Bierley’s Priestley Cup hopes shattered

EAST Bierley’s bid to lift the Priestley Cup for a second time in three years ended on Monday afternoon as Pudsey St Lawrence completed a five-wicket final triumph at Bradford and Bingley with 20 balls to spare.

Injuries, bad light and showers conspired to make it a frustrating Sunday for Bierley, who made 243-7 before play was halted with St Lawrence needing 47 from 11 overs with six wickets in hand

A promising innings from Ismail Dawood ended as he retired on 29 when he fell while attempting a run and was taken to hospital with a suspected torn Achilles tendon. Andrew Rennison and Lee Goddard regained some impetus with a partnership of 91 but the influential Rennison’s day was later cut short when he dislocated a thumb 20 overs into the reply.

By that time openers Mark Robertshaw and Adam Waite had built up a century-plus stand which gave St Lawrence the perfect platform from which to lift the cup for the first time in 14 years.

Robertshaw fell in the 22nd over with the total on 121, caught by Goddard off Muhammad Azhar Ullah (1-47), with his 61 from 64 deliveries featuring seven fours and two sixes.

David Hester and Waite added 42 in eight overs before Luke Jarvis sparked a Bierley fightback with three wickets in four overs.

The left-arm spinner caught and bowled Waite for a top score of 74, Hester (19) was bowled soon after and when David Stiff (8) was trapped lbw St Lawrence were 181-4 in the 34th over.

Jarvis ended with fine figures of 3-38 but he was the only bowler to shine and any thoughts of a Bierley triumph were dispelled as St Lawrence captain James Smith and Chris Marsden saw them through potentially tricky spells, until play was halted for the day and then again at the resumption on Monday lunchtime.

They added a further 23 before Marsden (20) was caught off Paul Hutchison (1-52) by Liam Walsh, who replaced Dawood behind the stumps, but Smith stood firm and was 29 not out with Gareth Clough (9no) to see Lawrence ease home.

Robertshaw was named man-of-the-match after his fine innings while he earlier claimed 3-32 in seven overs late on as Bierley, who were put in to bat, amassed 243-7.

Off-spinner Marsden opened the bowling with Craig Wiseman and Marsden (2-30) struck to see Bierley 59-2 in the 12th over. Gharib Razak (1) was caught by Stiff before Gavin Hamilton who hit nine fours in 42 runs, was caught by Robertshaw.

Dawood was 29 from 48 deliveries when injury halted his promising innings before Rennison and captain Goddard looked to regain the initative.

The pair added 91 runs in 18 overs, with Rennison hitting one four and one six in a patient 50 before being caught by Clough off the spin of Robertshaw in the 41st over.

Tom Owens (7) was bowled by Robertshaw two overs later while Walsh (7) and Goddard saw Bierley to 217 before Walsh was caught by Stiff off Robertshaw in the 47th over.

Goddard’s defiant innings, featuring five fours and two sixes, ended seven balls later as a fine catch by Stiff off Clough saw him out for 68.

Azhar Ullah (1) was caught by Wiseman off Clough (2-62) before Kez Ahmed dug in to be 17 not out with Hutchison (0no) as the innings closed but early wickets then failed to materialise as St Lawrence took charge.