CLECKHEATON took a giant step towards retaining their Division One title, ruthlessly beating Morley by nine wickets while their main rivals Woodlands and Pudsey St Lawrence suffered surprise defeats.
The results leave Cleckheaton 35 points ahead of Woodlands with five matches to play while Farsley and Pudsey St Lawrence are a further nine points adrift.
Paceman Iain Wardlaw took 5-32 and overseas leg spinner 3-21 as Morley were bowled out for 78.
Then Altaf, promoted to open the innings, struck five sixes and two fours in his 45 not out as Cleckheaton reached their modest target in only 8.4 overs.
New Farnley severely dented Woodlands’ title hopes with a tense four-run win. Skipper Mark Lawson top-scored with 60 not out in New Farnley’s total of 139-9 in a 39 overs per side match as Sarfraz Ahmed took 4-30 and Chris Brice (4-41).
Woodlands were reduced to 52-6 in reply as Nick Walker took 4-33. Wicketkeeper Usman Salim led the revival with 41, but they finished agonisingly short on 135-9.
Farsley beat neighbours Pudsey St Lawrence in a match reduced to 20 overs at Tofts Road – a result that leaves both clubs on 180 points, but Farsley moved into third place above St Lawrence because they have won one more match.
Chris Marsden top scored with 70 not out as St Lawrence reached 141-6 before Barrie Frankland (61) and former Yorkshire batsman Joe Sayers (59) put together an opening stand of 106 to set up a seven-wicket victory with 11 balls to spare.
Hanging Heaton are three points behind St Lawrence after beating Pudsey Congs at home by 14 runs.
Joe Fraser (59), David Stiff (52) and Gary Fellows (45) were the main contributors as Hanging Heaton totalled 222-7 in 35 overs. Stiff followed up his fine performance with the bat by taking 5-46 as Congs were restricted to 208-9, of which Callum Geldart made 44.
Lightcliffe beat Bradford & Bingley by 24 runs at Wagon Lane in a match restricted to 26 overs. Skipper Jonathan Wilson led the way with 63 while Alex Stead made 45 and Suleman Khan 36 not out as Lightcliffe reached 173-4.
Captain Phil Slater (56) and Ryan Cooper (52no) spearheaded Bingley’s response, but their challenge faltered as they settled on 149-9 with off-spinner Josh Wheatley taking 4-29 and slow left-arm bowler Chris Greenwood 3-29.
With Second Division leaders Undercliffe having a day off, the focus was on Saltaire and Keighley, who are battling for second place.
Second-placed Saltaire managed a ten-run win over Idle at Roberts Park while Keighley defeated Brighouse by 74-runs in a 25-over match.