townville.
In the process, James Smith’s side jumped up to second place, 16 points behind leaders Heaton - as Townville suffered a defeat at Poplar Avenue for the first time this season.
Charlie Best underlined just what a shrewd close-season signing he has been by hitting 59 in St Lawrence’s opening innings of 227-9 – putting on 120 for the second wicket with Adam Waite (75).
Shkym Haynes was the pick of the Townville attack with 5-49, and aside from Brayden Clark (61), the hosts were largely off-colour with the bat and were all out for 192. Steve Watts took 4-33.
Farsley are a point behind St Lawrence after failing to sustain their pressure against fifth-placed Woodlands (221-9), who were toiling at 20-4.
Greg Finn (72) and Liam Collins (52) instigated a rally, with James Wainman taking 4-43 for Farsley.
Replying, the Red Laners were restricted to 173-6, despite strong efforts from James Logan (63) and Ryan Cooper (56). Mark Lawson took 5-64 for Woodlands.
Lowly Pudsey Congs (208-4) claimed a fillip by way of a much-needed victory over Lightcliffe (206-8).
Hero of the hour was Ryan Gibson, who took 5-62 and then backed up with 44 as Congs got over the line.
Inconsistent Cleckheaton (121) suffered a disappointing 87-run loss to Bradford & Bingley, while a worrying start to the league season for New Farnley (196) continued with a one-wicket loss to rock-bottom Batley (197-9), who claimed their first league win of 2017.
Key knocks arrived from Sufyran Patel (48) and Jalil Akbar (39), with solid batting from Lee Goddard (58) and Dave Cummings (63) counting for nothing for Farnley.
Scholes maintained their 100 per cent Championship One record with a white-washing of Ossett, with Shoukat Ali (83no) top-scoring in a stand of 160 with Sam Gatenby (60no).
Greg Wood (105) was the star turn as Wrenthorpe smashed 330-5 in their 43-run win over Gomersal.