JONATHAN BOOTH’S stellar century ultimately proved in vain for Townville as New Farnley strengthened their lead at the top of the Bradford League Premier Division with a gusty four-wicket victory.
Booth blasted three sixes and 13 fours as part of a superb knock of 130 with the opener sharing a third-wicket stand of 132 with Harry Clewett (64) as eighth-placed Townville set a target of 265-6.
New Farnley hit back strongly as former Yorkshire and England seamer Ajmal Shahzad took 3-58 with Alex Baldwin (75) and Yorkshire wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd (79) having the leaders racing towards their target.
But the toppling of their third-wicket stand threatened to cause a collapse.
Three wickets went tumbling for 21 runs as New Farnley fell to 233-6 but all-rounder Richard Atkins then hit seven fours in an unbeaten 32 to guide his men past the winning post at 266-6.
New Farnley eventually savoured victory with 23 balls to spare to move 14 points clear of Pudsey St Lawrence who are now their nearest pursuers.
Saints stormed to a nine-wicket romp at home to bottom club East Bierley who are 62 points behind second-bottom Bradford & Bingley and 68 points adrift of safety.
The 19 runs scored by Shabir Rashid proved the best contribution from any East Bierley batsman as the division’s bottom side were skittled for just 101 all out with left-armer Charlie Parker taking 5-37 and supported by leg spinner Tom Hudson (3-12).
Saints eased to their latest victory with opener Mark Robertshaw caning 12 fours and a six as part of an unbeaten 62 as the hosts reached 102 for the loss of just one wicket.
Champions Hanging Heaton are now five points behind Saints in third after a 71-run success at home to Farsley who dropped from second to fourth.
After a delayed start, last year’s Bradford League kings smashed their way to 248-6 in 40 overs after good turns from Callum Geldart (64), Joe Fraser (38), Ishmail Dawood (37no) and captain and opening batsman Gary Fellows (31).
Aqsad Ali had the Farsley batsmen in a spin as he took 4-25 to ensure they were dismissed well short at 177 despite a valiant effort from Dan Hodgson who made 84.
Farsley are now four points behind Hanging Heaton and 15 ahead of fifth-placed Methley who edged a two-wicket verdict at a Woodlands side who booked their place in a seventh Priestley Cup final the following day.
Overseas player Ishfaq Ahmad proved the star as Woodlands batted first in Saturday’s league clash as he smashed nine fours and four sixes to make 97 with Liam Collins (41) and Kez Ahmed (39) adding the chief support.
Methley’s Sohail Raz took 3-73 but Woodlands were still able to set a target of 265-5.
Methley, though, proved equal to the task as an unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership of 74 from just 48 balls between Waqas Ahmed (45no) and Sohail Raz (33no) took the visitors to 265-7 in the final over.
Methley were looking goosed at 24-3 before Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite (63) and Adam Patel (46) put on 108 for the fourth wicket but their exit saw them crumble to 192-8 before Raz and Ahmed hammered seven sixes and three fours to win the day.
Woodlands bounced back the following day with a five-wicket win in a reduced overs game against Townville in the Priestley Cup semi final.
The other semi final between New Farnley and Farsley will take place this Sunday after being postponed.
Elsewhere in the league on Saturday, second-bottom Bradford & Bingley recorded a 31-run win at home to seventh-placed Cleckheaton but third-bottom Scholes also won.
They achieved a seven-wicket win at home over fourth-bottom Lightcliffe with both games decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Meanwhile, the Heavy Woollen Cup final will now be played on Sunday, September 2.