A YEAR on from some final-day disappointment, the clock finally went around for Wrenthorpe on Sunday.
Pipped to the Championship One title by Undercliffe on the last weekend of 2018, Wrens were the ones smiling last Sunday as they survived in the Premier Division and their counterparts dropped back into the second-tier.
Sympathetic to the plight of Undercliffe, who lost on to Townville by 20 runs following a late batting collapse, the Wakefield club may be, but they are glad to be the ones smiling after seeing off Bradford and Bingley by 99 runs.
Star turn was overseas man Khalil Khan, who hit a key 55 in Wrens’ 220-9.
Chairman Paul Marshall said: “We had a couple of second-teamers on Sunday, but Jordan (Sleightholme – captain) rallied the troops and got them going. It was a magnificent day and wonderful result and I cannot say how it happened, but wickets just kept falling at the right times.
“We were monitoring Townville versus Undercliffe ball by ball and at one point, Undercliffe were doing so well and we were a little resigned to it not happening, but we never gave up.
“It is the opposite of last year where we lost to Undercliffe in the final game and they pipped us to the title. We got promoted which should have been brilliant, but ultimately it was tinged with disappointment. But this year, it is slightly the opposite with us winning and them losing and sadly for Undercliffe, they are relegated.
“But I am sure they will be back as they have some damn good players.”
Sunday’s joy was given piquancy by the events of the previous day when Wrens’ dramatic loss to Pudsey St Lawrence left them in peril.
”It was stressful, but ultimately a good weekend which ultimately worked in our favour and the lads pulled it off”, Marshall added.
“We lost a really tight contest against St Lawrence and I really thought we were going to do that. But a mis-field and a dropped catch cost us.
“I know we had to go to a Bradford and Bingley side who are third or fourth in the league and playing some good cricket with Harry Brook, a Yorkshire player, opening the batting.
“As a team, we were a little bit down.
“But we did have a conversation and said that ultimately, it was partly in our hands as we needed some results to go our way.”
Champions Woodlands ended the season with a two-wicket win over Farsley, with Kez Ahmed bagging 4-57.
Hanging Heaton beat Cleckheaton by four wickets in Gary Fellows’s final game as captain, with Callum Geldart (4-33 and 41) impressing for the Tewits.
Mally Nicholson (49) top-scored for Cleck, in John Wood’s final game for the Moorenders.
Methley continued their outstanding form in the run-in, beating New Farnley by two wickets, with Marcus Walmsley (3-49 and 81) taking pride of place, well supported by Sohail Raz (48no).
Sudara Udagedara bagged 4-48, while Steve Bullen and cricket manager Paul Hutchison were the top scorers with 40 each for Farnley.
The battle for the Championship One title has been turned on his head after leaders Batley suffered their third straight defeat to drop from first to third.
They went down by 65 runs against Keighley and that enabled Morley, seven-wicket winners over Pudsey Congs to take top spot.
Bankfoot also leap-frogged Batley after their crushing 150-run win over an East Bierley side still not mathematically safe from the threat of a second successive relegation.
Just nine points separate the top three ahead of next Saturday’s final round of matches where Morley and Bankfoot have away games against Baildon and Wakefield St Michael’s respectively, while Batley will try to arrest their slump at home to fifth-placed Gomersal.
Keighley opener Richard Gould became the second highest runscorer in Bradford League history after scoring 84 to take his tally to 16,261.
Only ex-Keighley player Richard Robinson on 17,471 is ahead of him.