CHAMPIONS Cleckheaton CC saw victory snatched from them in the final over of their game at home to previous Bradford League winners Woodlands at Moorend.
When Mally Nicholson, his score on 87, prepared to face Pakistani paceman Sarfraz Ahmed for the first ball of the final over the scores were level.
Cleckheaton had two wickets in hand and hard-hitting former Yorkshire and Scotland bowler Iain Wardlaw at the non-striker’s end.
Victory seemed a formality but those who thought that was the case reckoned without the indomitable Sarfraz.
Batting late in the Woodlands order he struck 37 runs off 18 balls and now his side’s hopes of saving the game rested on him.
Remarkably, he bowled Nicholson with the first ball and promptly removed last man Andrew Deegan with the next to tie the match.
It promises to be no less hectic this weekend for John Wood and his team mates as they travel to Pudsey St Lawrence tomorrow (Sat) in the league and then take on Second Division Brighouse in the Priestley Cup first round on Sunday.
Incredibly, last year’s cup winners Lightcliffe have been handed a trip to Hanging Heaton, the team they beat in the 2013 final.
Hanging Heaton opened their season with a 61-run defeat at Woodlands and followed that last week with a 35-run defeat at home to New Farnley, despite a match-best 93 from Gary Fellows.
It was not the start expected after some useful recruitment in the winter, but they will be hoping for third time lucky when they go to Yeadon for a league clash tomorrow.
In the other Priestley Cup ties affecting the district, Hartshead Moor go to Saltaire for an all-Second Division tie.
But Gomersal and Spen Victoria, also from the Second Division, face First Division opposition as East Bierley go to Oxford Road and Spen to Woodlands respectively.
New Gomersal skipper Greg Pickles would have hoped for a better start to his tenure after seeing his side follow their opening day defeat at home to Keighley with a disastrous dismissal for just 55 in their 103-run setback at Baildon.
Hopefully, the visit of Great Horton tomorrow should help restore some pride, and put them in good heart for their cup tie with Bierley the following day.
But Spen’s trip to Undercliffe in the league tomorrow suggests an exacting weekend ahead.