THE Bradford Premier League made its long-awaited return on Saturday, and the clash between the 2019 Premier Division’s top two, Woodlands and Townville, proved to be a gripping encounter.

Woodlands, who did not play in the shortened 2020 season, won by 10 runs with nine balls to spare, but Townville gave them a few scares along the way.

The 2019 champions lost their first four wickets with just six runs on the board before their New Zealand all-rounder Brad Schmulian (62) and Scott Richardson (67) helped them to a total of 168.

Ritchie Bresnan (4-37), Jack Hughes (3-29) and Conor Harvey (3-53) ensured that the Woodlands batsmen were made to work for their runs.

Townville were well placed to win the game while skipper Hughes (60) was at the wicket, but when he was one of four wickets to fall for just 10 runs, Woodlands swooped to seal the win.

Spinners Kez Ahmed (4-46) and Chris Brice (4-44) showed their value once again to a Woodlands side who will be relieved to have seen off a tenacious Townville.

Hanging Heaton’s batsmen made it a torrid afternoon for their former colleague Tom Chippendale as they stormed to a 186-run win at Little Church Lane.

Chippendale, captaining Methley for the first time, was plundered for 81 runs in nine wicketless overs as Hanging Heaton piled up 352-8 batting first.

Their firm foundation was built on by skipper Ben Kohler-Cadmore (57) and David Stiff (59) as 116 runs were added for the fifth wicket in just 10 overs.

Stiff made his runs from 29 balls while Kohler-Cadmore’s came from 39 deliveries.

Robert Clegg (3-44) was the pick of the Methley bowlers while Jordan Laban (39) was their top scorer as they were bowled out for 166. Left-arm spinner Callum Bethel impressed with 6-55.

New Farnley skipper Lee Goddard made 123 from 117 balls to power his side to an eight-wicket win over Cleckheaton.

Goddard hit a six and 19 fours as he dominated an opening standard of 128 with Aidan Langley (32). Steve Bullen helped steer New Farnley past Cleckheaton’s 242 all out with an unbeaten 43.

Cleckheaton’s innings featured an unbeaten 76 from former Scotland international Ian Wardlaw and 46 from new boy Harvey Booth.

Spinner German Randawa marked his first game with 3-41 while fellow spinner Grant Soames took 3-50.

Pudsey St Lawrence made 307-7 on their way to a 97-run win over Farsley at Tofts Road.

Openers Mark Robertshaw (91) and Charlie Best (66) set the tone with a stand of 164, before left-arm spinner Adam Ahmed picked up 5-83 for Farsley.

Farsley reply of 210 featured 45 from new boy Jonathan Read before St Lawrence skipper Chris Marsden got to work with 5-66 to set up his side’s victory.

Wrenthorpe, who only avoided relegation on the final day of the 2019 season, started with a six-wicket win over newly-promoted Batley.

Matthew Race was the stand out performer for Wrenthorpe with 4-73 and an unbeaten 39 as his side bowled out Batley for 145 before easing home with four wickets down.

Opener Kasir Maroof carried his bat for 63 but was the only Batley batsman to make an impression.

Sam Wigglesworth (44no) and Mohammad Suleman (35) helped Wrenthorpe to their modest victory target.

Morley, who were promoted with Batley in 2019, also suffered a first day loss. Their 178-8 proved insufficient as visitors Bradford & Bingley eased home by seven wickets.

Openers Kyme Tahirkheli (84) and Will Luxton (37) ensured the Wagon Laners made light work of the run chase.

Morley, whose top scorer was opener James McNichol with 31, were kept in check by the left-arm spin of Bradley Reeve (4-27).

In Division One, Seif Hussain was in deadly form with the ball as he helped Bankfoot to a 98-run win at Keighley. Hussain took 7-32 as the home side were bowled out for 142, Louis Horsfield top scoring with 47.

Bankfoot new boy Josh Marsden was given the job of opening the batting and he responded with 49 as he and skipper James Lee gave their side’s innings a foundation which Usman Shakir built on with an unbeaten 57.

Leg spinner James Massheder took 4-40 on his Keighley debut.

Birstall’s Benedict Gundry smashed a century from just 65 balls to power his side to a 144-run win over Lightcliffe.

Gundry hit eight sixes and six fours as he built on the good work of veteran opener Eric Austin (81) as he powered Birstall to 301-6.

Subhaan Ammar (62) and Alex Stead (39) battled hard but Lightcliffe were bowled out for 157 as left-arm spinner Josh Haynes picked up 4-45.

Gomersal batsman Jonathan Boynton also opened the campaign with a century. He made an unbeaten 101, an innings containing four sixes and 11 fours, to help his side to 279-5 as they defeated Carlton by 67 runs. Graham Hilton (44) and Andy Gorrod (34) made useful additions.

Carlton’s openers Daniel White (42) and Steve Cooper (40) gave their side a sound start before the innings faltered against the spin of Chris Rhodes (5-64).

Opener Sam Gatenby made 77 and Ben Walter an unbeaten 64 as East Bierley chased down a Baildon score of 242-8 to win by six wickets.

New skipper Dwayne Heke (58), Jonny Reynolds (52) and Will Kelly (51) were the mainstays of the Baildon innings while Jack Hebden (3-64) was the best of the East Bierley bowlers.

Marcus Walmsley marked his debut for Ossett by scoring an unbeaten 61 as they secured a three-wicket win over an Undercliffe side keen to win promotion back to the Premier Division at the first attempt.

