Priestley Cup: Woodlands targeting cup run after bowl-off boost

Woodlands bowler Chris Brice.
Woodlands bowler Chris Brice.
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SOMETHING had to give when old rivals Woodlands and Cleckheaton met in the Priestley Cup on Sunday.

Hopes of success in the prestigious old competition represented a bit of a lifeline to the duo, more used to battling it out for silverware in the Bradford League top flight.

But after inconsistent openings to the league campaign, Priestley Cup glory looked a far more realistic route to honours.

Woodlands came out smiling, albeit by virtue of a bowl-out win in Sunday’s rescheduled and ultimately rain-affected second-round tie.

In the play that was possible, Woodlands dismissed Cleck for just 98 with stalwarts Chris Brice (3-8) and Sarfraz Ahmed (3-17) doing the business.

Replying, Woodlands were 14-2 after 6.4 overs when the rains came, with the tie determined by a bowl out which the hosts won 2-1 to set up a last-eight home tie with Baildon on Sunday.

Woodlands secretary Brian Pearson, whose side’s only Priestley Cup success arrived in 2006, said: “After being well-beaten in the league by Farsley – who are a better side than people think they are – on Saturday, we bounced back very well after bowling Cleckheaton out for 98.

“But we were always up against the weather and, unfortunately, it ended in a bowl-out.

“But the main thing is that we came through and our season is still alive, with us still playing in the cup as, to be brutally honest, we have too much to do in the league.”

Woodlands’ struggles for consistency have been compounded by one or two injury issues.

Captain Tim Jackson played on Sunday when ‘he probably shouldn’t have done’ according to Pearson, with the top-order man struggling with an ankle injury; the club are unsure about the extent of it at the moment. He will see a physiotherapist later this week, with the club hoping it is a sprain as opposed to ligament damage.

Ahmed also has an ongoing ‘wear and tear’ problem with his knee which is having to be managed. And with several other players also struggling for form, which is arriving in ‘fits and starts’, in the view of Pearson. Elsewhere in the Priestley Cup on Sunday, Pudsey St Lawrence maintained their hopes of a league and cup double after beating Wrenthorpe on a higher scoring rate.

Wrens totalled 184-9 in a game restricted to 30 overs per side, with Jordan Sleightholme top-scoring with 44, well-supported by Luke Patel (40) – Ollie Ashford taking an impressive 5-30. In reply, openers Adam Waite (61no) and Mark Robertshaw (53no) made haste as St Lawrence reached 131-0 in 17 overs before the elements intervened – with the hosts going through. St Lawrence visit Undercliffe in Sunday’s quarter-finals after they beat Gomersal on a superior run rate. Adam Greenwood hit an unbeaten 60 in Gomersal’s 161-6 in the reduced 40-over contest, with Undercliffe stuck at 85-1 in reply after 19 overs.

Scholes also prevailed on scoring rate against Yeadon, with Kasir Maroof firing an unbeaten 84 for the victors who made 163-3 in 25 overs. Yeadon reached 97-7 after 18 overs in reply. Scholes host Lightcliffe, who beat Batley, in the last eight this weekend.

Sunday’s remaining quarter-final sees Hanging Heaton visit holders Bradford and Bingley.

Farsley's Ryan Cooper. PIC: Steve Riding

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