IT WAS a day that saw early starts and big surprises in The All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League top flight with two of the leading three teams suffering shock defeats.

The biggest upset was at Moorend where Cleckheaton beat leaders New Farnley by 56 runs while champions Hanging Heaton went down by 67 runs at Woodlands.

With Pudsey St Lawrence, Farsley and Methley all recording victories, it means that just 25 points separate table-topping New Farnley and sixth-placed Woodlands.

New Farnley were scuppered by their former player Nick Walker. He took 5-42 as they were bowled out for 163 after Cleckheaton had made 219.

Overseas player Tayyab Tahir continues to prove a shrewd signing. He made 96 with two sixes and 16 fours before being dismissed with his fourth century of the season in sight.

Opener Nick Lindley (43) also made an important contribution as Ajmal Shahzad (3-53) and Simon Lambert (3-29) proved to be the most successful bowlers.

Woodlands put their recent batting woes behind them as they made 244-9 against Hanging Heaton. Overseas player Ishfaq Ahmed (60) and skipper Tim Jackson (53) were key contributors, while David Stiff (3-43) and Josh Holling (3-73) were the best of the Hanging Heaton bowlers.

Hanging Heaton lost wickets at regular intervals and were unable to build sufficient momentum as spinners Kez Ahmed (5-44) and Chris Brice (3-39) found conditions to their liking. Callum Geldart (37) top scored for Hanging Heaton.

Pudsey St Lawrence were one of the early starters at 9am and had wrapped up a three-wicket victory over Lightcliffe long before England kicked off in their World Cup quarter-final against Sweden.

Both sides struggled on a wicket which had uneven bounce. Lightcliffe were dismissed for 80 as Richie Lamb (6-27) and Charlie Parker (4-36) made life tough for the visitors.

St Lawrence didn’t find things any easier when they batted. They slipped to 45-6 as Yassir Abbas (4-38) and Suleman Khan (3-35) had them struggling before Parker saw his side home with the match’s highest individual score of 19 not out.

The result means St Lawrence are now just two adrift of New Farnley in what is proving an increasingly interesting title race.

James Logan produced another good all-round performance for Farsley as they leap-frogged Hanging Heaton into third with a comfortable eight-wicket win at East Bierley.

Logan took 5-19 and was backed up by overseas player Pat Kruger (3-20) as East Bierley crumbled to 99 all out. Farsley stumbled to 7-2 before Logan (51no) and Dan Hodgson (34no) saw them home with an unbroken stand of 93.

Methley are fifth following their 81-run success against struggling Bradford & Bingley. Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite (98) and Adam Patel (62) set them on course for a total of 238 against a bowling attack in which James Wilmshurst (3-40) and Bradley Reeve (3-68) were the most successful.

Bradford & Bingley were bowled out for 157 with only Ed Brown (54) taking the challenge to seam bowlers Sohail Raz (4-35) and Marcus Walmsley (3-44).

Townville were another side to find the 9am start to their liking as they cruised to an eight-wicket win over second-bottom Scholes.

A second-wicket partnership of 118 between Jonathan Booth (77no) and Brayden Clark (41) enabled them to comfortably overhaul the Scholes score of 161. Shahid Nawaz (3-23) was the best of the Townville bowlers, while opener Shoukat Ali (35) was top scorer for Scholes.