‘Rudderless’ Woodlands repeat cup final triumph

Woodlands' Heavy Woollen Challenge Cup winners 2017
Woodlands' Heavy Woollen Challenge Cup winners 2017
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THE sense of déjà vu was unmistakable for Woodlands on Sunday.

For the second time in three seasons, the Albert Terrace outfit lifted the Heavy Woollen Cup at the expense of Drakes Huddersfield League side Hoylandswaine – and once again, the victors achieved the feat without their regular captain leading them out.

Chris Brice and Sam Frankland of Woodlands raose the Heavy Woollen Challenge Cup

Chris Brice and Sam Frankland of Woodlands raose the Heavy Woollen Challenge Cup

Woodlands were without former captain and Yorkshire paceman Pieter Swanepoel for their win over ’Swaine two years ago and this time around, they had to make do without current leader Tim Jackson, who was setting off on holiday.

It was left to acting captain Chris Brice and another experienced figure in Sam Frankland to lead the way in Sunday’s final at Hanging Heaton and they were left smiling at the end as they lifted the HW Cup, Woodlands confirming their reputation as cup specialists following a three-wicket win.

Cricket secretary Brian Pearson said: “Our form has not been consistent and we had a very poor performance on Saturday where we didn’t acquit ourselves (well). But we came to the party on Sunday.

“We were missing Jacko, which was a big loss for us. Interestingly, Swanepoel missed the last (HW) final as well, so we have had our captains out when we have beaten them twice.

“Pete was in South Africa a couple of years ago and Jacko had booked a holiday this year. When he looked at the fixture list, he booked it Sunday to Friday, so that he didn’t miss any cricket. But of course, they moved the date and that was why he missed it.”

Opening, ’Swaine were restricted to 213 at Bennett Lane, with their key contributors being Gurman Randhawa (57) and Chris Holliday (51).

Elliot Richardson took 3-39 for Woodlands, while Brice’s 10 overs yielded typically economical figures of 2-23.

Replying, Woodlands were indebted to two partnerships of note, with the first arriving by virtue of an excellent second-wicket stand worth 107 between Frankland (67) and wicketkeeper Greg Finn (53).

Finn then joined forces to positive effect with Alex Atkinson (34) and despite Woodlands suffering a wobble when they lost four wickets for just 14 runs, they held their nerve to finish on 217-7.

Pearson added: “A total of 213 on Hanging Heaton’s ground was less than a par score to chase. Our bowlers, as they have done all season, bowled really well and mixed the bowling up.

“I think they felt they had got enough as there was a little bit in the wicket and it was bouncy and they have a big pace attack. But Sam Frankland batted superbly and Finny as well. We’ve promoted him in the batting and he has answered the call.

“Him and Sam put on about 110 and then him (Finn) and Atkinson put on another 60.

“We were about 180-2 with loads of overs left, but then played a few false shots and then lost three wickets for six balls.

“But we played well in the end and were deserved winners.

“It is three years on the trot that we have won a cup and we shouldn’t grumble.

“Our second team are also top of the league and we are in the Priestley Shield and Crowther Cup final too.”

Pudsey St Lawrence reached their second-successive Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy final with a nine-wicket win over Wakefield Thornes in their semi-final replay at Tofts Road on Sunday.

They will face holders York at Masham on September 10 in a repeat of the 2016 showpiece.

It was a sweet win for St Lawrence, who were beaten by Thornes in last year’s Yorkshire Premier League final in Abu Dhabi.

Star turns were Mark Robertshaw (85) and Adam Waite (83no), who shared in an outstanding partnership of 169 as St Lawrence passed the Thornes total of 171 with 15.4 overs to spare.

Chris Marsden took 3-17 for the winners, with David Toft hitting 51 for Thornes.