Woodlands’ one-wicket win over leaders Pudsey St Lawrence not only consolidated their own second-place position, but it also opened up the Bradford League First Division title race for Hanging Heaton.
Before the last round of fixtures, the Bennett Lane side were more ‘hanging by a thread’ when it came to the title race but another couple of weekends like the last could put them right back in the frame.
They were up against it in the game at home to New Farnley, when the visitors rattled up 274-5 in their 50 overs.
However, Hanging Heaton openers Nick Connelly, 66 (pictured) and skipper Gary Fellows, 67, got them off to a fine start and steady contributions right down the order saw that total passed with 11 balls and five wickets to spare.
Inconsistency has been the bugbear for everyone except St Lawrence up to very recently, and it is crucial Fellows gets his players in the right frame of mind to build on that last result when they entertain East Bierley this weekend.
Although Hanging Heaton are still 28 points behind the leaders, with only nine games to go, another convincing win would help build some serious pressure on the top two.
There has been a deficit in the bowling strength at Cleckheaton this season, with skipper John Wood not bowling and his brother Ian still not at full capacity following a knee operation, but winter signing Curtis Free has proved a success and Tim Jackson is showing flashes of the form that brought him 1,000 runs in last season’s championship success.
In their last game Cleck’ proved too strong for Pudsey Congs at the Britannia Ground.
Half-centuries from James Lee, 72, and Tanzeel Altaf, 50, took their total to 210.
The home side were bowled out for just 115 in reply but next up for John Wood’s men is a clash at Moorend – with a Lightcliffe side responsible for knocking them out of the Priestley Cup only two weeks ago.
Here again, another win is an absolute necessity if Cleckheaton are to maintain their chase for that third successive title win.
Second Division Gomersal have crashed and burned in the promotion race.
Their 67-run defeat at home to promotion-chasing neighbours Scholes was their third in a row, but Graham Hilton’s side produced an outstanding performance in the Heavy Woollen Cup quarter final clash at home to First Division Pudsey Congs on Sunday.
After holding the visitors to 257-9 Gomersal quickly found themselves three down with only 12 on the board, but British Army batsman Jonathan Boynton smashed a superb 118 and along with Jordan Bloom, 41, kept his side in the hunt for a long time.
However, Congs eventually came good and Gomersal finally fell just 37 runs short of their target.
A trip to Yeadon this week will be a bit of an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ for Gomersal, and with nothing but pride to play for to the end of the season, it will be interesting to see how they fare.
Spen Victoria, at home to Bowling Old Lane this week, moved into fifth place with a five-wicket win at Brighouse, but they have a massive 48-point deficit to make up if they are to secure a promotion place, while they do have a game in hand on Scholes, that looks an impossible task with just nine games to go.