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Tim Jackson says heat is off for Cleckheaton
When Woodlands met Cleckheaton in late June last year, the Albert Terrace side were 24 points ahead at the top in the race for the JCT600 Bradford League title.
However, inspired by an unbeaten 127 by Tim Jackson, the Moorenders chased down a total of 235 to win by eight wickets.
Cleckheaton won their next six matches too to turn a sizeable deficit into a 33-point advantage at the helm on their way to the first title.
However, they still needed a minimum of four points against Woodlands in the last game of the season to be certain of making skipper John Wood’s year.
Jackson said: “The first win over Woodlands was important, because if we had lost we would have been over 30 points behind them, but it was still relatively early in the season.
“Other key games were at Pudsey St Lawrence two weeks later (when Cleck-heaton went back to the top) and the return match against Woodlands on the last day of the season.
“People say ‘You only needed four points to win it’ but we were 38-2 and had to get to 150,” said Jackson.
“My 127 was important against Woodlands earlier in the season but so was my 67 on the final day.”
With Cleckheaton’s rugby union team also winning their division over the winter, Jackson said: “There is a crossover between spectators from cricket and rugby and a real buzz about the place at the moment.
“Winning last year has given us confidence, and we feel that the pressure is off us having finally won the title, and we just carried that form on last Saturday.”
Hosts Pudsey Congs put on 157 for their first wicket but were pegged back by spinners Tanzeel Altaf (4-71) and Andrew Deegan (3-38), who Jackson calls their most improved player last term.
Still facing a stiff total of 243-8, John Wood (88) and Mal Nicholson (70) added 163 for Cleckheaton’s second wicket as they reached their target in only 42.5 overs.
On Saturday, the defending champions host Woodlands, who have Chris Brice back this season, and Jackson, who missed last week, added: “There are no easy games in this division as anybody can beat anybody.
“Apart from our overseas player changing (Altaf has replaced Ammar Mahmood), we have also brought in Andy Gorrod from Gomersal in Division Two.”
Gorrod burst onto the Bradford League scene with three centuries in 2011 as a teenager, and, although he hasn’t sustained that marvellous start, Jackson said: “He is one for the future and will make some telling contributions.”
Congs are at Morley, who gave themselves confidence with a four-wicket at New Farnley. Lightcliffe host Farsley in a battle of victors.
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