SPEN VICTORIA look set to recapture former glories under new skipper Dan Shuffe, having made a bright start to life in Division Two of the Bradford League.
A double success over the Bank Holiday weekend, beating Bankfoot and neighbours Gomersal, lifted Spen up into third place.
And though Farsley and newcomers Farnley are favourites to take the top two places, the Cleckheaton club look set to maintain the pressure if successful at Keighley tomorrow (Saturday).
Much of the weekend’s success was due to the former Gomersal trio of Rob Burton, Matt Garside and Ben Platt.
Platt (48 and 1-14) top-scored against Bankfoot, Garside hit 39 and Rob Burton finished it off with a superb 8-41 bowling stint.
Gomersal began in holiday mood as they secured a battling three-wicket win over Yeadon, Chris Rhodes (3-31) and Andy Gorrod (34) the pick of the pack, but it was a different story on Monday at Spen.
Gorrod again did well, impressing with a 55-run haul, but it was the spectre of the Gomersal old boys that came back to haunt them as Burton (4-22) and Platt (4-20) bowled them out for just 114.
Platt added insult to injury with 21 in an unbeaten match-winning stand alongside Tosh Baker (44).
Hartshead Moor are next up for Gomersal and after a nine-wicket win over Undercliffe, and a 97 from ex-Oxford Road man Graham Hilton in the defeat by Bowling Old Lane, this promises to be a tough test.
In the Premier Division, Hanging Heaton’s weekend was nearly as mixed as the weather.
Player-chairman John Carruthers moved ever closer to his 1,000th league wicket with a 3-33 return in the defeat at Manningham Mills.
Elsewhere, James Stansfield (75) and Montcin Hodge (49) battled gamely in their 116-run loss at Bradford and Bingley while, in between, David Stiff hit a century to send Liversedge crashing out of the Heavy Woollen Cup.
Heaton travel to Barkisland in next week’s quarter-final clash.
Meanwhile, Cleckheaton are continuing to go from strength to strength in this division.
After a five-wicket win at Morley, the Moorenders then crushed East Bierley by 118 runs to move into second place behind reigning champions Woodlands.
And in a display of all-round team effort there were contributions over the two games from Tim Jackson (82), James Lee (31, 56 not out and 3-21), Richard Whitehurst (48), Andrew Deegan 3-47), Ammer Mahmood (3-12) and skipper John Wood (31).
Wood takes his side into tomorrow’s visit of Lightcliffe, requiring just nine to complete a personal milestone of 5,000 Bradford League runs.