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Iain Wardlaw shines as Cleckheaton close in on crown
Yorkshire pace bowler Iain Wardlaw produced a fine all-round performance to help Cleckheaton to move within touching distance of their first JCT600 Bradford League Division One title with a 168-run win over relegated Saltaire.
Their 15th win of the season leaves them 17 points clear of second-placed Pudsey St Lawrence, needing four points from their final match at defending champions Woodlands to make sure of the championship.
Wardlaw made 63 not out to help Cleckheaton post a formidable 283-8 and then took 4-20, supported by spinner Andrew Deegan with 3-35, as Saltaire were bowled out for 115.
Mally Nicholson was top scorer with 89, while Richard Whitehurst made 56 and Tim Jackson 38 to leave the opener needing 49 from the last match to reach 1,000 runs for the season. Second-placed Pudsey St Lawrence kept their title ambitions alive while ending Woodlands’ faint hopes of their third successive crown by beating them by 44 runs at Tofts Road.
Openers Mark Robert-shaw (33) and Adam Waite (26) gave St Lawrence a solid start with a first-wicket stand of 56. Four wickets then fell for 18 before a fifth-wicket stand of 114 between Chris Marsden (84no) and James Smith (69) enabled them to gain maximum batting points on 241-6.
Not for the first time this season, Woodlands’ early batting stumbled as they slipped to 89-6 before Umar Salim (49no) and Sarfraz Ahmed (31) enabled them to reach 197-9 and deny St Lawrence a fifth bowling point.
Fourth-placed Pudsey Congs made the day’s highest score – 310-6 – as they beat Morley by 159 runs. Opener Callum Geldart top-scored with 101 and was joined in an opening stand of 150 by Nick Lindley (70).
Skipper Matthew Baxter made 52 in reply but Morley were bowled out for 151, with off-spinner Eddie Walmsley taking 4-56.
Hanging Heaton opener Gary Fellows made the day’s highest individual score as his side bounced back from their Priestley Cup final defeat with a 96-run home win over East Bierley. The former Yorkshire all-rounder scored 132, taking his tally in league matches to 979, as Hanging Heaton reached 258-9. Bierley were bowled out for 162 as David Stiff took 4-40.
Relegated Baildon gained a surprise 102-run win over neighbours Bradford & Bingley. Solid batting from Jonny Reynolds (48), Vaibhav Naik (47) and Simon Webb (44) enabled them to reach 206-8. Bingley, who had beaten leaders Cleckheaton the week before, then showed the inconsistency that has plagued their season by slumping to 102 all out with Sohail Raz taking 5-59.
Overseas player Suleman Khan played a leading all-round role as Priestley Cup winners Lightcliffe beat Manningham Mills by six wickets. Khan took 4-63 with his left arm spin as Mills made 212-7, Zarak Khan, their top scorer with 89.
He then scored 88 as he and Alex Stead 66 guided Lightcliffe to victory.
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