NICK Connolly became the first batsman to pass 1,000 runs this season as Hanging Heaton moved within touching distance of the All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League Premier Division title.

Connolly's 75 took him to 1,031 as Hanging Heaton defeated Cleckheaton by 83 runs on a day when their two nearest challengers both lost.

Farsley went down by 124 runs to New Farnley, while Woodlands saw their slim chance of honours disappear with a six-wicket defeat against Townville.

It means that Hanging Heaton only need 15 points from their remaining two games - at home to East Bierley next Saturday and at Pudsey St Lawrence on the final day.

Once again it was the opening pair of Connolly and skipper Gary Fellows that set Hanging Heaton on course to victory with a partnership of 153.

Fellows hit four sixes and nine fours as he made 116 - his second successive century.

Hanging Heaton went on to make 244-6 as Curtis Free picked up 3-57 for Cleckheaton.

Overseas player Muhammad Rameez again came up trumps with his left-arm spin.

He took 5-31 and was backed up by off-spinner Callum Geldart (3-42) as Cleckheaton were restricted to 161-9, their top scorer being Qaisar Ashraf with 41.

The result saw Cleckheaton slide into the bottom two in what has become a four-way battle to avoid the drop.

Batley and Pudsey Congs both boosted their chances with wins.

Batley beat Lightcliffe by five wickets, while Congs saw off Bradford & Bingley by 30 runs.

With East Bierley suffering a five-wicket defeat against Pudsey St Lawrence, just seven points cover the bottom four.

Batley have 158, East Bierley (157), Cleckheaton (156) and Pudsey Congs (151).

Irfan Amjad again played a crucial innings for Pudsey Congs.

His knock of 80 helped them to post a total of 187-8, despite the efforts of paceman Jack Hartley (4-49).

The young Congs bowling attack backed up Amjad's efforts by bowling out Bradford & Bingley for 157.

Hartley (53) was the only batsman to threaten Congs' grip on the game, off-spinner Josh Wheatley returning 4-40 in what could prove to be a very significant win.

Muhammad Shahnawaz was the match winner for battling Batley with impressive figures of 6-16 as Lightcliffe were bowled out for 109.

Skipper Matt Baxter (45) and Kashif Naveed (30) provided the bulk of Lightcliffe's runs.

Opener Sufyan Patel (39) and Kashif Talib (31no) made sure that Batley completed a five-wicket win.

East Bierley were sent spinning deeper into the relegation mire by the Pudsey St Lawrence off-spinners Steve Watts (4-31) and Chris Marsden (4-54) as they were bowled out for 168 when they batted first.

Amar Rashid (45) and skipper Adam Patel (33) lacked support as their side's innings petered out.

Umar Yaqoob (4-39) lifted East Bierley's spirits by removing both St Lawrence openers cheaply, but Barrie Frankland ensured there were no further alarms for St Lawrence with a season's best 86 not out.

Tom Hudson, promoted to No 5, made 43.

Sweden's captain Mitch O'Connor warmed up for today's Priestley Cup final with a century as New Farnley dealt a hammer blow to Farsley's title ambitions.

O'Connor struck four sixes and 14 fours in his 106, and was well supported by opening partner Simon Lambert (41), skipper Lee Goddard (56) and Andrew Hodd (35) in a total of 288-7.

Chris Henry was again the pick of Farsley's bowlers with 3-54.

None of the Farsley batsmen were able to take control as spinners Luke Jarvis (4-44) and Dave McCallum (3-45) got to work.

Woodlands looked to be suffering a hangover from their Heavy Woollen Cup final triumph over Hoylandswaine as they were bowled out for 106 against Townville.

Spinner Jack Hughes (4-22) and Shkym Haynes (3-35) did the damage with the ball before Brayden Clark (38) and Hughes (29no) saw them to their target.