Bradford Cricket League Division One witnessed an exhilarating match as Cleckheaton emerged victorious with a comprehensive seven-wicket win against East Ardsley. Opener Waleed Akhtar played a sensational innings, scoring an impressive 119 runs to guide his team to victory while chasing down a target of 272.
Akhtar’s commanding knock included a remarkable 20 boundaries, consisting of well-timed fours. He found a formidable partner in overseas player Yousaf Baber, who contributed a valuable 59 runs during their second-wicket partnership of 133. Cleckheaton comfortably achieved the target with 14 balls to spare, affirming their position as the league leaders.
Despite being at the bottom of the table, East Ardsley showcased promising form with the bat. Josh Wild continued his recent fine form, leading the charge with an impressive 94 runs. The middle order also made valuable contributions, with Gary Jennings (44), Suraj Singh (43), and Ashley Pearson (33) adding crucial runs. However, Iain Wardlaw (3-49) and James Stansfield (3-35) of Cleckheaton managed to restrict East Ardsley’s total to 272, which ultimately proved insufficient to prevent defeat.
In another thrilling encounter, Undercliffe secured a hard-fought 40-run victory over East Bierley. The match witnessed a late assault from Umar Abbas, the former Hopton Mills player, who smashed an astonishing 116 runs from just 68 balls. Abbas struck an impressive tally of 10 sixes and nine fours, single-handedly providing resistance as his team was dismissed for 206. Undercliffe’s Jude Roberts performed admirably, taking 3-49 to play a crucial role in their victory.
Undercliffe’s innings saw Skipper Bailey Worcester (86) and Chris Gordon (42) as the main contributors, propelling their team to a respectable total of 246. East Bierley’s paceman Nisar Ahmad impressed once again, claiming 5-58. However, his efforts were not enough to secure a win for his team.
Morley delivered a significant blow to Batley’s promotion hopes by registering a convincing five-wicket win at Scatcherd Lane. Wicketkeeper Liam Thomas played a match-winning knock of an unbeaten 64, guiding Morley to surpass the visitors’ total of 162.
Batley’s Danyaal Hussain and Umar Farooq made contributions of 41 runs each, but their efforts lacked substantial support from the rest of the batting lineup. Joe Finnigan (4-46) of Morley paved the way for his team’s third consecutive league victory.
Meanwhile, Gomersal’s Fergus McKenna continued his impressive form, leaving opponents in awe with his remarkable performance. McKenna unleashed his attacking prowess, smashing an astounding 158 not out from just 88 deliveries. His innings consisted of an astonishing 13 sixes and 13 fours, propelling Gomersal to a thrilling four-wicket victory while chasing down Birstall’s total of 243-8.
Birstall owed a significant portion of their total to captain Nick Kaye’s exceptional knock of 92 runs. Dominic Cleghorn (36*) and Andrew Robertson (32) also provided valuable support but couldn’t prevent their team from succumbing to defeat.
Yeadon, currently in fourth place, showcased their determination to secure promotion with a convincing 65-run win over Carlton. Josh Watson (55), Adeel Ashraf (51), and Gareth Lee (30) were the main contributors to Yeadon’s total of 205-7. In response, Carlton faltered and were eventually bowled out for 140. Spinner Amir Hussain (5-35) and Istikhar Hussain (3-36) excelled with the ball for Yeadon, while Farrukh Alam’s 4-44 for Carlton was notable.
Sandal managed to lift themselves out of the bottom two positions with a hard-fought three-wicket victory over Baildon. Michael Carroll (5-26) and Kasun Madushanka (3-23) combined brilliantly to restrict Baildon to a meagre total of 96. Despite a defiant burst of 5-30 from Australian bowler Jamin Barron-Toop, Sohail Hussain’s unbeaten knock of 37 guided Sandal to a nerve-wracking victory.
The action-packed encounters in Bradford Cricket League Division One have intensified the competition, with Cleckheaton maintaining its position at the top of the league. However, teams like Undercliffe, Morley, and Yeadon continue to show their mettle, making the promotion race a thrilling battle to watch.