CLECKHEATON caused the surprise of the day in the Bradford League Premier Division as a 56-run success at home to leaders New Farnley opened up the top-flight title race.
A familiar face returned to haunt New Farnley as former player Nick Walker took a match-winning 5-42 to dismiss the leaders for 163 in pursuit of Cleckheaton’s 219.
Overseas player Tayyab Tahir continued his fine recent work by blasting two sixes and 16 fours as part of a fine knock of 96 for Cleckheaton for whom opener Nick Lindley also made a valuable 43.
Ajmal Shahzad (3-53) and Simon Lambert (3-29) proved New Farnley’s most successful bowlers but the subsequent efforts of Walker ultimately won the day for Cleckheaton who sit eighth and now 45 points clear of the bottom two.
New Farnley are now only two points clear of second-placed Pudsey St Lawrence who enjoyed a three-wicket triumph at home to fourth-bottom Lightcliffe.
Saints were one of several teams choosing to start their game at 9am with a view to finishing in time to witness the latest chapter of England’s bid to bring football home and win the World Cup in Russia with the Three Lions completing their latest task on Saturday afternoon with a comfortable 2-0 victory in their quarter-final against Sweden in Russia.
Saints, meanwhile, skittled Lightcliffe for just 80 all out as Richie Lamb (6-27) and Charlie Parker (4-36) cleaned up between them, though the Pudsey outfit then looked in trouble themselves at 45-6.
Yassir Abbas (4-38) and Suleman Khan (3-35) hit back to cause the damage for Lightcliffe but an unbeaten 19 from Parker took Saints over the line at 81-7.
Farsley are 16 points behind Saints in third after their eight-wicket win at bottom club East Bierley.
All-rounder James Logan took 5-19 as East Bierley were sent packing at 99 all out with overseas player Pat Kruger also taking 3-20.
Farsley were then briefly in a spot of bother at 7-2 before Logan (51no) and Dan Hodgson (34no) put on an unbroken stand of 93 to take their side over the winning line at 100-2.
Champions Hanging Heaton are ten points behind Farsley in fourth after a 67-run loss at Woodlands who moved up to sixth and only 25 points off top spot. Woodlands stormed their way to 244-9 led by the efforts of overseas player Ishfaq Ahmed (60) and skipper Tim Jackson (53) in the face of David Stiff (3-43) and Josh Holling (3-73).
Callum Geldart (37) led the chase for Hanging Heaton but spinners Kez Ahmed (5-44) and Chris Brice (3-39) caused sufficient damage to see Heaton dismissed for 177.
Methley are two points ahead of Woodlands in fifth following their 81-run verdict at third-bottom Bradford & Bingley.
Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite (98) and Adam Patel (62) sent Methley on their way to 238 despite the efforts of bowlers James Wilmshurst (3-40) and Bradley Reeve (3-68).
The Bees were then blitzed for 157 all out as Sohail Raz (4-35) and Marcus Walmsley (3-44) blossomed with only Ed Brown (54) getting past the half ton.
Townville are seventh but 16 points behind sixth-placed Woodlands after easing to an eight-wicket win at home to second-bottom Scholes.
Scholes were dismissed for 161 with Shahid Nawaz (3-23) the pick of the bowlers before Townville cruised to a winning 162-2 thanks to a second-wicket partnership of 118 between Jonathan Booth (77no) and Brayden Clark (41).
Shoukat Ali (35) had earlier been the top scorer for Scholes.