Woodlands hold nerve in thrilling Shield final

Woodlands celebrate winning the Priestley Shield.
Woodlands celebrate winning the Priestley Shield.

Woodlands Second Team held their nerve to win a thrilling Priestley Shield final against Hanging Heaton at Cleckheaton last Sunday.

Few in the large crowd could have predicted the drama that was to follow after tea as Hanging Heaton attempted to chase down the impressive Woodlands total of 293 but they produced a terrific effort and finished an agonising 11 runs short.

The game was a terrific advert for second team Bradford League cricket and credit must go to Cleckheaton groundsman Keith Johnstone for producing a magnificent wicket on which an incredible 575 runs were scored.

Woodlands batted first but suffered an early set back when captain Cieran Garner was trapped lbw by Mick Horner, who was chasing a sixth Priestley Shield victory.

Liam Brearley and Jack Carter made slow progress and Heaton had a second success in the 18th over when Carter was caught behind by Franny Nelson off the bowling of Chris Goodair for eight.

Woodlands were 43-2 at that point but Liam Collins came to the crease and immediately increased the tempo.

Brearley and Collins went on to share a third wicket stand of 134 in just 19.4 overs.

Collins hit a six and 15 fours as he raced to 92 off 66 balls, before holing out off spinner Jamie Baulk with his century in sight.

Brearley played the anchor role and went to complete a much deserved century.

The quick scoring continued with Jack Bleazard (27) and Rob Medcalf (16no) helping Woodlands reach 293-4.

Brearley carried his bat and finished unbeaten on 126 from 144 balls having hit four sixes and 10 fours in a man-of-the-match performance.

Hanging Heaton were in no mood to go down without a fight and although they lost Nelson caught behind off his first ball, set about rebuilding through Oliver Newton and Rob McFarlane.

McFarlane immediately took the attack to the bowlers and dominated a second-wicket stand of 149 with Newton to put his side in contention.

McFarlane looked capable of winning the match on his own and Heaton had raced to 148-1 as drinks approached.

The crucial breakthrough was cruel on McFarlane as a Rob Medcalf delivery struck both his pads and trickled through his legs onto the stumps, ending an entertaining innings of 84 from just 69 balls including 12 fours and three sixes

Heaton were ahead of the run rate and opener Newton and Steve Bourne kept the scoreboard clicking over.

Bourne holed out for 26 off left-arm spinner Liam Collins who also removed Newton soon after for 55 and suddenly the momentum swung back to Woodlands.

Heaton also lost the wickets of James Byrne, Adeel Hafeez and Jack Lawrence as they slipped from 149-1 to 196-6.

Still Heaton refused to throw in the towel. Chris Goodair (28) and Horner (26) kept their challenge going.

Goodair was run out attempting quick runs and Jamie Baulk was then caught by Liam Collins attempting to loft the ball over the infield.

Captain John Carruthers strode to the crease with 17 required to complete a memorable victory.

Carruthers was dropped as the tension mounted but Cieran Garner held his nerve the very next ball to take a catch from Horner to give Tom Lightfoot his third wicket.

Lightfoot finished with 3-40 while Collins took 3-45 as Woodlands secured their first Priestley Shield success since 2002.