THE IMPORTANCE of getting your first win on the board when you are a young and inexperienced side cannot be downplayed.
And for everyone at Pudsey Congs, there was a spot of relief after they recorded their first ECB Bradford Premier League win of 2017 at the third time of asking at the expense of promoted outfit Batley at the Britannia Ground on Saturday.
The flower of youth has its pros and cons and early-season losses to Woodlands and Farsley suggest that 2017 will be learning curve for Congs.
But at least their maiden win has provided a weclome morale boost, with some of their young brigade taking centre stage in the 42-run win over Batley, most notably 15-year-old left-arm spinner Sam Wisniewski, who took a tidy five-fer, sharing top billing with top-order men James Ford and Josh Wheatley.
Club chairman Ralph Middlebrook said: “We are very pleased to get off the mark, but there’s a lot of work to do.
“We have played well in a couple of matches so far and two out of three ain’t bad.
“With Ryan Gibson getting called up into the Yorkshire squad, that hasn’t helped. It is good for him, but not so good for us and that is the risk you take with an emerging player.
“But we have got some really good talent. Young Sam is a really good talent and there’s James Ford and Irfan (Amjad) and (Jamie) Allen, Jon Donnelly and Max Chappell.”
Ford (105) led the batting parade with his first club century alongside Josh Wheatley (95) in an outstanding opening stand worth 182, with Congs posting a total of 250-5.
Winless Batley then fell short at 202, with Wisniewski taking 5-68, well-supported by Wheatley (3-21).
Middlebrook added: “It is a young side, but those are the cards we have selected and dealt and we will stick to it.
“We got off to a cracking start with Ford and Josh putting on well over 100 and Babar (Butt) continued it at the end. Young Sam, a left-arm chinaman bowler, prospered and from his 15 overs, he took 5-68 and at the other end, Donnelly and Josh bowled very tightly.
“They took Sam on and we took our catches.”
Champions Pudsey St Lawrence, Hanging Heaton, Woodlands and Farsley all maintained their 100 per cent records with third successive wins.
A dramatic batting collapse enabled St Lawrence to overcome New Farnley, who lost their last eight wickets for just 39 runs after being set fair at 130-2.
The loss of Simon Lambert (94) sparked a Farnley collapse as they lost out by five wickets after being dismissed for 169, with their lower order imploding, with Chris Marsden (4-31) and debutant Archie Scott (4-31) making hay.
Earlier, captain James Smith top-scored with 64 in the hosts’ total of 173-5.
Nick Connelly’s fine 112 was the centre piece of Heaton’s 94-run win over Lightcliffe.
The Tewits totalled a hefty 331-4 with Connolly sharing in excellent stands worth 135 and 146 respectively with Gary Fellows (77) and Richard Foster (88).
Captain Matt Baxter hit 46 in Lightcliffe’s reply of 237-7.
Quickie Shkym Haynes (5-27), Conor Harvey (4-13) and Jack Hughes (89) excelled as Townville (237-7) showed more encouragement in a big 165-run routing of winless Bradford and Bingley, dismissed for just 72 runs.
A magnificent second-wicket stand worth 255 between captain Tim Jackson (125) and Jamie Pickering (115) helped Woodlands (312-5) beat East Bierley (210) by 102 runs – Kez Ahmed taking 5-58 for the victors.
Farsley prevailed by 25 runs in a high-scoring affair with Cleckheaton.
Ryan Cooper (87), captain James Price (71) and Mark Harrison (71) were all on song as Farsley totalled a strong total of 283-4.
Some fine tail-end batting from Sam Wilson (63) and Awais Ejaz (44) saw Cleck make a game of it before falling for 258, Chris Henry taking 4-74.
PUDSEY ST LAWRENCE had to dig deep to see off Cleckheaton by three runs in a tense Priestley Cup encounter at Moorend.
Charlie Best top-scored with 60 in St Lawrence’s card of 210, with Cleck’s overseas left-arm spinner Qaisar Ashraf (5-27) posing considerable problems.
Mally Nicholson’s unbeaten 72 maintained the Moorenders’ hopes in reply, but they fell agonisingly short at 207-9. St Lawrence, losing finalists last year, host Batley in round two.
Meanwhile, Championship side Wrenthorpe (286-7) claimed the scalp of Pudsey Congs (211) to book a second round tie at home to Birstall.
Luke Patel (91 and 3-35) starred for Wrens, alongside Sam Wigglesworth (89).
Greg Finn (56) helped holders Woodlands (261-8) safely overcome Bradford and Bingley (171) to set up a juicy tie at Hanging Heaton (266), who held sway by 22 runs in a hard-fought tussle with Townville (244).
Nick Connolly backed up his Saturday ton with 91, with Richard Foster striking 51, Jack Hughes taking 4-36 for the visitors.
Hughes (53) then led the way with the bat, but David Stiff (4-31) applied the brakes.
Jordan Laban (100) hit his maiden century for Methley (300-5), who hammered Ossett (80) by 220 runs, with Marcus Walmsley (3-16) and Matthew Lumb (3-27) in the wickets to set up a home tie with Gomersal.
Paul Machell took a stingy 4-7 as Yeadon dismissed Bankfoot for just 68 en route to an eight-wicket win. They welcome Undercliffe in round two.
Opener Martin Anderson made a fine 107 as New Farnley raced past Baildon, with their reward being a home tie with East Bierley. Morley entertain Bowling Old Lane in round two while Scholes host Farsley, with all second-round ties to be played in June 4.
Scholes and Methley maintained their peerless starts in Championship One on Saturday with wins.
Akbar Badshah hit a super 127 in Scholes’ 160-run thumping of Birstall, while Marcus Walmsley struck a well-crafted 98 as Methley triumphed by 30 runs against Gomersal.