Cleckheaton knocked out of cup after four-wicket defeat

Cleckheaton knocked out of cup after four-wicket defeat

AS the Bradford League season approaches the half-way stage this week it is impossible to underestimate the importance of tomorrow’s First Division clash at Tofts Road between leaders Pudsey St Lawrence and reigning champions Cleckheaton, who are currently sitting in fourth place.

If John Wood’s Cleckheaton side are still harbouring hopes of a third succesive league title, this is one game they must win .

But second-placed Woodlands, and Hanging Heaton in third, will both have one eye on events at Pudsey.

St Lawrence, enjoying their best start to the season for years, are currently unbeaten and have a 25-point advantage over their closest rivals.

Cleckheaton, however, trail the leaders by a massive 38 points and cannot afford to slip further behind.

Cleck were good value for their 68-run win over bottom club Saltaire.

Tim Jackson hit a match best 54 and Scotland’s Iain Wardlaw took 6-46 in 11 overs but a disappointing exit from the Priestley Cup at Lightcliffe the following day has left them with only the league title to play for.

In that cup game opener Andy Gorrod hit 71 and there were half-centuries from Mally Nicholson (51) and Tanzeel Altaf (50), but Alex Stead (76) swung the game Lightcliffe’s way and despite Wardlaw’s 3-45, Cleckheaton went down by four wickets.

St Lawrence marched on with a five-wicket win over Undercliffe and Hanging Heaton will be hoping for a similar result when they face the struggling Bradford side at Bennett Lane tomorrow (Sat).

In their last game Hanging Heaton proved too strong for second bottom Farsley at Red Lane when they took 296-4 off the Farsley attack and then reduced the home side to 205-8 in reply.

It was a triumphant return for former Farsley man Ian Philliskirk, with 92 from 91 balls, but the mainstay of the innings was opener Nick Connelly who carried his bat for 119 not out.

Philliskirk completed a particularly rewarding day for himself and the team, when he took 3-45 to return his side’s best bowling figures.

Morley extended their lead at the top of Division Two when they emerged as 43-run winners from their game at Spen Victoria.

It was a disappointing outcome for Spen who now find themselves trailing the leaders by 47 points – albeit with a game in hand.

It was a particularly frustrating day for Spen’s Adal Islam who took 5-42, and then hit 31 at the top of the innings, but still finished on the losing side.

Tomorrow Spen Vic cross the valley to take on Hartshead Moor while Scholes, whose game at Bankfoot was abandoned with 12 overs to go and the outcome in the balance, hope to hold on to second place with a win over Brighouse at New Popplewell Lane.

Gomersal, who also have a game in hand on the leading clubs, remained on the fringe of the promotion race with their 54-run win at home to Keighley.

A rapid 65 from New Zealander Ben Hyde (65) got his side off to a bright start and a solid knock from fellow opener Adam Greenwood (65) provided a solid base as the Oxford Road men made 229.

In reply Keighley made just 175-9 as stand-in skipper Jonathan Boynton took 3-42 after giving himself a rare bowling opportunity. Gomersal now go to Windhill looking for the win that would keep them in the promotion hunt.

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