MORLEY, Bankfoot and Batley beware.

After Lightcliffe and Undercliffe’s relegation from the All Rounder Cricket Bradford League Premier Division, the three leading sides in Championship Division One hoping to go up should have a stark message from umpire Nigel Thornton ringing in their ears.

Thornton, who umpired the crucial Undercliffe v Townville clash in the Premier Division, said in the bar afterwards: “There is a massive difference between Championship One and the Premier Division.”

Third-from-bottom Undercliffe, promoted last season as Championship One runners-up, either needed to beat second-placed Townville or have Bradford & Bingley defeat Wrenthorpe to survive.

The Intake Road side set up the equation well for themselves by dismissing Townville for 137 but then could not seal the deal, with a mixture of injudicious shots and good spin bowling leading to them being dismissed an agonising 20 runs short.

And it was soon obvious that there would be no help from Wagon Lane as second-from-bottom Wrenthorpe, who started the day eight points behind Undercliffe (179 v 171), defeated Bradford & Bingley by 99 runs.

There was no doubt afterwards that Undercliffe’s Scott Etherington, who wants to remain as skipper next season, felt that his team should still be playing in the top flight in 2020.

On the Townville match, he said: “We should have done it really but it was not all down to this match but all of the season.

“We haven’t done enough. We had chances against Lightcliffe, on Saturday against Hanging Heaton, where we needed less than a hundred with nine wickets left, and we should have beaten Farsley home and away.”

Undercliffe, Division One champions in 2018, therefore continue their yo-yo existence, also having won the second tier in 2014 only to be relegated the following season.

Townville, wanting to finish as runners-up behind Woodlands, won the toss and batted, which didn’t disappoint Etherington as he said that he would have bowled.

The wicket showed that it had early bounce and carry and Townville were soon 5-2 as Jonathan Booth sliced Craig Wiseman in what seemed slow motion to Khalid Usman in the gully and skipper Jack Hughes edged Zeeshan Qasim to Jack Holland, who was wearing the gloves in place of Luke Heinemann (gout).

Overseas player Imran Rafique then dropped anchor as wickets fell at steady intervals at the other end to left-arm spinner Usman, who recovered from a poor first over, and tall off-spinner Simon Lambert, both finishing with 4-47.

Deliveries were more likely to turn by a foot rather than a few inches as Townville slipped to 61-6 but their innings was given the impetus it needed by the powerful and inventive Ritchie Bresnan, who added 44 with Rafique.

Bresnan, who got away with a blow to long-on that Qasim did not sight early enough, went for 28, deceived by a ball that Lambert held back, and Rafique fell for 42 off 116 balls, skying Usman to Holland.

Although Conor Harvey scored a valuable 25 runs to boost the score to 137, Undercliffe must still have been feeling confident during the tea interval about knocking the runs off.

Townville opened the bowling with the bustling Bresnan and off-spinner Harry Clewett, who was planted for six towards the scorebox by pinch-hitter Farrouk Alam.

The latter perished for 18, however, with the score on 22 and he was soon followed to the pavilion by Michael Kelsey, who was only the second lbw victim of the match despite mass appeals by both sides to umpires Neil Johnson and Thornton.

The latter duo had to call skippers Etherington, who was batting at the time, and Hughes over for a chat to calm things down after “some silly comments”, and batting star Lambert was caught sweeping, also for 18, making the score 47-3 in the 18th over.

By halfway, Usman had smacked a six into a tea lady’s car as the score had moved to 66-3, and soon added another maximum.

However, pretty much just needing three runs an over from the outset, Usman, after getting a bonus three runs from a misfield by Bresnan, tried to put Hughes over the boundary whitewash the next ball but only skied it to Harvey to fall for 25 as Undercliffe slipped to 82-4.

Like the dismissal of Lambert, who had scored 116 the previous day against Hanging Heaton, it felt like a pivotal moment and a lot now rested on the shoulders of Etherington, whose patient tactics were the right ones.

Holland fell at 94 off a leading edge, and Etherington then chipped Clewett to Hughes at midwicket at the same score to be out for 17 off 89 balls.

Much now depended on the big-hitting Qasim, whose two sixes soon had the runs required tumbling, but Nick Sugden was out playing across the line and Qasim fell to a fine catch at deep midwicket by Harvey, who not only had to make ground but was looking into the sun.

Steve Adams holed out at mid-off and Craig Wiseman was bowled driving as Hughes ended with 4-31, Clewett 3-45 and Bresnan 2-20, leaving Etherington and his team-mates to ponder what might have been after too many opportunities had been missed over the course of the campaign.