JER Lane beat Sandal by 52 runs in the Bradford League’s Division Two League Cup final on Saturday, and captain Raqeeb Younis is grateful to have friends from high places.

More specifically, his opening bowler Ibrar Younis, who as usual, was impeccable in taking 3-26 to help dismiss Sandal for 144 in the final.

He only joined Jer Lane from Lightcliffe in February, and his captain explained: “Iby comes in with a lot of pedigree, having played a high level of cricket for a number of years.

“It wasn’t easy to get him to come down here, but he’s a good friend of mine and he wanted a new challenge at a progressing club like ours.

“He gives us control at the start of the innings, takes important wickets and doesn’t give a sniff for the batsmen at the top of the order.”

It was his fellow bowlers who came to the rescue with the bat earlier on in the final against Sandal.

Jer Lane were floundering on 91-6 before Amjid Khan (34 not out) and Zeeshan Qasim (33) helped them up to 196-9. Asad Mahmood also chipped in with a vital 30.

Speaking about the lower order, skipper Younis said: “Sandal’s opening bowlers did very well, but we came back strongly.

“The lower order haven’t had much of a chance this year, as the top order have done really well, but they came to the party when it mattered and got us out of jail.

“We need to have a long tail as we’re aggressive up top with the bat and and that can go either way sometimes.

“Some teams lose early wickets, have no tail, and end up being bowled out for under 100.”

A lower order recovery was also needed against Northowram Fields in a group match earlier in the season, a game which Younis believes was key to Jer Lane reaching the final in the first place.

He said: “We played Northowram and they only made 131 batting first. We had a blistering start in the reply and Farakh (Hussain) made a brilliant 50, but then we had a collapse from 75-2 to 103-7.

“But Kez Ahmed, who was playing his first game for us having not picked up a bat for six months, batted brilliantly to get us over the line nine down.

“We know we’re a good side but complacency was threatening to let us down, so this game was the kick up the backside we needed.”

It was Northowram who qualified for this year’s T20 final ahead of Jer Lane, who won the tournament in 2019.

Bizarrely, Northowram went through with a win and a defeat (by six wickets against Jer Lane), while Jer Lane did not, despite a win and a no result.

Younis admitted: “I don’t know exactly how the T20 worked. It is what it is but the lads were pretty aggrieved not to get into the final.

“The league made the decision to give teams three points just for turning up, so when Northowram got those in our game, as well as four bonus points, it was enough to get them into the final.”

But that disappointment was a minor blip in yet another excellent season for the BD7 side.