Hanging Heaton end 18 year wait to be crowned league champions
Hanging Heaton celebrated clinching their first All Rounder Bradford League top flight title in 18 years last Saturday after completing an impressive '¨219-run win over East Bierley at Bennett Lane.
Heaton last won the league’s top prize in 1999 when John Carruthers played a pivotal role as a feared opening bowler.
Carruthers returned to the club as cricket chairman in 2010 with Heaton having just been relegated to the old second division but he has led a revolution which culminated in last Saturday’s title success.
Heaton end their regular season this Saturday with a trip to Pudsey St Lawrence — winners of the league crown for the past two seasons — while they are also gearing up for a tilt at the Yorkshire Premier League Championship crown.
Heaton will face either York or Stamford Bridge at Scarborough on Saturday September 16 and victory there will see them qualify for the grand final at Headingley the following week.
Club president Conrad Spivey was delighted with the side’s achievements, saying: “It has been a stellar season under the experienced guidance of chairman John Carruthers and captain Gary Fellows.
“Winning the Bradford Premier League after 18 years is a fantastic achievement in such a tough league and proves testimony to the skill, work ethic and team spirit this club now possesses.
“Every player should be extremely proud as they all have played a significant part in our success. Two major trophies are now in the cabinet and maybe one more to come. Roll on Scarborough.”
Hanging Heaton went into last Saturday’s game against East Bierley needing 15 points to be sure of winning the title and they picked up a maximum 20.
One again the prolific opening partnership of Fellows and Nick Connolly set the platform for victory.
They shared a brilliant 183-run partnership with Fellows falling agonisingly short of a third successive league century when he was out for 90.
Connolly struck a six and 20 fours in a brilliant knock of 134, taking his league aggregate for the season to 1,165 runs.
Connolly requires a knock of 46 at St Lawrence this Saturday to break the record for the highest all time league aggregate for a Hanging Heaton batsman, which stands at 1,210 set by Ronnie Hudson in 1980
Former Hanging Heaton man Amar Rashid was pick of the East Bierley bowlers taking 4-84 as the home side closed on an impressive 298-7.
There was a scare at the end of the Hanging Heaton innings when Umar Yaqoob was hit on the head while fielding a ball and had to be taken to hospital, but was later released with just bruising.
East Bierley were in need of points in their fight against relegation but they were bowled out for 79.
Left-arm spinner Muhammed Rameez worked his magic again with 5-20 and the overseas man is the Premier Division’s top wicket taker with 57.
Paceman Tom Chippendale took 3-29 as only Shaaiq Choudhary (31) looked at ease.
The champagne corks popped early on Saturday evening, with celebrations going on long into the night.
Captain Fellows said: “I have played 15 years in the Bradford League in two spells and this is the first time I have been in a league-winning side.
“In fact, there isn’t one member of our side who has been in a championship-winning team. It is a proud moment for us and for the club and it is a reward for all the hard work that has been done on and off the field.”
Victory actually saw Heaton open up a 39-point lead at the top after long time challengers Farsley lost by five wickets to Woodlands.
An unbeaten 110 from Alex Atkinson, his first century of the season, helped Woodlands to chase down Farsley’s score of 241-9 with 11.2 overs to spare.
Atkinson’s innings containing eight sixes and 11 fours, as he powered Woodlands to a win that leaves them 12 points behind Farsley in the race for second place.
James Wainman (4-66) was pick of the Farsley bowlers after he had earlier opened the batting and made 45.
Captain Ryan Cooper (77) top scored as paceman Elliot Richardson claimed 6-53 and spinner Chris Brice took 3-52.
Pudsey St Lawrence beat Townville by 57 runs in a match that could go a long way to deciding who finishes fourth.
Saints openers Mark Robertshaw (41) and Adam Waite (34) led the way in their total of 192 all out, which saw Richie Bresnan return season’s best figures of 6-47 for Townville.
Opener Jonathan Booth battled hard for a top score of 68 as Townville were bowled out for 135 as off spinner Chris Marsden impressed with 4-8.