EAST Bierley have had a memorable season in knockout competitions.

The Gordon Rigg Bradford League Championship side defeated top-flight Bradford & Bingley in the Priestley Cup, and Wakefield Thornes in a first-round Heavy Woollen Cup tie that has yet to be bettered this season for excitement.

In both of those matches, Bierley passed 300, beating Thornes with a last-wicket stand of 80 between Ben Walter and Reece Clark to overhaul 340 with over 10 overs left.

They went on to reach the last eight of the Heavy Woollen but Bierley’s knockout fever ended in very underwhelming fashion with a nine-wicket defeat at Townville in the Priestley Cup semi-finals.

Caught on a track where the ball turned and lifted, the men from South View Road collapsed from 60-3 to 70 all out after being put in, with spinners Jack Hughes (4.3-4-0-2) and Harry Clewett (4-2-7-4) triggering the shutter of wickets.

It was a good toss to win, with all of the rain that preceded the match, but I suspect that it wouldn’t have altered the outcome had Bierley won it and sent Townville in.

Home skipper Jack Hughes confessed: “The toss was very important. The deck was a lot worse than we thought it was going to be with the weather that we have had around and how it dried out.

“It took chunks out of the top so it was not easy to bat on but it was good for anyone who bowled on it. The seamers were getting it to lift off a length and it was turning square for the spinners.”

Hughes added: “I didn’t really see their collapse coming but we always know that if we keep it tight up front then we then have two good spinners to come on in myself and Harry Clewett.”

As for the attitude of his team when they batted, with Harry Warwick (38 not out off 31 balls) and Hughes himself (24 not out off 24 balls), he said: “It was nothing to do with the weather. If you get one in your area then you have to be positive rather than going for it half-hearted.

“We have pretty deep batting line-up so we wouldn’t have got worried until we were eight down.”

Now Townville’s thoughts turn to a very big weekend in which they face New Farnley at home in the league on Saturday and again take them on the following day in the Priestley Cup final at Undercliffe.

As far as the league is concerned, Townville have 308 points, New Farnley 294 and Woodlands 317, with all three now having played 20 matches in what has been a three-way race for the Premier Division title.

Hughes said: “It will be a big weekend for us with New Farnley on Saturday and Sunday, and we are going to have to be on top of our game to come through on Sunday.”

And on the league, he said: “It will come down to whoever wins those last few games between ourselves, New Farnley and Woodlands (New Farnley host Woodlands on the final league weekend on September 4).”