In a dramatic turn of events, East Bierley has claimed the top position in the congested promotion battle of the Bradford Cricket League Division One. They secured a nail-biting five-run victory over Carlton, propelling them to the summit. Meanwhile, Morley, the previous leaders, suffered an 11-run defeat against Undercliffe, sliding down to seventh place in the standings.
East Bierley had to rely on a late surge from their Pakistani fast bowler, Nisar Ahmad, who took impressive figures of 4-65, to seal their latest triumph. Spencer Hunt (52), Dan White (50), and Kieron Holliday (51) threatened to chase down the target of 263, but Ahmad’s heroics proved decisive.
Opener Sam Gatenby played a pivotal role in East Bierley’s innings, smashing an incredible 100 runs, including 18 boundaries. Tom Burton (30) provided valuable support, while Charles Dissanayake (3-39) and Kieron Holliday (3-39) battled hard for Carlton.
Cleckheaton closely trails East Bierley, sitting just one point behind in second place. Their victory over Sandal by seven wickets was fueled by the exceptional performance of their young spinners, Ibrahim Ahmed (6-52) and debutant Lachlan Doidge (3-24). Sandal struggled and was dismissed for a paltry 147 runs, failing to capitalise on a promising start. Cleckheaton’s overseas player, Yousaf Baber, remained unbeaten on 71 to secure the win.
Gomersal comfortably clinched a seven-wicket victory over Baildon, solidifying their position in third place. Graham Hilton (71 not out), Andy Gorrod (57 not out), and Richard Wear (33) guided Gomersal past Baildon’s total of 190-9. Jonny Reynolds (63) top-scored for Baildon, while Chris Rhodes (3-42) and Fergus McKenna (3-49) shared the bowling honours.
Undercliffe emerged victorious against Morley, thanks to Oliver Hardaker’s crucial knock of 107 runs. Hardaker’s powerful innings, comprising five sixes and 12 fours, enabled Undercliffe to post a competitive score of 246-7. James McNichol led Morley’s reply with an impressive century, smashing a six and 10 fours, but fell as the ninth wicket with his team’s total at 235. Sunny Matharu’s spell of 4-64 turned the tide in Undercliffe’s favour.
Batley continued to pose a strong challenge in the league after bowling out East Ardsley for a meagre 87 runs, securing a comprehensive 108-run victory. Nasir Jamal’s exceptional bowling figures of 5-28 restricted East Ardsley’s resistance, with only Ashley Pearson (31) offering some resilience. Opener Roheil Hussain (60) top-scored for Batley, who set a target of 195. Oliver Appleyard (4-21) and Josh Wild (4-42) were the main threats for East Ardsley.
Yeadon comfortably moved into mid-table with a convincing 61-run victory over Birstall, courtesy of Gulsheraz Ahmed’s unbeaten century. Ahmed’s brilliant knock of 111, comprising one six and 17 fours, guided Yeadon to a competitive total of 238-8. Despite Waqas Khan’s commendable performance (4-58) with the ball for Birstall, their batsmen failed to chase down the target. Amir Hussain (58) and captain Nick Kaye (55) provided crucial contributions before Birstall was bowled out for 177. Spinner Amir Hussain stood out, claiming impressive figures of 6-41.
As the battle for promotion intensifies in the Bradford Cricket League Division One, East Bierley will aim to maintain their newfound lead, while other contenders look to regain momentum in their pursuit of climbing up the ranks.