Hartshead CC enjoy nine-wicket haul

It is over 40 years since Hartshead Moor had their name on the Bradford League honours board, a Second Division title in 1974, but the merger with the Central Yorkshire League and subsequent reorganisation of the Cup Competitions has paved the way for a tilt at the Jack Hampshire Cup.

On Sunday they are at Pudsey Congs’ Britannia Ground to take on Conference leaders Wakefield St Michaels in the Jack Hampshire final.

As current runaway leaders of the Bradford League’s Championship Two, Moor must be hot favourites, but surprise defeats recently will have made sure there is no complacency in the camp.

St Michaels are going very well in the Conference, but Buttershaw St Pauls have found it difficult to adjust to the next level after stepping up from the Conference this season.

The Wakefield men will clearly have to be at their very best to match Moor if the Championship Two side are at anything like full strength.

While they are still 69 points clear at the top of their division, Hartshead will be keen to maintain their winning league run going into the final and a visit from relegation-threatened Hopton Mills is their next hurdle in the title race.

It took just 32.1 of the 100 available overs for Moor to complete a nine-wicket win at Idle in their last game, skipper Danny Squire (5-16) and Iain Wardlaw (5-27) bowling the home side out for just 49.

That five-wicket haul was the seventh of the season for Scottish international Wardlaw and it took his overall league tally to 59 for the season in 14 games, with a strike rate of a wicket every 17 balls.

Half centuries from Chris Scott (62) and John Bowett (55) helped Hopton Mills to a welcome, and comfortable, win over Carlton in their last game, but they are still only 12 points ahead of bottom-club Spen Victoria and six in front of second-bottom Brighouse.

As for the cup final prospects, a one-wicket win in a low-scoring game against newcomers Windhill and Daisy Hill was hardly the encouragement St Michaels were looking for, but in skipper Mark Atkinson (64 not out and 2-11) they clearly have a man to watch.

In the relegation battle, Hopton Mills will no doubt have one eye on events at Brighouse, who take on fourth-bottom Idle, and at Carlton where Spen Victoria will be hoping to improve on last week’s three-wicket defeat at home to Altofts and secure a fourth win of the season.

As it stands only Championship One side Birstall have won less games in the entire League than Spen have.

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