Cleckheaton stun leaders Farnley in big shake up at top of Premier

Scholes opener Shoukat Ali top scored with 35 as hisn side suffered an eight-wicklet defeat away to Townville in one of a number of Bradford League games which started at 9am last Saturday to allow players to watch England's World Cup quarter-final. Pictures: Paul Butterfield
Scholes opener Shoukat Ali top scored with 35 as hisn side suffered an eight-wicklet defeat away to Townville in one of a number of Bradford League games which started at 9am last Saturday to allow players to watch England's World Cup quarter-final. Pictures: Paul Butterfield

Cleckheaton produced their best performance of the season to stun Allrounder Bradford Premier League leaders New Farnley with a 56 runs win last Saturday.

It was a day when there were twists at the top of the table as Pudsey St Lawrence closed the gap on Farnley to two points in one of several games which started early, while champions Hanging Heaton suffered defeat to Woodlands and slipped a place to fourth.

Cleckheaton were once again well led by overseas player Tayyab Tahir, who is proving an excellent signing.

Tahir top scored with 96, which included two sixes and 16 fours, before being dismissed with his fourth century of the season in sight.

Opener Nick Lindley (43) also made an important contribution as Cleckheaton made 219 all out, with Ajmal Shahzad (3-53) and Simon Lambert (3-29) the most-successful Farnley bowlers.

Farnley old boy Nick Walker scuppered the leaders chances of victory as he took 5-42 as they were bowled out for 163 and suffered a third defeat of the season.

David Cummings hit 55 from 91 balls, while Lambert made 29 at the top of the innings but with John Wood and Andrew Deegan claiming two wickets apiece Cleckheaton secured an important win which leaves them in eighth place.

Woodlands put their recent batting woes behind them as they made 244-9 against Hanging Heaton.

Overseas player Ishfaq Ahmed (60) and captain Tim Jackson (53) led the way with David Stiff (3-43) and Josh Holling (3-73) the best bowlers.

Callum Geldart top scored with 37 in Heaton’s reply but they lost wickets at regular intervals in their innings and were bowled out for 177 as spinners Kez Ahmed (5-44) and Chris Brice (3-39) found conditions to their liking.

The Bradford League had given all clubs the option to start at 9am to enable players and officials to watch England’s World Cup game against Sweden.

Pudsey St Lawrence took advantage of this and had wrapped up a three-wicket victory over ninth placed Lightcliffe before many of the other matches had even started.

Both sides struggled on a wicket which offered uneven bounce and 17 wickets fell for 161 runs during the match.

Lightcliffe were dismissed for 80 when they batted first as Richie Lamb (6-27) and Charlie Parker (4-36) made life tough for the visitors.

St Lawrence didn’t find things any easier when they batted.

They slipped to 45-6 as Yassir Abbas (4-38) and Suleman Khan (3-35) had them struggling and there was chance of another shock result.

Parker steadied the ship and shared a crucial 38-run stand with Barry Frankland to take them to 73-6.

Although Frankland was trapped lbw as a seventh Saints wicket fell, Parker made the game’s top score of 19 not out to see them edge home.

Defeats for New Farnley and Hanging Heaton, together with wins for Farsley, Methley, Woodlands and St Lawrence means that just 25 points now separate the top six clubs, who can all consider themselves in with a genuine chance of picking up the silverware come September.