EAST Bierley are back in the Bradford League Division One title race following a dramatic round of matches last Saturday.
Leaders Woodlands suffered their first league defeat of the season, while second placed Cleckheaton failed to capitalise when they lost to Saltaire, so victory for Bierley saw them jump into second place.
Woodlands suffered a 51-run defeat at the hands of Lightcliffe but they remain 38 points clear of East Bierley with six games to play and the top two still have to meet.
Lightcliffe posted an impressive 220-6, thanks largely to the efforts of Chris Taylor (63) and Alex Stead (55)
Woodlands opener Sam Frankland (48) and Chris Brice (34) led the reply but the champions were bowled out for 169 as spinner Chris Greenwood claimed 3-58.
Cleckheaton failed to capitalise on Woodlands’ defeat as they slipped to fourth place after an eight-wicket defeat by Saltaire.
The Moorenders appeared on course for victory at tea after they posted an impressive 241-9 thanks largely to the efforts of Tim Jackson (45), Mally Nicholson (43) and Ammar Mahmood (40).
But Saltaire opener Irfan Amjad made an unbeaten 101 in reply, in an innings that included three sixes and eight fours and he shared a first wicket stand of 129 with Farhan Khan (71).
Amjad also shared an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 100 with Fahid Rehman (44) to steer Saltaire to victory for the loss of two wickets.
East Bierley took full advantage to move into second place with 20 points from their 111-run win over relegation-threatened Farsley.
Captain Lee Goddard hit a terrific 103 from 102 balls, including 13 fours as Bierley reached 245-7.
Barrie Frankland (50) and Haroon Rashid (35) shone in reply but Farsley were dismissed for 134 as Luke Jarvis took 3-39.
Bierley face a crucial run of games in their quest for honours as they entertain Cleckheaton in the league on Saturday and meet Manningham Mills in the Priestley Cup final at Spen Victoria on August 26.
Bierley’s crunch league game against Woodlands is at Oakenshaw on September 8.
Hanging Heaton’s inconsistent season continued and after successfully chasing down 306 to beat Pudsey St Lawrence the previous week, the Bennett Lane men were bowled out for just 115 at Manningham Mills last Saturday.
Imran Dawood (43no) was the only Heaton batsman to impress as Mills overseas player Noman Ali produced a devastating spell of slow bowling to claim 7-13.
Ali then smashed an unbeaten 67 as Mills raced to their target in just 14.5 overs.
Spen Victoria had a terrific 103-run win over Idle in Division Two as they climbed to fifth place with a game in hand on the sides above them.
Captain Dan Shuffe (86) and Peter Jackson (80) were in impressive form as Spen claimed maximum batting points by reaching 238-6.
Second team bowler Fezal Rajput then returned terrific figures of 5-55 and with support from Ben Platt (3-17) Idle were dismissed for 135 as Spen collected a maximum 20 points and will aim to put a winning run together as they bid for a late promotion surge.
Hartshead Moor have slipped to eighth place after suffering a 124-run defeat to Bowling Old Lane.
Overseas player Devraj Patil hit an excellent 119 not out and opener Faisal Mahmood 41 as Old Lane reached 294-7.
Patil crowned a great individual performance by taking 6-57 as Hartshead were bowled out for 170 despite Graham Hilton’s top score of 32.