Hanging Heaton’s two-year reign as Bradford League Twenty20 Champions came to an end last Sunday when they suffered defeat to Undercliffe in the semi-final at Cleckheaton.
Hanging Heaton were competing in finals day or final for a fifth consecutive year but they never really recovered from early set backs which saw them slip to 24-4 as Undercliffe removed key batsmen Gary Fellows, Joe Fraser, Callum Geldart and Ishmail Dawood.
Opener Ben Kohler-Cadmore (45) and Nick Connolly (31) set about rebuilding the innings with a 67-run partnership only for a second collapse to see them slip from 91-4 to 124 all out in 19 overs.
Zeeshan Qasim (2-14) and spinner Khalid Usman (2-13) kept things tight and the bowlers were backed up by excellent fielding and catching.
Undercliffe’s innings got off to a flying start with opener Simon Lambert hitting 14 runs from the first three balls bowled by Josh Holling.
Lambert struck three sixes and three fours as he made 32 from 11 balls before being bowled by David Stiff.
Spinner Geldart removed Jack Holland and Michael Kelsey and when overseas player Usman fell to a well judged catch by Callum Bethel off the bowling of Tom Chippendale, Undercliffe were 86-4.
Farrouk Alam struck some lusty blows in his 24 but wickets continued to fall as Heaton threatened to snatch victory.
However, with four runs required to win off the final two balls, Zeeshan Qasim struck a six off the penultimate ball from Bethel to see Undercliffe into a final against Morley.
Morley had eased into the final with a nine-wicket win over Wakefield St Michael’s in the first semi-final.
Morley had St Michael’s 7-3 before Imran Mahboob hit two sixes and nine fours on his way to 81 — the highest individual score of finals day.
Sri Lankan spinner Akash Senarathna took 3-21 as Morley restricted St Michael’s to 124-9.
Morley openers James McNichol and Reggie Thomas (44no) shared a 100-run stand.
McNichol finally fell for 53 but Henry Rush struck a six and a four on his way to 14 not out as Morley eased home with 14 balls to spare.
Undercliffe went on to lift the JW Lees Brewery Cup for the first time as they defeated Morley by eight wickets.
Undercliffe bowlers exerted pressure as Morley were restricted to 117-6 in their 20 overs.
Captain Matt Baxter hit two big sixes in his 26 but could not provide the acceleration that was needed as Michael Kelsey (2-16) helped keep them in check.
Morley’s hopes were briefly raised when they dismissed the dangerous Lambert cheaply, but second-wicket pair Farrouk Alam and Jack Holland (32) shared a 72-run partnership to set up the win.
Alam finished with an unbeaten 53 in a 41-ball innings which included two sixes and four fours.
He was accompanied by Khalid Usman (23no) in an unbroken 41-run stand when Undercliffe’s victory was achieved with 22 balls to spare.