Walmsley was well supported by former Hanging Heaton batsman James Keen (53) as Ossett staved off the threat posed by Zeeshan Qasim (5-34) to chase down Undercliffe’s 157.

Mark Watt top scored for Undercliffe, who were kept in check by Max Chappell (3-27) and Joe Finnigan (3-40).

Pudsey Congs, winners of last year’s Division One League Cup, lost a low-scoring encounter to Hartshead Moor by two wickets at Highmoor Lane.

They lost their last eight wickets for just 12 runs as they were bowled out for just 84. Abhishek Paradkar (3-5) and new captain Dave McCullum (3-18) were the main beneficiaries of the collapse.

Hartshead Moor didn’t find batting much easier but limped home with eight wickets down after Ryan Heptinstall took 3-11.

There was a nail-biting finish at Spen Lane in Division Two, where Wakefield St Michael’s scrambled a one-wicket win over Spen Victoria.

The home side’s total of 121, which was dominated by an unbeaten 69 from skipper Bilal Ejaz, didn’t seem too challenging, but St Michael’s made hard work of overhauling it.

Abid Awain (5-67) posed the main threat to St Michael’s who had Qasar Hammed (46) to thank for edging them home. Earlier, spinner Zaeem Zulfqar marked his return with 4-32.

An unbeaten 96 from Abubakar Dawood, a knock laced with a six and 16 fours, enabled Jer Lane to secure a two-wicket win at East Ardsley.

The home side’s total of 244, which included 51 from Simon Tucker, looked challenging, but Bakar made sure Jer Lane got over the line.

An opening stand of 113 between Karl Hewitt (71) and Danny Riley (49) helped Sandal to 237-8 as they defeated Bowling Old Lane by 71 runs.

Zeeshan Haider made 74 for Old Lane while Sam Noden (5-53) ensured ambitious Sandal opened with a win.

Leg spinner Michael Flathers took 5-56 on his debut to help Buttershaw St Paul’s to a five-wicket triumph over Scholes.

Scholes were dismissed for 152 and Saints eased home thanks to useful contributions from Jonathan Burston (39) and Amer Ayoub (31).

Northowram Fields opened their account with a 99-run success against Yeadon. Kyle Welsh (73), Adam Wainwright (42) and Ben Grech (39) enabled them to build a score of 255 which their rivals were unable to threaten.

Yeadon were all out for 156 with skipper Gareth Lee top scoring with 34 after earlier taking 3-59 with his spin bowling.

Joe Hough (4-26) and Farhan Hussain (3-20) were the best of the Northowram Fields bowlers.

The day’s lowest scoring game was at Gypsy Lane where the hosts Hunslet Nelson were dismissed for 65 as they suffered a seven-wicket loss against Hopton Mills. Umar Abbas (4-17) and Michael Carroll (4-29) did the damage.

Finally, down in Division Three, there was a remarkable game at Altofts were an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 196 between Ben Walsh (112no) and Danny Eden (87no) enabled the home side to chase down Heckmondwike & Carlinghow’s formidable 315-6 to win with 10 balls to spare.

Walsh struck two sixes and 13 fours as he and Eden capitalised on the earlier good work of Harry Wilkinson (64).

Heckmondwike & Carlinghow must have been stunned to lose with such a good score on the board.

Kanhu Pattniyik (85), Paul Cooper (57) and Matthew Crowther (44) were their main contributors, while Eden (4-88) was the one bowler to enjoy any success as the batsmen on both sides dominated.

The biggest total in the division was Brighouse’s 320-8 in their 179-run win over Great Preston. Opener Parvaise Khan had a day to remember as he struck 12 sixes and 13 fours while making 172. Cullum Jordan (4-81) was the best of a toiling attack.

That man Khan followed up his batting heroics with 4-30 as he and Owaise Mehmood (4-32) helped their side dismiss Great Preston for 141. Skipper Ollie Baron was Great Preston’s top scorer with 54.

New boys Crossflatts suffered a 24-run defeat at Crossbank Methodists in their opening game. Replying to the home side’s score of 131, Crossflatts were bowled out for 107 as Imran Patel (5-51) and Mohammad Hassan (3-15) struck crucial blows.

The high spot for the newcomers was the performance of Mohammad Shahnawaz (4-27), while young Rizwan Abid (35) top scored for Crossbank.

Adwalton eased to a seven wicket win over Liversedge, with Matthew Walker (42no) and Matthew Donohoe (37) ensuring they had little trouble passing a score of 154.

Skipper Will Atkin made a battling 52 for Liversedge but lacked support as Chris Priestley picked up 4-29 and Umar Bashir (3-31).

Gildersome & Farnley Hill’s total of 238 proved too big a challenge for Rodley as they were bowled out for 168 to lose by 70 runs.

Chris Harris (3-18) and Liam Pearson (3-35) took the bowling honours for Gildersome & Farnley Hill while Josh Potter (52) and Reece Thompson (44) were their top scorers.

Rob Young and Jack Gerrard both took 3-63 for Rodley.

Kirti Tandel made 54 and Adam Farnell (49no) as East Leeds compiled a score of 202-9 on their way to a 73-run win over Windhill & Daisy Hill.

Veteran Maz Bhatti took 3-68 for the Busy Lane side who were bowled out for 129 in reply. James Watling (4-28) and Kavan Patel (3-28) did much of the damage.