How Woodlands and Castleford were put through the mill to reach the Yorkshire Premier Leagues Champions’ play-off final

CASTLEFORD will meet Woodlands in the Yorkshire Premier Leagues Champions’ play-off final on Saturday.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 5:17 am
Bradford League Division 1 champions Ossett, back from left, Marcus Walmsley, Matt Varley, Phil Lamb, Sajith Warnakulasuriya, Max Chappell, George Hadfield. Front, Rishin Mahamarakkala Patabedige, Joe Finnigan, James Keen, Bradley Wood, Myles Wood. Picture: Steve Riding.

However, both teams were put through the mill before clinching their places at Emerald Headingley. Bradford Premier League winners Woodlands were at Yorkshire Southern Premier League champions Appleby Frodingham, who overcame the loss of two early wickets to score 165 after winning the toss and batting.

Opener Alex Grimes made a patient 30 off 90 deliveries, adding 53 for the third wicket with Jordan Cook (21) before both were dismissed in quick succession, but the impetus in came from Jamar Ifill, who scored 55 at nearly a run a ball, hitting five fours and three sixes and dominating a partnership of 72 for the fifth wicket with Matt Morland (24).

Chris Brice combined economy with potency, as he often does, in taking 2-34 off his 15 overs, but the late-innings damage was done by pace bowler Muhammad Bilal (3-42) and off-spinner Kez Ahmed (3-48). When Woodlands batted they could initially find no-one to stick alongside overseas player Brad Schmulian, who was unbeaten on 38 as they tumbled to 112-8, with Kieran Lindley (4-40) and Paul Hilton (3-50) seemingly bowling the Lincolnshire side to victory.

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Aire-Wharfe League Division 2 champions New Rover who have been promoted to the top tier for the first time. Picture: Steve Riding.

However, ferocious competitor Ahmed then came to the crease, and at last New Zealander Schmulian found someone that he could rely on.

The all-rounder made 29 not out at No 8, including one four and two sixes, to carry Woodlands to a two-wicket victory halfway through the 47th over, with Schmulian ending on 62 not out, including five fours. However, as the Kiwi, who topped the Bradford Premier League batting averages, flew home over the weekend, he will not be available for the final. There was even more drama at Savile Park in the other semi-final, where hosts Castleford beat Richmondshire by just one run.

The Yorkshire Premier League North winners looked to be on for a bigger total than 180-7 when openers Chesney Hughes (33) and Liam Hyde (38) added 64, but they needed 46 not out by Christopher Briggs to get to that mark after Sam Wood took 3-34. Richmondshire had their own hero in Matthew Cowling, who made 65, but after Hughes took 3-40, Matthew Rees 2-28 and Jack Young 2-33, they needed seven off the last over with two wickets in hand.

Hughes bowled it and conceded none off his first three deliveries before the fourth was hit for a boundary by Cowling. Then came a wide as North Yorkshire & South Durham League champions Richmondshire seemed to have the edge before Briggs dismissed Cowling and then Craig Marshall with the final two deliveries to give Castleford the narrowest of wins.

Horsforth Hall Park who won promotion to Division 1 of the Aire-Wharfe League with the win at Green Lane on Saturday. Picture: Steve Riding.

The Bradford Premier Division may have finished a week ago, but the lower divisions hadn’t – and Bankfoot finishing runners-up in Division One to go up with champions Ossett. Jer Lane and East Ardsley were promoted from Division Two and will replace Lightcliffe and Hartshead Moor.

Newcomers Crossflatts won Division Three and went up alongside Great Preston, while Scholes and Spen Victoria took the drop from Division Two.

In the Airedale & Wharfedale League, Olicanian and Horsforth have gone down from Division One and will be replaced by Division Two champions New Rover and runners-up Horsforth Hall Park. Kirkstall Educational and Guiseley are the fall guys from Division Two, with Harden and Calverley taking their place as champions and runners-up in Division Three.

The story of the day, however, may well be Colton Institute’s ‘great escape’, surviving the drop from Division 2 by one point after their last pair put on nine runs to take the score past 200 at Bardsey - who won by 40 runs - to get the point required.

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Jer Lane have completed a memorable season.

The Gordon Rigg Bradford League club have won four trophies, completing the quartet by defeating league rivals East Ardsley by 52 runs in the Jack Hampshire Cup final at Spen Victoria.

Their first team also won the Group B T20 trophy at Carlton to add to their Division Two championship victory, with the second team winning their Division One championship.

East Ardsley won the toss and opted to bowl on what was a good wicket and soon ran into a typically swashbuckling Farakh Hussain, with the opener scoring 107 off 73 balls, including 14 fours and five sixes. Captain Raqeeb Younis (13) was very much the smaller hand in their first-wicket stand of 85, and Hussain then added 71 for the second wicket with Cosmond Walters, who became the second centurion of the innings. His 101 came off 71 balls and contained seven fours and seven sixes, with No 6 Ibrar Younis then continuing to bat East Ardsley out of the game with 52 not out, which came off a mere 23 balls and contained seven fours and two sixes.

Only first-change bowler Ashley Pearson escaped punishment in the 306-5, with his eight overs costing just 28 runs, while left-arm spinner Louie Hurley took 3-42.

Facing such a daunting total was too much for East Ardsley, who were promoted alongside Jer Lane from Division Two, and they went from 51-1 to 142-7 before a stand of 111 gave them respectability. Captain Richard Vigars scored 61 and Ashley Pearson 48 and they ended on 254-9, with Arsalan Mahmood taking 4-39.

With the Premiership winners already decided in the Huddersfield League and the Division One champions confirmed in the Airedale & Wharfedale League, attention turned to the top of the Jedi Championship and Division Two respectively.

Skelmanthorpe, who did so well to reach the Sykes Cup semi-finals, won the second-tier table in the Huddersfield League and will be promoted alongside Almondbury Wesleyans to replace Slaithwaite and Mirfield Parish Cavaliers. Marsden and Thurstonland were relegated from the Championship, with Cedar Court Conference champions Hoylandswaine II and Lepton Highlanders taking their place.

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