Birstall edge thriller to book cup final place

Craig Wood hit a century in Birstall's cup semi-final win.
Craig Wood hit a century in Birstall's cup semi-final win.

Birstall held their nerve to win a thrilling Jack Hampshire Trophy semi-final against Townville and set up a final date with Methley.

The showpiece game of the Central Yorkshire League season will take place at Ossett on Sunday August 17 as Birstall aim to stop Methley’s charge for the double.

Birstall may be struggling near the foot of the Premier Division but semi-finals need big game players and in Rob McFarlane and opening batsman Craig Wood, they had two match winners.

The pair came together with Birstall 36-1 following the wicket of Saif Ur-Rehman for 17.

For the next couple of hours and 30 overs the Birstall pair dominated the Townville bowling, sharing a fantastic 204-run stand for the second wicket.

Wood hit 103 from 111 balls, stroking 14 fours and two sixes, while McFarlane dominated the partnership, cracking eight fours and seven sixes as he too raced to a century.

Wood was finally out, caught by Alex Page off the bowling of Richie Bresnan for 103, with the Birstall total on 240.

McFarlane ended 111 not out, from just 89 deliveries, while Eric Austin hit a six and a four in the final over to boost Birstall’s score to 263-2 in their 40 overs.

Jonny Booth and Tim Walton led the Townville reply as they shared an 85-run second-wicket stand.

Walton made 54 from 47 balls, while Booth hit 76 off 78, including five fours and five sixes to put Townville in a healthy position.

Although a steady stream of wickets then fell, as Townville slipped from 135-1 to 172-5, Richie Bresnan got their push back on track and took them to the brink of victory hitting five fours and five sixes in his 56 from just 39 balls.

Bresnan fell to a Chris Goodair catch off the bowling of Dan Broadbent from the penultimate ball of the game and it meant Dean Woolsey needed to hit a six off the last ball to win the game.

Broadbent, who was Birstall’s best bowler and finished with 5-51 from six overs, held his nerve to bowl a dot ball and send his side to the final, with Townville finishing 258-9.

Jack Hampshire holders Methley booked a final return with a six-wicket win over Wrenthorpe.

Terence Woolford (47) top scored in Wrenthorpe’s 161-9 before Methley captain Chris Holliday (57) and Matthew Waite (44no) saw them into the final.

The Wheatley Cup second team final is between hosts Wrenthorpe and Wakefield Thornes on August 10 after they overcame Carlton and Townville in their respective semis.