WOODLANDS’ bid to win the Priestley Cup for a third successive time, matching East Bierley (1998-2000), ended in tepid fashion.

Facing a total of 172 at Bradford League Premier Division title rivals Townville in their quarter-final, the Oakenshaw club were dismissed for 73.

However, Townville skipper Jack Hughes has doubts that the victory, which puts them into the semi-finals alongside New Farnley, will have any lasting effect on the race for the championship.

He said: “Maybe it will have some psychological effect in the league title race, but they (Woodlands) are a strong team and they will always bounce back pretty well.

“We don’t have to play them again in the league, but that is probably a good thing for us because even though we have beaten them the last two times, they have been two good victories for us.”

Wickets were pitched early at 11am because of the Euro 2020 final, and Townville were put in on a strip that had bounce and turn following Friday’s rain.

Hughes admitted: “After the start that we got, I was looking at 180 as a good score, but after Conor Harvey got going, I thought that we were going to post about 220.

“Then after the silly run-out (of James Glynn) and Conor (Harvey) giving his wicket away a bit softly, I thought that we were a bit short, but we went out there and proved that it was a good score in the end.”

Hughes added: “The wicket played a lot worse than I thought that it would do as it has had some rain on it and it was quite soft with some tennis-ball bounce off the back of a length.

“It had to be quite full to play some aggressive shots on it and it was a bit sticky too so it was turning quite a lot.”

Muhammad Bilal made good use of the new ball, swinging it prodigiously and he dismissed Athelbert Brathwaite, Harry Warwick and Hughes to reduce Townville to 22-3.

Opener Jonny Booth, who managed to hit the second ball of the match from Bilal for six, started the revival, scoring 42 and featuring in minor stands with Harry Clewett and Glynn.

But the real fireworks came from No.8 Harvey, whose 60 came off only 25 balls and included six fours and five sixes, three of which came off Bilal.

He made batting on a tricky wicket look easy, but still some punters thought that Townville’s 172, with 19 balls unused, was 30 short of a par score.

However, a combination of disciplined bowling, inspired catching and some poor shots meant that Woodlands were never in the hunt in the second innings and were dismissed for 72.

Sam Frankland was not happy with being given out lbw sweeping to Clewett, who caught and bowled the injured Tim Jackson (thumb) and it was 20-3 when Liam Collins was superbly caught by Harvey on his follow through inches off the floor.

Kez Ahmed was lbw at the same score and half the side were out a run later when Brad Schmulian disappointingly spooned one into the covers.

Scott Richardson was sixth out at 32, and Booth’s superb diving catch, running around from midwicket, accounted for Bilal when the score was on 52.

Elliot Richardson went for a duck two runs later, and disciplined skipper Cieran Garner and Nick Rushworth were the last two men out as the innings was wrapped up two balls into the 34th over.

Hughes confessed: “I don’t think that it could have gone much better after tea. The lads came out, we were a bowler light because Ritchie (Bresnan, quad injury) wasn’t playing and our front-line bowlers really stepped up and did a job.

“We also took some really good catches, like the one that Jonny Booth caught running around to deep square leg, the caught and bowled by Conor that was inches off the floor and then his other beauty down at long on (to dismiss Garner).”

He added: “We are in a strong position for some silverware. We are in the semi-finals of the Priestley Cup (matching their 2018 effort when they lost to Woodlands by five wickets) and we are right up there in the hunt for the league.

“If we can keep on winning and Woodlands lose a game or two...”

Meanwhile, there was more bad news for Townville’s opponents for the rest of the season as Hughes revealed an internal rivalry between their leading all-rounders.

He said: “We have a bit of a competition against each other (Conor and myself).

“There is no side bet but we just keep firing each other up – if one gets runs, then the other gets runs and if one gets wickets, then the other gets wickets, so there is a little bit of rivalry within the team.”

Elsewhere, New Farnley ended Ossett's hopes of reaching the semi-finals for the first time as they eased to a seven-wicket win at the Barry Jackson ground.

After the Division One leaders had made 192 in 49.2 overs, rain delayed the start of the home side's innings and led to them be set a Duckworth Lewis Stern target of 184 from 45 overs, which they reached with 10.2 overs to spare.

Young opener Aidan Langley (55), skipper Lee Goddard (36), Steve Bullen (35no) and Dan Hodgson (35no) ensured that New Farnley, Priestley Cup winners in 2017, secured their place in the semi-final draw with few alarms.

In the semis, Townville will entertain the winners of the delayed quarter-final between Bradford & Bingley and East Bierley, which was postponed along with the Pudsey St Lawrence against Birstall tie for Covid-19 precautions.

The winner of that St Lawrence and Birstall quarter-final will visit New Farnley in the semis. Both games are due to be played on Sunday, August 8.