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Another defeat for Woodlands hands title rivals a chance at Bradford League summit
Bankfoot wicketkeeper Micky Hutchins shows his agility behind the stumps, before later top-scoring with 61 in his side’s victory over Idle
The JCT600 Bradford League title race is set for a dramatic finale on Saturday with four teams still in the hunt.
Just 11 points separate faltering Division One leaders Woodlands and fourth-placed East Bierley after an eventful Sunday programme.
Woodlands saw their lead cut to four points after a third successive league defeat, with the loss at Farsley also keeping alive the Red Lane club’s hopes of avoiding relegation.
Cleckheaton beat Hanging Heaton by 129 runs, Lightcliffe edged out Pudsey Congs by seven runs and East Bierley overcame Manningham Mills by 106 runs in a dress rehearsal for the Priestley Cup final next Sunday.
The last-day league fixtures, which were moved from the opening day due to rain, see Woodlands at home to Bradford & Bingley , Cleckheaton – chasing their first title – at Pudsey Congs, East Bierley host Pudsey St Lawrence and Lightcliffe entertain an Undercliffe side whose relegation was confirmed when they lost by eight wickets at Pudsey St Lawrence.
Farsley’s surprise win over Woodlands came as makeshift opener Neil Laidlaw hit 86 and skipper Ian Philliskirk 74 in their side’s 242-9 (Pieter Swanepoel 5-61).
Woodlands were then dismissed for 149 as Farsley gained a huge boost, although they remain 12 points adrift of third-bottom Hanging Heaton as they head for Manningham Mills in their final game.
Like Woodlands, Heaton are on a bad run at the wrong time. They were comprehensively beaten by Cleckheaton, who piled up 255-9 (John Wood 50, Tim Jackson 50) before bowling out their opponents for 125.
Overseas player Rao Anjum (75) and in-form spinner Kez Ahmed (5-38) shone as East Bierley (242-7) followed up their victory over Woodlands the previous day with another comfortable triumph at Manningham Mills (136).
Lightcliffe openers Alex Lees (103) and Chris Taylor (75) shared a stand of 163 as their side posted 254-7, before Pudsey Congs finished just short on 247-9 (Babar Butt 72, Basil Akram 60).
The day’s highest-scoring match was at Wagon Lane as Bradford & Bingley made 321-4 (Simon Davies 119, Scott Etherington 56, James Davies 50no) and Saltaire replied with 260-7 (Tabbi Bhatti 57, Farhan Khan 50).
The best bowling performance came from Pudsey St Lawrence off-spinner Chris Marsden, who took 7-29 as Undercliffe were bowled out for 98. Skipper Mark Robertshaw made 54 not out as St Lawrence won easily.
Sohail Raz took 5-36 as Horton were skittled for 96 and opener Gharib Razak then made an unbeaten 62 to secure the win.
Baildon have now completed their programme and must wait to see the result of Saturday’s promotion decider between Morley and Yeadon to see if they are champions.
If Yeadon, who were without a game on Sunday, gain 16 points they will finish top – but Morley can snatch the second promotion spot if they are victorious.
Morley (219) bounced back from their defeat at Baildon 24 hours earlier with a 124-run win over Keighley (95) as overseas player Kashif Naveed made a superb 120, his second century of the weekend.
Gomersal (181-9 – Adam Greenwood 53) came out on top by 27 runs in their clash with neighbours Spen Victoria (154).
Brighouse batsman Zahir Hussain was run out for 99 as his basement side suffered a 60-run defeat at Hartshead Moor (228-9).
Micky Hutchins (61) helped power Bankfoot to a six-wicket win at second-bottom Idle (202-9 – Gareth Duckworth 65), while Simon Curry made 61 as Windhill eased to a three-wicket win over Bowling Old Lane (192).