Bradford League: Bottom four still pose a significant threat, warns title-chasing Hanging Heaton captain Gary Fellows

Hanging Heaton's big-hitter, Callum Geldart. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Hanging Heaton's big-hitter, Callum Geldart. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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HANGING HEATON captain Gary Fellows insists he is reading nothing into his side’s favourable run-in, despite the Tewits handing themselves a giant boost in their title quest after a key victory over silverware rivals Farsley.

The Bennett Lane outfit, who last won the top-flight championship in 1999, picked the perfect juncture to deliver a powerhouse display, headlined by a magical innings by Callum Geldart as they returned to the top of the table in fine style.

Jack Hebden, of Townville, celebrates after taking the wicket of Cleckheaton's Chris Dobson. PIC: Steve Riding

Jack Hebden, of Townville, celebrates after taking the wicket of Cleckheaton's Chris Dobson. PIC: Steve Riding

A handsome 163-run victory over the Rams saw Fellows’ men swap places with their rivals and move ten points clear in a potentially massive moment in an intriguing title race in the Premier League.

The triumph has undeniably shortened the odds of Heaton ending their 18-year wait for the prize that they crave, but Fellows for one has been around the block long enough to know that he and his side must keep their wits about them in the coming weeks.

And the last thing he will be caught doing is reading anything into the fact that their next four games are against four sides firmly entrenched in the four-horse race to avoid relegation in Batley, Pudsey Congs, Cleckheaton and East Bierley before finishing their campaign at champions Pudsey St Lawrence.

Guarding against complacency, Fellows said: “Without a shadow of a doubt. It is not that sort of league where you can look at the table and think ‘well just because teams are down near the bottom of the league then we will definitely beat them’.

Jacques Allen, of  Pudsey Congs, is bowled by East Bierley's Amar Rashid for 19 runs. PIC: Steve Riding

Jacques Allen, of Pudsey Congs, is bowled by East Bierley's Amar Rashid for 19 runs. PIC: Steve Riding

“Not by any means – and we will now have teams who have been big teams who are now in the race for Bradford League Premier League survival that we have got coming up.

“We have got the bottom four teams coming up. But you can look at it two ways.

“They have obviously not been playing great cricket, but also I know that, of the teams who are down there, we have come unstuck against them before. They will be fighting for every single point as it is really tight down there, as it is at the top.

“So we are certainly under no impression that it is done by any means. There is a lot of points still to play for and cricket left.”

A marvellous innings of 176 from Geldart proved the fulcrum of Heaton’s statement-making success over previous leaders Farsley, with the one-time Yorkshire player smashing five sixes and 22 fours as he powered his side to 311-5.

Richard Foster (54) shared a third-wicket stand of 125 with Geldart.

In reply, Farsley were put to the sword by the left-arm spin of Muhammad Rameez (6-47), whose excellent figures helped dismiss the Red Laners for 148, with the visitors’ eye-catching six-match winning league run brought to an abrupt end.

Dan Hodgson (34) was the top scorer for Farsley.

On an outstanding day, Fellows added: “The game could not have gone any better, really. I was pleased with the performance and it puts us in a good position.

“Callum’s knock was very good. I spoke to a few people and they said that. While I have seen that knock before, I have been on the receiving end of it.

“It is one of the reasons that he came to play for us this year.

“We know with his ability that when he gets in, he can make big, big scores and that is exactly what he did on Saturday.”

Third-placed Woodlands remain the dark horses in the title race and kept alive their hopes with an 81-run triumph over Bradford & Bingley.

Woodlands, who were led by Chris Brice in the absence of their skipper Tim Jackson, slumped to 16-3 before recovering to post a challenging 196, with Scott Richardson (43) and Alex Atkinson (31) helping in the salvage work.

Mark Lawson (4-47) and Brice (3-22) then made hay with the ball as B&B were dismissed for 115.

Woodlands are seven points behind Farsley and 17 adrift of the Tewits with five games left in the season.

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IT was a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ for Pudsey Congs, who slumped to a disappointing seven-wicket loss to relegation rivals East Bierley.

A meek batting display proved the downfall for the basement club, who had skittled Cleckheaton for just 35 in a big win seven days earlier.

A week on, Congs were dismissed for just 102 – despite a brave 43 from Irfan Amhjad – with Umar Yaqoob (5-21) and Amar Rashid (4-16) both in the groove for the hosts, for whom Mark Gill (44no) top-scored.

Pudsey St Lawrence did do Congs a minor turn by beating their relegation rivals Batley by nine wickets.

Openers Adam Waite (87no) and Mark Robertshaw (70) shared a partnership of 134, with Batley’s best being Muhammad Khan (53) and Muhammad Tahir (50).

Cleckheaton remain in the bottom two after suffering a seven-wicket defeat to Townville, for whom Jonathan Booth hit a sparkling unbeaten 110, which featured 19 fours.

Top-scorer for Cleck, who are 13 points adrift of third-from-bottom Batley and nine in front of Congs, was Mally Nicholson (71).

Skipper Lee Goddard (50), Dave Cummings (49) and Nick Walker (40) helped New Farnley see off Lightcliffe.

Another dramatic day ensued at the top of Championship One with Scholes being the big beneficaries after losses for promotion rivals Methley and Wrenthorpe.

Ex-Yorkshire bowler James Lee (65 and 4-29) was the architect of the demise of Methley, who suffered a shock 41-run loss at Bankfoot.

Methley’s defeat enabled Scholes to move level with them at the top after a confident win over Bowling Old Lane, with Yasir Ali (4-37) and Farakh Hussain (50) on song.

Wrenthorpe are 14 points behind the top two after a seven-wicket loss to Undercliffe.

Morley’s Sri Lankan spinner Sangeeth Cooray took his best figures of 7-17 as his side dismissed Yeadon for 90 to secure a 69-run win.

Danny Squire (5-16) and Iain Wardlaw (5-27) helped Championship Two leaders Hartshead Moor skittle Idle for 49 in a nine-wicket win.

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Pudsey Congs chairman Ralph Middlebrook.

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