Hanging Heaton relish Cleck test

Hanging Heaton relish Cleck test

MOOR END is the location for the district’s biggest game in the All Rounder Bradford Premier League tomorrow.

Hanging Heaton, First Division winners in 1987, 1989 and 1995, visit Cleckheaton, champions in 2013 and 2014 as, with only four games to play, they press on with their bid to take the inaugural Premier Division title.

It has been 21 long years since the Bennett Lane men took the top flight trophy, but Gary Fellows’s current team could deliver the kind of success the former Yorkshire player had grown accustomed to in his days leading Wrenthorpe in the Central Yorkshire League.

In their last game, at home to struggling East Bierley, it took just 91 balls to collect the 82 runs needed to knock off Bierley’s total of 81, with Fellows collecting 54 of them in a 10-wicket win.

The early damage was done by journeyman paceman David Stiff  whose first class career has taken in spells with Yorkshire, Kent, Leicestershire and Somerset.

The 31-year-old Dewsbury-born Stiff took 5-19 having teamed up with Mohammed Hafeez to beat Pudsey St Lawrence with the bat recently. The pair did it with the ball this time as Hafeez finished with 4-24.

Cleckheaton v Hanging Heaton is always a key game in the Bradford League calendar. But while it has usually involved two sides battling for honours, tomorrow’s game sees Cleckheaton playing for little more than pride  and local bragging rights.

Skipper John Wood was himself a Hanging Heaton player in his youth, before adding Spen Victoria, Durham and Lancashire to his CV.

He is well aware of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs but he has more than that to consider as he tries to lift his side following a defeat at the hands of bottom-club Scholes in their last outing.

Although currently occupying a mid-table position Cleckheaton cannot afford any more non-productive weeks if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle. The bottom-two, Morley and Scholes, are belatedly showing some winning form and closing the gap on those above them.

In their last game Mally Nicholson dug Cleck out of a hole with a top scoring 71 not out. But the relief was only temporary as Scholes overhauled the Cleckheaton total of 180-9 with 5.1 overs and five wickets to spare.

Yasir Ali (6-61 and 35) and Rizwan Ahmed (71 not out) were the Scholes match winners.

In the final run-in Hanging Heaton face Morley at home, Bradford and Bingley at home and New Farnley away.

St Lawrence face East Bierley away this week before hosting Cleckheaton. Third-placed Farsley take on fourth-placed New Farnley tomorrow before travelling to Lightcliffe and Woodlands ahead of a home clash with Scholes.

So despite a disappointing season by their own standards, Cleckheaton do appear to have an opportunity to make an impact on this title race.

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