LOGAN Weston produced a man-of-the-match JCT600 Bradford League performance to keep second-placed Woodlands in touch with Division One leaders Cleckheaton with a 67-run win at Pudsey Congs.
Weston's ability as a batsman is well known and he held the visitors' innings together superbly with an invaluable 134, enabling them to secure maximum batting points on 225-8 after they had begun badly, losing their first three wickets for a mere 17 runs.
But how many Woodlands members knew what an accomplished off-spinner he is before this match?
With Woodlands lacking slow left-arm bowler Chris Brice and injured off-spinner Grant Soames, skipper Pieter Swanepoel threw the ball to Weston early in the innings and the Cumbria player, who joined the Bradford League club from Southport and Birkdale last winter, responded superbly by bowling 15 consecutive overs, taking 3-52 as Congs were bowled out for 158.
Weston said: "I bowled a little bit at Southport and I bowl occasionally for Cumbria. But I have only bowled about six overs in the league this season because we have got two very good spinners in Chris Brice and Grant Soames.
"After we lost three early wickets, I just had to dig in and take the pressure off the other lads. It was just one of those days when the ball came off the bat.
"On a pitch like that, we would normally hope to make 260, but 225 proved to be enough."
Weston took the key wickets of Adam Patel, wicketkeeper Andrew Bairstow and skipper Gareth Phillips – and there was immense satisfaction among the Woodlands contingent that teenage quick bowler Elliot Richardson took 3-13 in 6.3 overs, including the vital wicket of top-scoring opener Callum Geldart, before returning to wrap up the innings with the last two wickets, while Sarfraz Ahmed and Scott Richardson each took two wickets.
After openers Sam Frankland and Duncan Snell as well as Simon Mason fell cheaply, all to Australian pace bowler James Pearson, Weston led a rescue act, ably supported by skipper Pieter Swanepoel as together they put on 115 for the fourth wicket.
Once Swanepoel was out for 43, Woodlands slipped to 152-7 after losing four wickets for 20 runs before Weston and Scott Richardson added 72 for the eighth wicket.
Weston, who hit ten fours and six sixes in an innings lasting 176 minutes, became Pearson's fourth victim, caught on the boundary in the last over with one run needed for maximum batting points, which they achieved off the last ball of the innings.
Congs began promisingly as Geldart and Nick Lindley put on 39 for the first wicket but, after Lindley was bowled offering no stroke to Safraz Ahmed, they slipped to 62-4.
Then once Geldart was fifth out at 78, of which he had made 57, the game was as good as over despite some late defiance from Babar Butt (26) and Mustafa Rafique (25) and they were bowled out for 158 with 3.3 overs left.
Disappointed Congs skipper Gareth Phillips said: "We started well with the bat but to lose four quick wickets to leave us 62-4 was a blow. It was hard to come back from that."