Bradford Cricket League Division One witnessed a thrilling encounter on Saturday, 1st July 2023, as Cleckheaton Cricket Club continued their dominance by defeating Gomersal by a massive 148 runs. The highlight of the match was Yousaf Baber’s scintillating century, his fourth of the season, which played a pivotal role in Cleckheaton’s triumph.
Baber’s extraordinary knock of 134 included a stunning display of power-hitting, smashing 11 sixes and nine fours. His innings propelled Cleckheaton to a formidable total of 321-6. Ethan Lee (83) also played a crucial role in the team’s success, forging a vital partnership of 207 runs with Baber for the third wicket. Mally Nicholson’s contribution of 46 further consolidated Cleckheaton’s strong position.
However, rain interrupted the proceedings, forcing Gomersal to chase a revised target of 319 runs from 42 overs according to the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method. Despite the early efforts of Richard Wear (62) and Fergus McKenna (43), Gomersal struggled to maintain the required run rate. Their innings eventually fizzled out, and they were bundled out for 170 runs. James Stansfield continued his recent excellent form, claiming five wickets for 46 runs.
With this victory, Cleckheaton remains firmly at the top of the league table with 183 points, holding a nine-point lead over second-placed Undercliffe. Undercliffe’s win over Batley showcased another remarkable century, as wicketkeeper Kyle Welsh smashed his maiden ton with an unbeaten 116 runs. Welsh’s innings, which included three sixes and 16 fours, was instrumental in Undercliffe’s total of 250-4. Danish Hussain (80) also contributed significantly to the team’s success. Batley, in their pursuit, faltered and were bowled out for 189 runs, with Zeeshan Qasim (4-47) and Abdullah Khan (4-63) shining as the pick of the bowlers.
Morley Cricket Club’s winning streak propelled them to the third position in the league after a thrilling four-run victory against Carlton. Ali Usman, Morley’s overseas player, showcased his left-arm spin skills by taking five wickets for 80 runs. Carlton fought valiantly but fell just short of the revised target of 268 runs, finishing at 263-9. James Cooper (54), Kieran Holliday (45), Tom Taylor (43 not out), Farrukh Alam (40), and Daniel Ford (32) led Carlton’s fightback. Morley’s Henry Rush top-scored with 78 runs, while Ali Usman (33), Liam Thomas (33), and Joe Finnigan (32) made valuable contributions. Wasim Khaliq’s bowling performance of 3-43 was the highlight for Carlton.
Sandal Cricket Club continued their climb away from the relegation battle with a convincing 145-run victory over bottom-placed East Ardsley. Sandal’s overseas player, Kasun Madushanka, led the charge with an impressive knock of 76 runs. Brandon Hewlett (69) partnered with Madushanka for a crucial 104-run sixth-wicket partnership, following the foundation laid by opener Karl Hewitt (62). Sandal finished with a challenging total of 286-7. East Ardsley struggled in their reply, managing only 141 runs before being dismissed. Michael Carroll (3-32) and Sam Noden (3-52) stood out as the standout bowlers for Sandal.
Despite a hard-fought victory, Baildon Cricket Club remains in the bottom two of the league table. They secured a four-wicket win against Yeadon, thanks to outstanding bowling performances by Raman Athwal (5-13) and Stefan Mather (3-33). Yeadon’s innings collapsed dramatically as they lost their last eight wickets for a mere 22 runs, getting bowled out for 136. Pasindu Thirimadura (48) and Gulsheraz Ahmed (33) provided a promising start for Yeadon, but Kevin McDermott (45) and Joel Newlove’s unbeaten 40 ensured Baildon’s victory despite Istikhar Hussain’s efforts with the ball (3-36).
In another match, Birstall snapped their losing streak with a hard-fought 21-run victory over East Bierley. Dominic Cleghorn’s knock of 47 helped Birstall reach a total of 183 runs. East Bierley’s batting lineup struggled, with only opener Sam Gatenby (53) making a notable contribution. They were eventually bowled out for 161 runs, with Richard Pearson claiming four wickets for just ten runs. Birstall’s triumph takes them to 105 points, one ahead of Baildon in the league standings.
The Bradford Cricket League Division One continues to provide thrilling encounters as teams battle for supremacy. Cleckheaton’s dominance at the top, along with intriguing performances from other teams, has made the ongoing season an exciting spectacle for cricket enthusiasts.