THE BEST things come to those who wait – just ask New Farnley.
After losing out in their previous foray in the final of the prestigious Heavy Woollen Cup against hosts Hanging Heaton in the 2013 showpiece, the West Leeds outfit came out smiling at last in Sunday’s finalé with expensively-assembled Drakes Huddersfield League outfit Hoylandswaine at Methley CC.
They secured their maiden success in the competition and their first major honour in fitting style, with an outstanding 121-run success in a high-scoring affair, with Farnley posting a bumper 341-4.
An unbroken stand worth 149 between Nick Walker (92no) and Richard Atkins (49no) helped pile on the runs for Farnley, with ex-Yorkshire seamer Iain Wardlaw emerging wicketless from 10 joyless overs which leaked 70 runs.
At the top of the order, Farnley’s former White Rose contingent fared better, with James Middlebrook (72) putting on 77 for the second wicket with Mark Lawson (38) and sharing in a third-wicket stand of 105 with another ex-county player in former Derbyshire and Durham batsman Lee Goddard (58) – setting up the perfect platform for the late assault.
Spinner Lawson then excelled in taking 5-41 to help yield the man of the match award as Hoylandswaine, beaten in last year’s final with Woodlands, fell short at 220 all out, despite Michael Cramner’s fine 90.
The win continued Farnley’s peerless recent form, which has seen them excel in the ECB Bradford Premier League.
The cup triumph was the prelude to a considerable evening of celebration back at their Lawns Lane ground, with the performance right at the top of the pile as far as league representative Neil Stokoe is concerned.
He said: “Winning should give us loads of confidence and for me, it was definitely the best-ever all-round team display from a New Farnley side that I have seen.
“They have put together a very expensive outfit at Hoylandswaine including ex-Yorkshire and Scotland bowler Iain Wardlaw.
“For us, the Heavy Woollen (Cup) is the best one as it is the oldest cricket club competition in the world.
“We batted really well at 341 from 50 overs, although their fielding was sub-standard. It was the best that we have played for a long, long time.
“Lots of our lads are in good nick and it was a long night, although I did not stay for the full whack!
“It is nice to get the monkey off our back and get our name in lights on something for the first time ever after losing in previous finals.
“It is a really nice feeling to win the trophy.”
The victory has provided gloss to Farnley’s powerhouse run of league form, which has seen them emerge as one of the movers and shakers at the top of the ECB Bradford Premier League. Nick Johnson’s side is well placed ahead of the business end of the campaign over the next month with Farnley unbeaten since losing narrowly against Woodlands back on June 11.
Stokoe added: “We are on a bit of a roll and our last defeat was at Woodlands away, literally off the last ball, (in early June) and we can have a bit of a say in the league with Farsley to play away and we also play Hanging Heaton at home.”
THE ECB Bradford Premier League’s most eagerly-anticipated match of the season lived up to its billing, with plenty of drama before Hanging Heaton emerged victorious against title rivals Pudsey St Lawrence.
The 20-run triumph, in front of a bumper crowd at Bennett Lane, extended the Tewits’ lead to 20 points and inflicted another psychological blow upon St Lawrence, who have suffered a high-summer wobble for the second time in 12 months.
To add to the intrigue in the title race, third-placed Farsley went down by 115 runs at Cleckheaton with New Farnley now breathing down their necks and also just 17 points behind St Lawrence.
But the main incident arrived at Hanging Heaton, where the hosts, who lost run machine Gary Fellows early, were indebted to lower-order hitting from David Stiff (62) and Muhammed Rameez (45no) to rescue the Tewits, who were in bother at 118-6.
They put on a thrilling 99 for the seventh wicket, with their cause helped by some fitful catching from the visitors as Heaton totalled 230-7.
Replying, openers Mark Robertshaw (33) and Adam Waite (73) provided a solid foundation, but it was a false dawn as Saints were dismissed for 210 as they copped their fourth defeat in five matches.
Farsley failed to cash in on St Lawrence’s loss after being skittled for 127 at Cleck, who opened with 242-9 with John Wood (61) and Ian Nicholson (53) hitting half-centuries.
Farnley (199-9) are emerging as possible dark horses after their 61-run success over struggling Morley (138), whose best was Henry Rush (53).
Morley were blown away by an awesome haul of 6-16 from left-armer Mohammed Bilal, with Simon Lambert (72) having earlier top-scored for Farnley, who claimed their sixth straight league win.
Things also tightened up at the bottom of the table, thanks to an excellent win for basement boys Scholes (252-8), who piled on the woe for second-from-bottom Pudsey Congs (169) with just 11 points separating Congs and seventh-placed Lightcliffe.
Scholes’s win was headlined by a fine 107 from Kasir Maroof and a superb 6-45 from Yasir Ali.
Woodlands (101) surprisingly lost to East Bierley (147-6).
FREESCORING tOWNVILLE batsmen Jack Hughes and Jonathan Booth failed narrowly to enter the record books after leaving a trail of destruction against chastened Brighouse.
The one-sided Championship B clash saw the runaway leaders produce a runs harvest in a huge score of 391-5, the highest of the season.
The onslaught was led by Hughes (169) and Booth (141), whose staggering third-wicket stand of 262 was just 14 runs short of the all-time league record.
In reply, Brighouse were dismissed for just 107, Alex Page bagging 5-23.
Townville are 47 points clear of Wrenthorpe (255-8), who eased past Hopton Mills (152), with Greg Wood (61) impressing for the Bradford Road-based outfit.
Ashton Blakey (69no) saw third-placed Methley (162-4) home against Gomersal (159), Sohial Raz taking (5-32).
There was a welcome victory for struggling Hartshead Moor (259-6) who claimed their best win of the season in a 113-run success over Spen Victoria (146), in large part thanks to fine contributions from Craig Field (113), James Hardcastle (71) and team captain Danny Squire (6-43).
The top-of-the-table affair in Championship A saw Yeadon (181-9) cut the lead of Batley (139) to four points after a 42-run win inspired by Damon Gormley’s magic 5-13, with Max Maciver (51) and Ollie Halliday (49) also in the runs.