Weather causes cup final misery

THE wretched summer weather continued to cause havoc over the Bank Holiday weekend.

After much of Saturday’s programme was abandoned, the rain ruined Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Priestley Cup final at Spen Victoria.

Manningham Mills had reduced East Bierley to 99-6 when play was suspended for the day and although the sides, and spectators, returned to see the conclusion on Monday it was clear no play would be possible.

The Bradford League management board took the hard decision to cancel the game and the final will now be replayed from scratch on Sunday September 16, the same day as the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy final between Wrenthorpe and Whitley Hall at Elsecar and the re-arranged Crowther Cup final between Woodlands and Baildon at Shepley.

Shepley’s ground was declared unfit 24 hours before Monday’s scheduled Crowther final.

That is three major finals which have been forced to be rescheduled, with the Heavy Woollen Cup final between Wrenthorpe and Townville at Liversedge rearranged for this Sunday (September 2, noon).

Bierley will breath a huge sigh of relief at getting a second bite of the cherry in the Priestley Cup after they were in deep trouble against Manningham.

Mills won the toss and asked Bierley to bat first and opening bowlers Iqbal Khan and Zeeshan Qasim took full advantage of the favourable conditions.

Khan’s allotted 10 overs included six maidens and cost just seven runs – four of which came off his final over — as Bierley were reduced to 58-6.

The difficult batting conditions were typified when it took Pakistan Test player, Bierley all-rounder Rao Anjum, 35 balls to get off the mark.

Nick Walker (22) and Tim Cooper (20no) led a Bierley fightback as they reached 99-6 when rain saw play suspended, despite the hard work from volunteers at Spen Victoria.

Bradford League chief executive David Young said: “We fully understand the frustration of the players, the umpires, the officials of both clubs and the spectators who supported the game so well on Sunday. In particular we feel for the Spen Victoria members who worked tirelessly first to get the game on after heavy rain on Saturday, and then to try and mop up after Sunday’s deluge.

“They were back at the ground from 7am on Monday but despite their best efforts the ground remained saturated.

“It is just typical of this rain-ravaged season that it should disrupt the cup final when it was at an interesting stage.”

The Bradford League have confirmed that there will be no admission charge when the final is replayed on September 16.