Toss proves crucial as Lightcliffe end their long wait for Priestley Cup success (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Toss proves crucial as Lightcliffe end their long wait for Priestley Cup success
Lightcliffe are celebrating after ending a 49-year wait to win the JCT600 Bradford League's Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup.
Lightcliffe, watched by Bruce Steadman from their 1964 cup-final winning team, won the toss and put Hanging Heaton in on a damp pitch that gave help to the bowlers, particularly early in the match, and restricted their opponents to 189-9 before coasting to victory with 11 overs to spare.
Delighted Lightcliffe skipper Chris Taylor said: “It was an outstanding team performance, and to win the cup is a great achievement for a club with our resources.”
Taylor said he was ‘slightly disappointed’ with the wet state of the Farsley wicket, adding: “The toss was important and if Hanging Heaton had won the toss it would have been a different matter.”
Yorkshire pace bowler Moin Ashraf gave Lightcliffe the start they wanted, exploiting conditions that helped the ball to seam and swing as he captured the valuable wickets of skipper Mark Lawson and Gary Fellows in his opening spell to leave Hanging Heaton in trouble at 20-2.
Joe Fraser and James Stansfield, named man of the match by former Telegraph & Argus cricket journalist David Warner, led a recovery with a third-wicket stand of 78 before Fraser was caught on the square-leg boundary by Alex Stead off slow left-arm spinner Suleman Khan for 56.
Stansfield then took responsibility for guiding the the innings with some well-judged shot selection that brought him five sixes and six fours in his 88 not out.
Unfortunately for Hanging Heaton, he received insufficient support from his colleagues as the Batley-based team suffered a middle-order collapse, losing four wickets for 23 runs, including the important wicket of big-hitting David Stiff.
Batting conditions became easier as the pitch dried out and Lightcliffe advanced to their victory target without too many alarms.
Taylor and Charlie Roebuck set them on their way with an opening stand of 64 before Roebuck was stumped for 32.
There followed a second-wicket stand of 69 between Taylor and Alex Stead and, when the captain was out for 41, Stead and Oliver Robinson took Lightcliffe to within sight of victory before Stead was dismissed for 45, leaving Robinson to hasten Lightcliffe to their memorable win with 41 not out, including two sixes and six fours.
Disappointed Stansfield said: “Credit to Lightcliffe, but it is a shame that the Priestley Cup is settled on winning the toss.
"The wicket was swinging and seaming early on and they made use of it, but it had dried out and played like a feather bed when they batted and they were under no pressure.
“As a club we have done well, winning the Heavy Woollen Cup and the Priestley Shield and reaching the Priestley Cup final. It is a shame we didn’t win the cup, but they played well and deserved to win.”
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