Cleckheaton seal crucial win in bid to preserve top flight status
CLECKHEATON took a huge step towards survival in the All Rounder Bradford Premier League last Saturday when they defeated Bradford & Bingley by seven wickets.
With East Bierley, Pudsey Congs and Batley all losing, Cleckheaton have moved 16 points clear of the relegation zone and need to only pick up five bonus points from Saturday’s final game at home to Lightcliffe to secure their top flight status.
Cleckheaton dismissed Bingley for just 129 in 42.4 overs as captain John Wood led from the front by taking 4-41, while spinner Qaisar Ashraf claimed 3-30.
Hamzah Iqbal was Bingley’s top scorer with 45 but lacked any real support.
Cleckheaton lost three early wickets before Andy Gorrod (57no) and Mally Nicholson (48no) combined in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 95 to steer the Moorenders to a key win, which gives them an excellent chance of surviving.
Just three points separate the three sides at the bottom, with two to go down.
Batley are just outside the drop zone, two points above East Bierley, and they host a Woodlands side aiming to finish second in their final game.
Batley were restricted to four points as they suffered a 183-run defeat at the hands of Priestley Cup winners New Farnley.
Captain Lee Goddard promoted himself to open the batting in the absence of Mitch O’Connor and made a superb 123 in an innings that included a six and 17 fours.
Goddard was joined in a fourth-wicket partnership of 102 by Richard Atkins (53), while Dave Cummings (33) was the other main contributor as Farnley reached an impressive total of 280-8.
Muhammad Shahnawaz (3-67) and Tariq Hussain (3-101) were the main Batley wicket takers.
Batley were dismissed for just 97 in reply as they struggled against New Farnley pace bowlers Andrew Brewster (5-32) and Richard Atkins (3-33) and failed to pick up a single batting point.
Roheil Hussain top scored with a brisk 29 from 16 balls, which contained three sixes but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat that leaves Batley sweating.
New Farnley can have a big say in the relegation battle when they visit bottom team Pudsey Congs on Saturday.
Congs are three points behind Batley and two off second-bottom East Bierley going into the final round of matches after they suffered a 22-run defeat at Lightcliffe.
Despite defeat, Congs picked up eight bonus points, which could prove crucial as they bidto escape the drop.
Lightcliffe batted first and made 251-7 with captain Matt Baxter (69) and overseas player Kashif Naveed (46) sharing a fifth-wicket stand of 107.
With Jonathan Wilson making 33, Lightcliffe posted a challenging total. Josh Holling (3-51) was pick of the Congs bowling.
Congs lost two quick wickets but Mubtada Akhtar (68) and Irfan Amjad (54) hit back with vital contributions and revived their side with excellent half-centuries.
Zahid Nissar chipped in with 44 but spinner Naveed (6-45) ensured that Congs were unable to force the victory they wanted as they finished on 229-9.
However, it did prove enough for them to pick up maximum batting points and take their fight into the last day.