THE early signs suggest that Farsley’s high hopes invested in overseas man Pat Kruger are with good reason.
Just a few weeks into the Bradford Premier League campaign and the South African has already made his mark with both bat on ball.
After hitting a sturdy 40 on a wet track to help the Red Laners to victory in a rain-affected league opener with East Bierley, Kruger showed his prowess with the ball to devastating effect in Saturday’s 66-run win over Townville.
The Poplar Avenue men were blitzed for just 67, with Kruger taking a magic 6-13 as the hosts fell well short after Farsley opened with 133 – opener James Logan leading the way with a well-crafted 53.
It maintained Farsley’s 100 per cent record and despite some disruption to their batting line-up following the late Yorkshire Academy call-up for highly-rated 15-year-old Matthew Revis, the Rams have started the season in pretty seamless fashion.
Club stalwart Mark Harrison said: “We have got high hopes for Kruger and he has settled in really well with the lads and looked a quality player.
“If he can bat like he did on the opening weekend on a wet one, I am interested to see how he bats on a good wicket. He looks very dangerous.
“We have got James Logan all year and Wainers (James Wainman), hopefully, unless Yorkshire pull him. We are looking quite strong again and, hopefully, we will be challenging. We need to go one further really.
“Unfortunately, Yorkshire have pulled Matthew Revis into their academy. We knew he would probably go at some stage as he is a quality player. He is a big, tall, a 6ft 4in player. We did not think they would go that early for him, but it’s good for him.
“We are strong but probably with Revis going up to the academy, we are probably one senior guy short, which we did not plan for. He was due to bat at five or six, so we have had to shuffle it about.
“Adam Ahmed has also gone to Durham academy, but we are hoping he is going to still play a few games for us. We wish him well; he’s 18 and has got an opportunity to play county cricket.”
Early pacesetters at the top are Pudsey St Lawrence after two maximum-point wins, the latest being against Cleckheaton by six wickets.
It was inspired by a fine burst from Yorkshire second-teamer Jordan Thompson (6-45), who shone as Cleck were dismissed for 181 – despite a 94-run stand for the third wicket between Tayyab Tahir (47) and Yorkshire batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore (33).
A magnificent stand of 146 between openers Adam Waite (68) and Mark Robertshaw (59) buttressed Saints’ successful reply.
Champions Hanging Heaton, Farsley and Methley also bagged their second wins, with the Tewits hammering East Bierley by 200 runs.
Captain Gary Fellows went past 10,000 Bradford League runs as he hit his 20th century for them in Heaton’s bumper 288-5, sharing in century stands with Nick Connolly (55) and Ben Kohler-Cadmore (42).
The scene was then set for spin-king Aqsad Ali, with the close-season recruit recording stunning figures of 8-33 to help dismiss Bierley for just 88.
Captain Grant Soames (97 and 4-22) and teenage spinner Harry Sullivan (6-38) helped Methley (225-8) ease past disappointing Lightcliffe (110).
The considerable prowess of Mark Lawson (5-44) and Kez Ahmed (3-36) helped Woodlands (209-8) see off New Farnley (135) by 73 runs, despite a 50 from opener Martin Andersson.
Lawson completed a good day with an innings of 49, with Greg Finn (54) top-scoring.
Overseas Aditya Waghmode (87) and Yassir Ali (5-38) were the star turns for Scholes (162) who beat Bradford & Bingley (91).
PUDSEY Congs got their ball rolling in Championship One with a five-wicket win over Hartshead Moor on Saturday.
Max Chappell took 5-45 as Congs dismissed Moor for 163, overseas Mohammad Khan (66) top-scoring – and the hosts eased home with eight overs left.
Opener James McNichol (55) and Matthew Dowse (5-23) caught the eye for Morley (168-9), who continued their encouraging start to the new league season in confident fashion against Wrenthorpe (71).
Saif Ur-Rehman claimed a super 6-17 as Yeadon (54-4) raced to a six-wicket success at Hunslet Nelson (53), while an excellent unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 102 between Jonathan Boynton (58no) and Jack Seddon (46no) powered Gomersal (169-4) to a six-wicket win at Ossett (166), despite Harvey Anderson’s 56.
A couple of cracking second-round Priestley Cup ties are in store between holders New Farnley and Pudsey St Lawrence and 2017 beaten finalists Methley and league champions Hanging Heaton following the round one action.
Another big round two tie will see Cleckheaton welcome Woodlands.
Simon Lambert (112no) starred in Farnley’s nine-wicket drubbing of Baildon, putting on 208 for the first wicket with Lee Goddard (72).
Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite smashed an unbeaten 135 as Methley eased past Bankfoot by 135 runs.
Another White Rose man in Tom Kohler-Cadmore hammered an unbeaten 67 off 31 balls as Cleckheaton beat Morley by nine wickets.
Farsley’s Pat Kruger sealed his good weekend as he hit 61 as they saw off Bradford and Binngley by 60 runs. The Red Laners will host Scholes in round two.
Gary Fellows top-scored with 78 as Hanging Heaton dispatched Yeadon by 144 runs, while a close tussle saw Hunslet Nelson edge out Hartshead Moor by two runs, with Andrew McIntosh hitting a key 62 for the winners.
Nelson’s reward is a round two trip to Townville.
Gomersal saw off Pudsey Congs by four wickets and they will now play host to Batley in the second round.
Other round two ties will see East Bierley host Lightcliffe and Wrenthorpe entertain Undercliffe.
Second round ties will be played on June 17.