WOODLANDS moved up to third in the Bradford League Division One with their fifth successive league victory an eight wicket win at Manningham Mills last Saturday.
The tricky spin of Chris Brice was the key to unlocking Mills’ batting. Early on Pieter Swanepoel (2-31) and Richard Spittlehouse (2-13) began to make inroads into the Mills batting line up but the arrival of Brice altered the course of the contest.
The batsmen could not cope with his teasing deliveries and he steamed through the middle and lower order batsmen to finish with an impressive haul of 5-19.
It also included a fantastic hat-trick as Brice claimed the wickets of Mohammed Sharafat, Iqbal Khan and Aezaz Dar with successive deliveries.
The only threat for Manningham came from Mohammed Altaf who top-scored with 27 while Mohammed Sharafat was the only other batsman to break double figures with 11.
Mills claimed the early wicket of Sam Frankland without scoring and accounted for the other opener Scott Richardson Snr for just eight. There was no panic for Woodlands though as Sarafraz Ahmed was promoted to number three and raced to 39 with solid support from Simon Mason on 23.
Woodlands have 88 points and are three points behind second-placed Farsley.
Cleckheaton are another team who are growing in confidence after a shaky start, they continued their momentum last Saturday with a six wicket win against Hanging Heaton in a low scoring contest at Moorend.
It was a match of contrasts as Cleckheaton’s rise has coincided with Hanging Heaton’s descent down the table after a promising early start.
The home side’s opening bowlers James Lee and Iain Wardlaw shared the honours and their aggressive style yielded quick reward. Not only were the duo fast they were also accurate how rare is it in a game that no extras are conceded.
No Heaton batsman really got to grips with the duo, top scorer was James Stansfield with 14 and opener Joe Fraser added 12 while John Carruthers made 11 as Hanging Heaton limped to 56 all out in 22.5 overs. The bowlers both finished with the same figures of 5-28.
After a couple of early setbacks which saw Cleckheaton lose captain John Wood without scoring, fellow opener Mark Cummins out for seven and Tim Jackson (two) before Marcus Walmsley top scored with 18 and Michael Nicholson made 10 to steer Cleckheaton to victory.
Rob McFarlane was the pick of the bowlers with 3-25,
East Bierley slipped from third to fifth following a five wicket defeat against Pudsey Congs at the Britannia Ground.
Batting first Bierley were quickly under the cosh as opener Gavin Hamilton was dismissed for seven and Gharib Razak contributed 18.
Lee Goddard was the anchor for the Bierley innings with 42 while there was support from Paul Hutchinson who made an unbeaten on 25 and Kez Ahmed added 20 as Bierley saw out their 50 overs and set a target of 164-9.
Edward Walmsley was the pick of the Congs bowlers with 3-34 and Eugene Burzler took 3-46.
Pudsey Congs reply was swift and merciless as Gareth Phillips raced to 52, Barbar Butt top scored with 53 and Edward Walmsley contributed a useful 34 not out as Congs reached 165-5 without breaking too much sweat. Mohammed Azhar Ullah was the top Bierley bowler with 3-57 and Kez Ahmed claimed 2-39.
Gomersal produced an amazing team effort to bring down high fliers Pudsey St Lawrence in a game that produced over 680 runs in total.
St Lawrence elected to bat and Gomersal must have feared the worst as openers Mark Robertshaw and Andrew Waite put on 160 together for the first wicket. Waite finished with 86 and Robertshaw 109 in a terrific effort. Ben Platt took both wickets and finished with 2-89.
Pudsey continued to pile on the runs with James Smith adding 58 as they set a target of 342-6. Shahzab Khan was the top wicket taker for Gomersal with 3-95.
Gomersal, who had slipped to third bottom of the table were totally undaunted by the size of the task ahead of them and they produced a real team effort to take winning points.
Andrew Gorrod led from the front with a well-crafted century, when he was out Gomersal were 200-4 and he had scored half of the total. Adam Greenwood picked up the mood adding 35 and Greg Pickles innings of 75 took Gomersal within sight of the winning post. Teenage wicketkeeper Jack Seddon and Ben Platt combined to helped the Oxford Road side to seal victory with innings of 51 and 53 not out. Gomersal reached 344-7 with 13 deliveries to spare.
The win has moved them up to eighth place and should do wonders for their confidence.
In Division Two Spen Victoria could not dent the armour of the league leaders Lightcliffe.
Batting first Lightcliffe eased to a formidable total of 284 for the loss of one wicket. Chris Taylor (104no) and Alex Stead (112no) shared a second wicket stand of 196. Josh Wheatley made 38 before falling to Joel Pollard.
Spen made a spirited reply but never really threatened to get up to the run rate. Rob Burton took the lead with 66, there was good support from Sean Raven with 22 while Pollard contributed 33 as Spen were bowled out for 189. Evan Edwards did the most damage for Lightcliffe with 6-33 in 12.4 overs.
Hartshead Moor were undone by fourth-placed Morley and slipped to 10th. Nathen Madden top scored with 44 as Moor laid down a total of 163 in 49 overs. Opener Reece Jennison contributed 26 but most of the Moor batsmen struggled against Morley’s in-form opening bowler Kashif Naveed who finished with 6-38 with David Nebard claiming 4-39.
Richard Winn gave Morley a winning foundation with an innings of 45 but it was that man Naveed who took the honours with the bat this time with a fine innings of 70 as Morley comfortably surpassed their target with five wickets in hand.