CLECKHEATON are poised to complete their first Bradford League Division One title quest at neighbours Woodlands tomorrow (Saturday).
There have been five Division Two title triumphs in the 37 years since the Moorend club left the Central Yorkshire League for Bradford, but they have never been closer to the top-flight crown than they are following a comprehensive home win over already-relegated Saltaire.
Opener Tim Jackson (38) will still need a good knock to reach 1,000 runs for the season but his disappointment at not getting more against his old club was forgotten as Mally Nicholson (89), Richard Whitehurst (56) and Yorkshire’s Iain Wardlaw (63) batted Saltaire out of the game.
Their combined efforts set up Andrew Deegan (3-35), and Wardlaw again (4-20) to clinch maximum points.
Cleckheaton now go to outgoing champions Woodlands, who lost their last chance of retaining the trophy when they lost by 41 runs at second placed Pudsey St Lawrence.
The Moorenders require just five points to put the title beyond Pudsey St Lawrence, who are scheduled to take on Priestley Cup winners Lightcliffe this weekend. They need nothing short of maximum points to have any chance of overhauling Cleckheaton before the finish line.
However, a poor weather forecast for tomorrow (Saturday) suggests the major issues on the final day may not be decided on the field.
There is a similar situation unfolding in the Division Two, where Spen Victoria effectively waved goodbye to their promotion chances after successive defeats at the hands of Bowling Old Lane and Undercliffe.
The club had recently complained that by bowling sides out so cheaply in the first innings of games, it had cost them the opportunity of batting points.
But, ironically, after twice topping the 200-run mark last weekend, they then failed to bowl their opponents out.
In the meantime Farsley secured the title – and promotion – with their wins over Gomersal then Windhill, while New Farnley found themselves in second spot with a 15-point lead over Yeadon.
Only six points are needed from their final game against Farsley to be sure of that second promotion spot.
Meanwhile, there is already talk of clubs changing personnel for next season and Hanging Heaton could be among those doing so.
Although hoping to wrap up their season in style at Pudsey Congs, having taken 20 points from East Bierley with the help of 132 from star man Gary Fellows, their league season has failed to match recent cup runs which took them to two finals.