Farsley’s youthful side are feeling no pressure at the top of the table, so says their skipper Ryan Cooper.
His men hammered struggling Cleckheaton by 10 wickets on Saturday to leapfrog Hanging Heaton, who were on the end of a surprise defeat to Lightcliffe, and despite this, Cooper says there will be no change in the Rams’ mentality.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “We’ve been very careful in taking everything week by week so far and we’ll continue to do that. In Bradford League terms, it’s a pretty young side, so there is a degree of going out, enjoying ourselves and playing without fear. There are a couple of older heads in there who have helped us all out, but in the main we are a team of good young lads.”
One of those youngsters is the Yorkshire-contracted all-rounder James Wainman, who Cooper was quick to single out as one of the reasons his side are flying high.
“Wainers has been brilliant,” he said. “He’s been really consistent and got us off to a really good start on Saturday, along with Chris Henry. He doesn’t get much of a go with Yorkshire but when Ryan Sidebottom retires I’m sure that’ll be his chance.”
It was that new-ball pairing that did much of the damage as Cleck were steamrolled for 75, Wainman claiming 4-27 and Henry 3-13 alongside Greg Pickles’ 2-5. In reply, openers Arthur Price and Jim Pickles raced past the total inside 11 overs.
“We didn’t know anything about Hanging Heaton’s game until they had finished, so that was a bonus, especially with them having gone from 30-odd for none to 93 all out. It’s great to be top but it doesn’t change much as far as we’re concerned.”
They’d have been excused for thinking Hanging Heaton’s chase was a matter of procession, the then-leaders having rolled Lightcliffe for 160 thanks to the efforts of David Stiff (3-40), Tom Chippendale (3-67) and Muhammed Rameez (3-24).
But they were outperformed by Rob Burton (4-27) and John Whiteoak (6-39), who skittled the hottest batting outfit in the division inside just 29 overs. Cleckheaton’s lacklustre showing drops them into the bottom two alongside Pudsey Congs, who came up 10 runs short in their relegation scrap against Batley. Josh Holling may have thought he had given his side the ascendancy as he took 6-47 among Batley’s 169, but aside from Irfan Amjad (38), no Congs batsman really got going.
Another title-chasing side who benefited from an early finish was Woodlands, who chased East Bierley’s target of 100 for the loss of three wickets, Chris Brice’s 11.2 overs yielding 7-17. Skipper Tim Jackson led the way with 42 alongside opening partner Sam Frankland, who scored 37.
Another hotshot opening pair is Pudsey St Lawrence’s Mark Robertshaw and Adam Waite, who shared an unbroken stand of 166 for Pudsey St Lawrence in their 10-wicket win over Lightcliffe last week, but both fell cheaply as their side slumped to 8-3 against a revitalised New Farnley.
Teenage all-rounder Charlie Scott (37) helped stem the fall of wickets with skipper James Smith (32), but their disappointing total of 159-7 was only achieved with an unbeaten 42 from Chris Marsden. New Farnley paced their reply well and all-rounder Richard Atkins (64no) ensured that they got home with 6.3 overs to spare.
Townville’s teenage overseas player Shkym Haynes (4-43) was another paceman among the wickets as he starred in their win over Bradford & Bingley. A number of batsmen got starts but Joe Greaves was top scorer with 28, leaving them a little light at 171 all out.
In reply, Brayden Clark capitalised on his good start as he made 62 to ensure that Townville secured a four-wicket win with 13.4 overs to spare.