Seven days on from a miserable defeat to rock-bottom Scholes, Congs showed character, fortitude and merit aplenty to halt leaders Hanging Heaton’s bandwagon, handing them a boost in their travails towards the foot of the ECB Bradford Premier League and doing title-chasing near-neighbours Pudsey St Lawrence a good turn in the process.
But for league representative and club stalwart Ralph Middlebrook, it was the performance and reaction of Congs in a four-wicket win over the Tewits following that limp loss at Scholes that was all important.
Middlebrook, who has seen Congs beat the likes of Heaton, Woodlands and Cleckheaton, but lose to Scholes, East Bierley and Bradford and Bingley in 2016, said: “You cannot explain, in cricketing terms, how you lose the week before to the bottom team and then win the week after against the top team. It defeats me.
“While Hanging Heaton and St Lawrence have pulled away, other teams have inflicted damage as the season has worn on and that makes for an exciting finish.
“From our point of view, we hope it won’t be too exciting!
“We were chuffed to bits with the win and we have a good team who can play, but we haven’t concentrated and batted long enough in many games.”
The foundation for the win for Congs, who started the day in the bottom two, was laid by some impressive bowling with stand-in captain Callum Geldart (3-48), stepping up in place of Gareth Phillips, and Nick Lindley (5-44) helping to dismiss Heaton for 181. Geldart then produced a captain’s knock of 91, at number four, with Middlebrook also hailing the contribution of debutant opener Max Backhouse, who provided ballast with a patient 37.
He put on 112 for the third wicket with Geldart – with the hosts eventually reaching 184-6 in 37.2 overs.
Ismail Dawood (61) and Nick Connolly (45) top scored for the Tewits, whose best with the ball were pacemen David Stiff (3-34) and Tom Chippendale (3-46
Middlebrook added: “Geldart was superb. He was acting captain as the captain was away and when he and Nick Lindley came on, they seemed a bit befuddled by the spin as we were missing our main spinner Josh Wheatley.
“When you think our opening bowlers are 17 and 18, we kept them down nicely and the first change bowler is 20 and we have high hopes for all of them.
“We kept them to 181 and were highly satisfied with the first half and had other fingers crossed.
“Max Backhouse, who came to the club just a month ago and was making his first-time debut, played so calmly and correctly and got 37 and was out when we were at 142 and it was just the sort of innings we wanted.
“Geldart then tore into (Muhammed) Rameez, although he was mortified when he did get out.
“But to score 91 and get three wickets was a great game for him, although it would be unfair to single him out.”
The win has moved Congs up to fourth from bottom in ninth place, 13 points above the relegation zone, with Morley currently occupying second from bottom, with Scholes continuing to prop up the table with fivematches of the season still to go.
THE BRADFORD LEAGUE title race continues to enthral.
Seven days on from a potentially psychologically damaging defeat to big silverware rivals Hanging Heaton in a pulsating affair at Bennett Lane, Pudsey St Lawrence saw the pendulum swing back their way following a much-needed victory over Lightcliffe.
James Smith’s side, who came into the game on the back of a poor run and a grim July – with St Lawrence having lost four of their previous five league matches – seemed re-energised by the start of the new calendar month, securing a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Lightcliffe.
When news of leaders Hanging Heaton’s defeat to Pudsey Congs filtered through, the upshot was that the Tewits’ advantage has now been cut from 20 points to eight with five games to go of an intriguing battle for honours, with Farsley still in with a shout also.
St Lawrence was indebted to a typically consummate unbeaten 100 from Mark Robertshaw, well supported by Callum Goldthorp (80), with the pair sharing in a first-wicket partnership worth a hefty 177 as the Tofts Road outfit overhauled Lightcliffe’s 208-9 with 11.3 overs left.
Robertshaw’s top-class knock featured one six and 13 fours, with off-spinner Chris Marsden taking the ball with an excellent 5-36.
Farsley, in third, secured a big 144-win over Morley, who are deep in trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Matthew Revis, aged just 14, belied his tender years with a composed 64 not out for the Red Laners, sharing in an accomplished sixth-wicket partnership worth 123 with Dan Hodgson (83) – which steered the hosts away from a spot of bother at 83-5; Farsley eventually reaching a sound 240-8.
Replying, Morley were never at the races and were skittled for 96, with Chris Henry afforded kudos with a hat-trick en route to super figures of 5-34.
Elsewhere, Sam Frankland (101) and Logan Weston (115no) shared in a second-wicket stand of 138 as Woodlands (288-2) crushed Cleckheaton (89), while Lee Goddard (54) and David McCallum (4-39) couldn’t stop New Farnley (229) losing out to Bradford and Bingley (266-9).
A FABULOUS 155 not out from Marcus Walmsley proved the high point as Methley saw off Carlton by 122 runs in Championship B.
Walmsley put on 113 for the second wicket with Ashton Blakey (50) and a red-letter day then saw him bag 5-28 as Carlton were dismissed for 158.
Luke Patel (4-63 and 59) also produced a virtuoso show as second-placed Wrenthorpe saw off Bowling Old Lane by three wickets.
Conor Harvey secured a tidy 6-44 as leaders Townville, 43 points clear, accounted for Bankfoot by six wickets, opener Jonathan Booth hitting 54 for the front runners, who cruised home.
Aqsad Ali produced an inspired performance as Championship A leaders Batley returned to winning ways with a comfortable eight-wicket win over basement boys Idle (136).
Ali followed up magic figures of 6-20 with an unbeaten 50 as his side eased home with 15.1 overs to spare.
Craig Wood (79), Ian Carradice (67) and Alexander Debs (52) were in the runs as in-form Birstall (276) saw off Keighley (151) by 125 runs, while Richard Whitehurst (74) helped Ossett (185-9) sink Hunslet Nelson (130).
Adam Greenwood took 4-51 and followed up with 40 as Gomersal defeated Hartshead Moor by seven wickets, while Kiwi Matthew Holstein took 5-12 as Altofts eased past Brighouse, who were back in the pavilion for just 87.