Bradford Cricket League: Woodlands celebrate after clinching Premier crown
A thrilling title race that came right down to final Saturday ended with Woodlands getting over the line to be crowned Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League champions again.
A 74-run victory over third-placed New Farnley proved decisive to give Woodlands the title for the eighth time in 16 years as they finished 11 points ahead of Townville, who beat Batley in their final game of the season.
Overseas player Brad Schmulian signed off in great style with a match-winning 112 after his stay in this country was extended as a positive covid test meant he could not return to New Zealand as planned. With his isolation period over, he took his place in the side against New Farnley and made his presence felt as he cracked 15 fours in his 127-ball knock.
Tim Jackson also contributed 32 Muhammad Bilal 26 as Woodlands posted a 228 score.
Farnley reached 83-2 in their reply to briefly threaten Woodlands’ planned party, but their innings went downhill from there as they were all out for 154 with Chris Brice taking 4-25 and Kez Ahmed 4-41.
Woodlands will now bid to add another trophy to their collection when they go into the Yorkshire Premier League play-offs. They are away to Yorkshire Southern Premier League champions Appleby Frodingham in the semi-finals this Saturday.
Batley were unable to prolong their stay in the Premier beyond a year as they went down by four wickets to runners-up Townville and finished bottom.
In their final game they were undone by the Premier Division’s two leading wicket takers, Conor Harvey (6-43) and Jack Hughes (3-19), as they were dismissed for 85. Kasir Maroof (39no) top scored.
Batley did give Townville a few scares before succumbing to the defeat that confirmed their relegation as Umar Farooq took 4-39 and Adal Islam 2-34. But the Castleford side reached their target with four wickets to spare.
Morley, who were promoted with Batley in 2019, will also be relegated despite beating Cleckheaton by 35 runs in their final game.
Cleckheaton’s disappointing campaign, in which they have finished ninth, was summed up as they were all out for 84 in reply to 119.
Kris Ward (25) top scored while Iain Wardlaw was the pick of the Cleckheaton bowlers with 4-33 and Ethan Lee took 3-28.
Despite recording a two-wicket win over Undercliffe another year of Division One cricket is on the cards for Birstall as they could not cut their cut point gap behind second-placed Bankfoot significantly.
The result left Birstall 20 points behind with just one game remaining.
They did their best to stay in the promotion hunt as they kept Undercliffe to 206-5 then chased down the runs to win with skipper Nick Kaye (54) leading the way and Eric Austin hitting 37.
Seventh-placed East Bierley defeated Keighley by 49 runs after Samuel Gatenby's 103 helped them to pile up a big 285-5 total.
Gatenby hit 16 fours and a six and was backed up by Daniel Cross (44), Ben Walter (41), Paul Martin (30) and Harvey Lockwood (30no).
Keighley were kept to 236-9 as Martin claimed 3-46.
Hartshead Moor look resigned to relegation after falling 14 points adrift following their 51-run defeat to Bankfoot.
Despite an unbeaten 53 from Josh Marsden, they were bowled out for 96 in reply to 147. Marsden also bowled well to take 3-39 while Daniel Squire claimed 3-45.
Gomersal still have points to get to beat the drop after they lost by 23 runs to Pudsey Congs.
Richie Wear took 5-54 as Congs were dismissed for 224, but Gomersal were all out for 201 in reply with Liam Fletcher hitting 57, Andy Gorrod 47 and Jonathan Boynton 29.
Hopton Mills beat Bowling Old Lane by three wickets to stay in the hunt for promotion from Division Two.
Michael Carroll (3-34) and Umar Abbas (3-57) bowled well as Old Lane were dismissed for 135 then Gary Senior (33) and Abbas (30) saw Mills to their target to keep within eight points of second-placed East Ardsley with one match to play.
Relegated Scholes defeated Hunslet Nelson by 87 runs to record only their second victory of the season.
Ali Rafiq made 69 and followed up with 5-47 as Scholes bowled out Hunslet Nelson for 142 after making 229-7. Adnan Ahmed (60) gave good support to Rafiq with the bat as Alastair Finn (3-37) posed the main threat.
Jamal Khojani (55) top scored for Hunslet, who were kept in check by Rafiq and Saif Tahir (5-24).
Bottom team Spen Victoria suffered a six-wicket defeat at home to Sandal.
Brandon Hewlett (51), Will Henshall (44) and Kristian Shuttleworth (30no) enabled the visitors to overcome a total of 190. Haseeb Khan (42) and Mohammad Ullah (34) were Spen’s top scorers.
Sandal recorded their second win of the weekend when they defeated Scholes by six wickets. Openers Leighton Shuttleworth (53) and Danny Riley (46) were backed up by Karl Hewitt (36) as the Scholes total of 158 was overhauled.
Andrew Spencer (55) and Ali Rafiq (45) top scored for Scholes as Brandon Hewlett picked up 4-33.
Liversedge were unlucky to lose to Crossflatts by one wicket.
They had their opponents on 56-6 in reply to 148 before Mohammed Shahnawaz (47) restored some order. But it still needed their last wicket pair of Mayank Singh and Charlotte Boulton to see Crossflatts home.
Adam Clarke (4-61) and James Lunn (3-32) bowled well for Liversedge.
Just a week after beating leaders Great Preston, Heckmondwike & Carlinghow suffered a six-wicket defeat at the hands of second bottom Windhill & Daisy Hill in Division Three.
Byron Greenwood took 3-25 as Heckmondwike & Carlinghow were bowled out for 125.
Crossbank Methodists bowled out Gildersome & Farnley Hill for 71 as they secured a 148-run victory.
Imran Patel (4-34) and Arshad Dan (3-22) shared the bowling honours after the Crossbank score of 219-9 was built around the contributions of James Colbourn (47), Simon Copland (43) and Imran Patel (43no).