Batley finally broke their duck in the All Rounder Bradford Premier Division at the 13th attempt with a 29-run win at home to Townville.
Batley, batting first, made a modest 180 all out and gave Townville six extra overs in the process. But, even that score was seen as a bonus, for they were just 104 for eight when wicket keeper Naik Zada came to the crease - and he promptly hit an unbeaten 44 in 27 balls to ensure his side had a more defendable total.
In reply, Townville had made 112 by the time skipper Nick Bresnan was out, giving Muhammed Hafeez his first wicket, but the last six wickets fell for just 39 runs as Hafeez (3-33) and skipper Tariq Hussain (4-38) wrapped up a surprising but very welcome first win of the season.
Zada had one of those days a keeper can only dream about. Apart from his quickfire, arguably match-winning, innings he took three catches and completed three stumpings, conceding just four byes, to produce what must be the wicket keeping performance of the season.
That result lifted Batley off the bottom of the Premier Division and leaves them just six points adrift of third-bottom Cleckheaton as they prepare to face bottom club Pudsey Congs tomorrow.
It is becoming a nightmare season for Cleckheaton, who never seem to be too far away from title contention most years.
They went down by four wickets to neighbouring Woodlands after posting a total of 195 for six that was hugely indebted to the Nicholson family’s contribution.
One-time Yorkshire batsman Neil hit 43, while sons Ian (65 not out) and wicket keeper Mally (17) took the Nicholson family total to 125 of the total runs.
A trip to title-chasing Farsley is next for John Wood’s team and Hanging Heaton, just eight points clear at the top after their eight-wicket win over Bradford and Bingley, will be hoping to see their Dewsbury district neighbours stop Farsley in their tracks.
Hanging Heaton opener Nick Connelly made another 64 against Bingley and now has 777 runs for the season at an average of 111.00.
Next up for the leaders is a trip to mid-table Lightcliffe tomorrow.
HARTSHEAD Moor CC started last weekend with a surprise first defeat of the season in Championship Two when they lost by 18 runs in their derby game at Liversedge – but they quickly shook off the disappointment to secure a place in the semi-final of the Jack Hampshire Cup.
That win leaves Moor as the district’s only representatives in the League’s cup competitions this season and a semi-final at home to Hunslet Nelson to look forward to on July 30, and a final against Altofts or Wakefield St Michaels if they win it.
While the Jack Hampshire Cup is something to aim for, the real target for the club this season is promotion to Championship One, and they remain on course for that despite the upset at Liversedge.
It wasn’t a bad performance, they restricted the home side to 204 for eight, with nine men managing only 50 runs between them, but Asif Ali was the one who got away with 151 not out, off 152 balls.
Ali then collected 5-47 in the Hartshead Moor reply and the visitors fell just short, despite a fine 98 not out from Mohammed Khan.
Tomorrow, third-placed Northowram Fields are the visitors to Highmoor Lane and that is a game that Liversedge, at bottom club Brighouse, will have a keen eye on as their recent form has made them potential promotion candidates.
However, Hartshead Moor, with a massive 52-point lead over Hunslet Nelson at the top, remain favourites for the title.
At the other end of the table the problems mount for Spen Victoria, at home to Idle tomorrow, and Hopton Mills, at Buttershaw St Paul’s, as they battle to avoid the drop along with a seemingly doomed Brighouse side.
In the Conference, Crossbank Methodists remain in second-bottom spot while Heckmondwike and Carlinghow are in a clutch of five clubs above them seperated by just 18 points.
Tomorrow the two sides meet at Cemetery Road, Heckmondwike, for what should be a keenly-fought derby between the former Huddersfield Central League duo.