Woodlands seal win to close in on Bradford League and cup double

Cleckheaton's Toby Thorpe in action during his side's two-run loss to Methley last Saturday. Pic: Paul Butterfield
Cleckheaton's Toby Thorpe in action during his side's two-run loss to Methley last Saturday. Pic: Paul Butterfield

Woodlands are closing in on the Allrounder Bradford Premier League title as they bid to complete a double after they recorded a 71-run victory over Pudsey St Lawrence last Saturday.

With the Priestley Cup already in the trophy cabinet, Woodlands have opened up a 29-point lead on second placed Bradford and Bingley after they suffered a 42-run defeat to New Farnley.

New Zealander Brad Schmulian took his runs tally for the season to 631 when he struck an innings of 54 against St Lawrence.

Captain Cieran Garner made 38 as Woodlands posted 179-9, with leg spinner Archie Scott (4-57) the most-successful Saints bowler.

St Lawrence were bowled out for 108 in reply as Chris Brice picked up 5-30, with opener Charlie Best (30) top scorer.

Methley blew the relegation battle wide open with a thrilling two-run win over Cleckheaton on a day when the three teams immediately above them all lost.

Methley were indebted to a crucial innings of 37 by their young wicketkeeper Josh Neal.

He arrived at the crease with Methley on 98-7 but helped his side to post a total of 166 after Azeem Rafiq (4-35) and Josh Thurwell (3-35) had posed problems.

Opener Nick Lindley made a battling 42 before Nick Walker (49) threatened to win the game for Cleckheaton but they were bowled out agonisingly two runs short on 164 as Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite (5-46) and spinner Amir Hussain (4-53) impressed.

Methley secured 17 points for their win and are now just four behind Lightcliffe, who went down by 49 runs against Hanging Heaton.

Nick Connolly held the Hanging Heaton innings together, carrying his bat for 86 not out from 165 balls as the visitors closed on 166-9.

Overseas player Suleman Khan (3-51) posed the main threat for Lightcliffe but they were bowled out for 117 in reply, despite the efforts of Alex Stead (35) and Rob Burton (37).

Callum Bethel (5-29) proved to be Hanging Heaton’s most-successful bowler with support coming from David Stiff (3-29).

Wrenthorpe were bowled out for just 32 as they lost by 224 runs against Townville and Undercliffe suffered a seven-wicket loss in a 25-overs-per-side contest against Farsley.

It means that there is just 18 points between ninth-placed Undercliffe and bottom team Methley with four games to play.

Wrenthorpe had an afternoon to forget against their old rivals Townville.

Richie Bresnan was the chief destroyer with 6-17, while his new-ball partner Conor Harvey bowled eight over without conceding a run a he picked up three wickets.

Last man Ollie Kilburn (11) and eight extras spared Wrenthorpe from even greater embarrassment as five of their batsmen registered ducks in a dismal total of 32.

Half-centuries from overseas player Imran Rafique (74) and Harry Warwick (55) were backed up by an unbeaten 35 from Harvey as Townville – who are now fourth in the table – made 256-7 when they batted first.