Bradford League: Yorkshire’s ‘Calypso Congs’ set for TV bow

Callum Geldart
Callum Geldart
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PUDSEY CONGS players plan to be TV stars at the start of next month – after winning their way through to the national finals of the NatWest Club Twenty20 Cup in calypso fashion.

Congs produced a spectacular showing with the bat to help crush hosts Chester-le-Street by 97 runs in a one-sided regional final.

It helped make amends for two previous defeats suffered by the Britannia Ground outfit to their north-east rivals, with the win earning them a place on finals day at Cardiff’s Swalec Stadium on September 1.

The whole jamboree will be screened live on Sky Sports, with Congs competing against Chester Broughton Hall, Exmouth and Ealing in their quest for glory.

It will be a marquee occasion in the history of Congs, who will represent Yorkshire with pride, according to proud representative Ralph Middlebrook.

He said: “I can’t praise the lads enough.

“They fully deserve it and making the finals is a huge honour. Chester-le-Street are in the semi-finals of the National Club Knock-out next week and that shows they are no push-overs.

“We have really played well throughout the competition to beat teams en route to the final at St Lawrence and beating the likes of Wickersley at Undercliffe. Now the icing has been put on the cake.”

Congs certainly booked their place in style in becoming the first Bradford League team to reach finals day.

Opening batsman Callum Geldart, who became the first player ever to make a century in the Bradford League’s own T20 final when he scored 114 against Woodlands last year, hit the heights again with a similarly magical 111 from 62 balls.

Skipper Gareth Phillips also hit a quick-fire 55 from 23 balls before the coup de grace from Andrew Bairstow, who smashed an awesome 53 from just 16 balls, including 34 in a seen-to-be-believed last over.

Congs totalled an amazing 250-5, with the hosts failing to keep pace with the hugely daunting total, ending on 153-7.

Middlebrook added: “I have never seen anything as good in one-day cricket as Callum Geldart’s century.

“It was utterly wonderful in terms of strokeplay and batting and taking the single.

“Andrew Bairstow then came in and hit a four and five sixes off the final over.

“How we got 250 in twenty overs, I do not know. Even Chris Gayle would have been daunted by that total!

“We played absolutely superbly and Chester-le-Street are no mugs and have several players involved in Durham’s first and second-team and they beat us three years ago and two years ago.”