WITH memories of last year still fresh in the memory, you could say there was a bit of palpable relief for Farsley on Saturday.
The Red Laners famously saved their skins in the top-flight on the final day of last term, with no-one needing to be reminded of how the tone for a fraught season set by a morale-sapping winless sequence at the start of 2015 – with their first league win not coming until the end of May.
This time around, the desire to avoid anything resembling a repeat was self-evident with hopes high of a much more positive campaign for Farsley in the new-look ECB Bradford League.
While two defeats in their opening two league matches to the much-fancied duo of Hanging Heaton and Pudsey St Lawrence was not a cause for alarm bells to be reverberating too loudly, the need for a victory sooner rather than later was obvious, with Saturday’s win over neighbouring Pudsey Congs being a sweet one.
Composed stuff from the top order saw Farsley over the line at 251-5 with eight balls left, with sturdy contributions arriving from Jim Pickles (56), Arthur Pick (42), Daniel Hodgson (61) and Greg Pickles (70).
Earlier, Andrew Bairstow hit an superb unbeaten 109 in Congs’ 247-8, well supported by Gareth Phillips (77) – Chris Henry taking 4-41 for Farsley.
On a welcome win, Farsley’s Mark Harrison said: “We have had a tough start to the season. We had a tough game against Hanging Heaton first up, which was a close game which we should have won really – but the top-order didn’t fire.
“But we knew when they did, we would win some matches with the quality of the side.
“You are conscious of getting that first win and now that is off our backs.
“Everyone contributed on Saturday in some way, which is what we need – team performances with everyone stepping up and it was really impressive.
“For me, there were a couple of unsung heroes on a good batting wicket. We lost the toss and a young kid called Adam Ahmed bowled a thirteen or fourteen over spell and restricted them to four an over and that was key to the game. It kept us in control.
“Greg Pickles batted brilliantly at the end and James Price and Jim (Pickles) and the top order chipped in with the top four getting runs and everyone is happy.”
Elsewhere, Nick Connolly hit an unbeaten 68 for Hanging Heaton (179-2), who lead the way by a six-points after a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over winless Scholes (178).
Champions Pudsey St Lawrence (220-9), in second, also made it three wins from three with a key 25-run win at fellow heavyweights Woodlands (195).
Star turns for St Lawrence were Mark Robertshaw (97) and Steve Watts (5-37).
Yorkshire’s James Middlebrook (4-4), Mark Lawson (57) and Simon Lambert (44no) helped New Farnley (124-2) to their first seasonal win, an eight-wicket success over East Bierley (123), who go bottom.
A dramatic game saw Morley (173) and Lightcliffe (173) tie at Scatcherd Lane with Lightcliffe’s Mark Horne run out off the last ball, needing two to secure victory.
Luke Heinemann (77) top-scored for Morley, who rallied from 48-6.
Cleckheaton (227) lost at Bradford and Bingley (242-5).