Bradford League: Woodlands target trophy treble after downing a League/Priestley Cup double
MAKE ours a double!
That is the message from newly-crowned Bradford Premier League champions Woodlands, although they are not quite finished yet for 2019.
The Albert Terrace outfit, the epitome of consistency in a stand-out year, secured their first league silverware since 2012 after an 81-run victory at Undercliffe at Intake Road, also the venue for their Priestley Cup win on August 11.
In the process, Cieran Garner’s all-conquering team became the first side to win the league and Priestley Cup double since Woodlands’ class of 2006 managed that fine feat.
Players celebrated long into the night following this latest success, but now sights are set on glory in the Yorkshire Premier League-off play-offs with Woodlands likely to be hosting Doncaster Town on September 14 – for the right to reach the final at Headingley.
On achieving the double, secretary Brian Pearson, who confirmed that the club’s stellar overseas recruit Brad Schmulian will be coming back to the club for a second season in 2020, said: “It is a nice feeling.
“To have done the double shows how well that the team have played all season and, up to date, we have only lost two league games which is very good at this standard.
“The guys have worked hard for it and enjoyed their day. It has been a real team effort and we have a very balanced side and the batting has been far better this year, particularly in the top order.
“Tim Jackson and Sam Frankland have been in good form and Brad has been a revelation and given us that complete balance, while the youngsters such as Elliot Richardson have come on and (Muhammad) Bilal has had a great last six weeks since his injury. I could go on.
“I am also pleased for the unsung heroes in the backroom team.
“The league, for me, is what it is all about. Cups are great to have, but when you have done it over 22 matches in one of the biggest and best competitions in the country, it is terrific.
“My other watchword is consistency and we have done that.
“We have largely done it with the same players we have had. We had the same players last year and just changed the overseas.
“Bricey (Chris Brice) has had another fabulous year and I am pleased for Cieran Garner, our captain.
“He has come up through the juniors and up until the second half of last year, he had just played second-team cricket. He has shown his qualities.
“It is great for Kez Ahmed too.
“He has played for 23 years and won every other trophy going apart from this one.
“It is his first league trophy and has been striving to get it. He has been great since he came to play for us.”
Opener Jackson, Schmulian and Frankland all made contributions as Woodlands opened with 223-6 against Undercliffe, who fell short at 152 in reply – despite Simon Lambert’s 55.
Derbyshire off-spinner Mark Watt (3-81) was the most successful Undercliffe bowler and chipped in with 35 as his side fell well short in reply.
Townville are poised for their highest Premier Division finish after a nail-biting one-wicket win over Pudsey St Lawrence.
Hero for the victors was Harry Warwick, who hit an unbeaten 69 to guide them past the Lawrence score of 176-9 with one ball to spare.
Alex Page (33) also made a key contribution with spinners Archie Scott (4-52) and returning captain Chris Marsden (3-31) in the wickets for Lawrence, for whom Harry Cullingford (56) top scored.
Imran Rafique took an impressive 5-27 for Townville.
Charlie Parker (43no and 5-30) starred as New Farnley won by 39 runs at Cleckheaton.
Alex Lilley (55) hit a half-century for Farnley, with Toby Thorpe (63no) top-scoring for the Moorenders.
WRENTHORPE and Methley boosted their top-flight survival hopes with keynote weekend wins.
Second-from-bottom Wrens saw off relegation rivals Lightcliffe by four wickets in a massive relegation encounter to pile on the pressure on their rock-bottom rivals.
Opening, Lightcliffe were dismissed for 112, with Khalil Khan (3-8) and Ollie Kilburn (3-21) in the wickets for the victors.
Khan then had a major impact with the bat in helping Wrens recover from 7-3 with a match-winning knock of 70.
Wrens remain in the drop zone, but are closing in on Methley and Undercliffe.
Yorkshire’s Jared Warner (4-26) helped Methley continue their great escape with a five-wicket win over a depleted Farsley side.
Jordan Laban top-scored with 53 in Methley’s card, with James Pickles (40) top-scoring for Farsley.
Championship One leaders Batley slumped to a second successive loss in a three-wicket defeat to Bankfoot with just 12 points separating the top three sides with the wide-open promotion race.
Morley are just seven points behind Batley, with Bankfoot trailing the Scatcherd Laners by a further five points.
Morley opener James McNichol (102) was the star turn as the promotion chasers eased past doomed Scholes, dismissed for 150 after their opponents opened with 241-5.
Henry Rush hit 51 for Morley, with Mohammed Rafique’s 71 in vain for Scholes, whose second successive relegation was confirmed.
Carlton and Birstall secured their promotion to Championship One with comfortable victories.
Wakefield St Michael’s gave their hopes of avoiding relegation a huge lift as they defeated East Bierley by seven wickets to close the gap between themselves and their rivals to 10 points.
New Farnley turned in a champion performance to lift the Priestley Shield for the first time with a thumping 10-wicket white-washing of East Bierley in the final at Pudsey Congs.
A devastating bowling performance led by teenager Josh Marsden, who took a magical 6-12 helped dismiss Bierley for just 47, with Mark Lawson weighing in with 4-24.
Farnlety then eased home in reply, before captain and birthday boy Chris Sowden celebrated his 32nd milestone in style by lifting the trophy.