Undercliffe's gem Akhtar in brilliant debut analysis

Undercliffe's gem Akhtar in brilliant debut analysis

Matthew Simpson fires one down for Bradford & Bingley

Gavin Hamilton hits out for East Bierley

East Bierley skipper Lee Goddard wathes the ball carefully on his way to 38

Gavin Hamilton survives a close shave for East Bierley

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Weeklies Sports Editor

Undercliffe look like they have signed a gem in opening bowler Mubtada Akhtar.

He took 7-24 on his debut for the Intake Road side yesterday as last year’s JCT600 Bradford League runners-up Farsley were skittled out for 54 when the new season finally got under way.

Akhtar, a close-season capture from Bowling Old Lane, announced his arrival in the top flight in style as Undercliffe opened their campaign with a nine-wicket win against the Rams.

Yorkshire’s Callum Geldart hit an unbeaten 46 as Undercliffe romped to their target in 12 overs, and the entire match was wrapped up in just 31.4 overs.

East Bierley were another side to be dismissed cheaply. They made only 76 as Bradford & Bingley cruised to an eight-wicket victory.

Skipper Lee Goddard (38) was the only East Bierley batsman to come to terms with the bowling of Chris Thompson (4-30), Phil Slater (3-3) and new overseas man Sandheep Ravishankar (3-16).

Alex Atkinson, a winter transfer from Netherfield, hit an unbeaten 49 to steer Bradford & Bingley home.

Newly-promoted Saltaire’s shrewd recruitment paid dividends as they recorded a 110-run victory over 2010 champions Pudsey Congs.

New overseas professional Nawaz Sardar – signed from Undercliffe – found conditions at Roberts Park to his liking and took 4-9 in an impressive 12.1-over spell.

Evergreen skipper Ijaz Khan (3-34) was the other main wicket-taker as Congs were dismissed for 96 in reply to Saltaire’s 207-4. Eugene Burzler (36) was top- scorer for Congs.

Two of Saltaire’s new recruits, Irfan Amjad (58) and Tabbi Bhatti (36) – back where he launched his Bradford League career – made key contributions, along with Fahid Rehman (46no).

Lightcliffe lost by ten runs to Manningham Mills on their return to the top flight.

New Mills overseas professional Ali Noman took 4-36 on his debut and was well supported by Iqbal Khan (3-24) as Lightcliffe finished on 179-9 in reply to Mills’ 189-8.

Alex Stead (69) and Charles Roebuck (39) were the pick of Lightcliffe’s batsmen but couldn’t prevent a Mills win.

Opener Farakh Hussain (66) laid the foundation for Mills, while Khan (36no, including four sixes and two fours) scored quick runs at the end of the innings after Lightcliffe’s overseas player Suleman Khan took 5-50.

Champions Woodlands recovered from 16-3 to post the day’s highest score of 232-8 as they defeated Hanging Heaton by 36 runs.

Simon Mason led the way with a determined 58 and shared in a vital fourth-wicket stand of 112 with Chris Brice (39).

Grant Soames (41) continued the good work before Sarfraz Ahmed produced some late fireworks with four sixes in his 33.

Former Yorkshire leg-spinner Mark Lawson was the most successful bowler with 3-42.

Hanging Heaton made a spirited reply but were always behind the asking rate as Woodlands skipper Pieter Swanepoel took 5-43.

Joe Frazer (49) and former Yorkshire wicketkeeper Ismail Dawood – back at the club after a spell at East Bierley – chipped in with 44.

Cleckheaton went down to a 47-run defeat against Pudsey St Lawrence, for whom David Hester (65) and Adam Waite (62) caught the eye in their 177-9. Richard Whitehurst got 58 for Cleck.

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