Bradford League: Cleck’ captain Wood wary of late-season dip in focus

George Senior
George Senior
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SKIPPER John Wood hopes to stamp out Cleckheaton complacency with the Bradford League title race blown apart again with four games to go.

Cleck’ approached Saturday’s clash with East Bierley holding a 35-point lead at Division One’s summit and victory might have had some bookies paying out on the destination of the 2014 Bradford League crown.

However, relegation-battling Bierley caused an almighty surprise allowing Woodlands to close to within 21 points of Cleckheaton by beating Farsley.

Wood fumed: “Saturday was a disaster and we weren’t at the races at all. To be honest they just played better than us and we were well and truly beaten by a side that are fighting for survival.

“I don’t know whether we just became a bit complacent when we turned up – that’s the sort of feeling that I got – that a few of us were a little bit complacent in a league where anybody can beat anybody because it’s such a competitive league.”

Cleckheaton won the toss and elected to field, restricting East Bierley to 153-9, despite opener Neil Gill carrying his bat for an unbeaten 69. However, Bierley’s Luke Jarvis returned 6-12, as the leaders collapsed to 112 all-out.

Woodlands took advantage by beating Farsley, leapfrogging their opponents into second-place courtesy of a 33-run victory. Batting first, Simon Mason (82) and Logan Weston (52) put on 132 for the third wicket, as Woodlands posted 245-8.

Farsley could manage only 212-7 in response, with opener Joseph Sayers top scoring with 80.

Wood knows his men are still firm title favourites – but is also aware that by now the Bradford League title could have been, by and large, in the can.

The Cleck’ captain reasoned: “We’re still in a fantastic position – 20-odd points clear with four games to go and Woodlands have still got to play Pudsey St Lawrence which will be a really tough game for them and I don’t think they often win at Pudsey.

“If you’d have said at the start of the season you can be 20-odd points clear with four games to go I’d have snapped your hands off but I feel like Saturday was a missed opportunity really.

“We were 35 points clear and if we’d have won on Saturday I think it would have been a very difficult thing for us to lose.”

Pudsey Congs were victorious by seven wickets in their derby with Pudsey St Lawrence. Saints elected to bat first, but Congs’ James Pearson took 4-48 in restricting their rivals to 163. Callum Geldart (73) and Adam Patel (41 not-out) led the response for Congs’, as they scored 164-3 in 35.4 overs.

Mid-table Lightcliffe hampered Hanging Heaton’s title challenge with a six wicket victory, in a match that was lit up by a stunning performance by Suleman Khan. Khan removed the first six Heaton batsmen on his way to figures of 7-46, helping to restrict the visitors to 248-9, before scoring 80 with the bat, sharing an 137 run third-wicket partnership with opener Alex Stead, who top scored with an unbeaten 125.

Bradford and Bingley had Noman Ali to thank in their 91-run victory against relegation threatened Morley. Ali came to the crease with his side struggling at 117-5, but scored 72 to ensure Bradford & Bingley posted a competitive total of 227-9.

He then took 3-28 to help bowl out Morley out for 136.

New Farnley beat bottom side Yeadon by 19 runs to consolidate their mid-table position.

Lee Goddard top-scored with 88 in New Farnley’s 211-8, before Ian Fisher did the damage with the ball, taking 6-26 to limit Yeadon to 192-9 in their innings.

Undercliffe took another significant step towards the Bradford League Division Two title with a 57-run home victory against Baildon on Saturday.

The hosts scored 232-9 in their innings, with Matthew Crowther, pictured, scoring 66 not out, before they restricted sixth placed Baildon to 175-9, with Nawaz Sardar following up his 54 with the bat with figures of 3-31.

Undercliffe’s closest challengers Saltaire kept the pressure on with a thumping 286-run victory over bottom placed Windhill.

Tinashe Gomwe scored a magnificent 165 to help the visitors to a massive total of 354-5, declared in the 49th over, before Adeel Ashraf (5-26) and Mohammed Munir (4-11) skittled struggling Windhill for 68, in just 23.1 overs.

Elsewhere, Idle closed the gap on ninth-placed Bowling Old Lane by beating them by 91 runs at their own ground. Batting first, all of Idle’s top order batsmen got starts, with William Sharp top scoring with an unbeaten 59, helping his team to 193-2.

In response, Bowling Old Lane only managed to reach 102, with Idle’s Mohammed Zahid and Wajid Hussain taking five wickets apiece.

Gomersal retook fourth place from neighbours Hartshead Moor, with a seven-wicket victory over relegation-threatened Spen Victoria.

Batting first, Victoria posted a total of 191-9, with George Deegan (40) and Robert Burton (30) top scoring, before a century partnership between openers Graham Hilton (85 not-out) and Adam Greenwood (59) laid the platform for a comfortable chase for the home side.

Finally, Muhammed Naeem carried his bat for an unbeaten 83, but ran out of partners as Great Horton posted 183, before the Horton bowling attack shared the load in restricting Brighouse to 179 all out.

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