ANDY Stothart’s Grand Farewell Tour could have some additional dates.

The 47-year-old left-arm spinner was going to retire at the end of last season, but, after Bankfoot’s promotion to the Bradford Premier League Premier Division, the prospect of one more crack at the top flight was too hard to ignore.

And now, after defeating Championship side Birstall by 110 runs at Wickets Close, the Odsal club are through to the second round of the Priestley Cup - a competition that means a lot to the popular tweaker.

Stothart revealed: “This is definitely my last season of first-team cricket, but I had to have a go at the Premier Division for one last time and visit some grounds that I haven’t been to for a few years, such as Hanging Heaton, Bradford & Bingley, Pudsey St Lawrence - clubs that were in the original Bradford League.”

As for the Priestley Cup, he admitted: “You always want to win every game that you play, and I have won it twice with East Bierley in 1999 and 2000, so it is always dear to my heart and it is always a big day out at Undercliffe, which is my favourite venue for a final.”

As for Bankfoot playing in the decider at Intake Road, that will have to wait as the venue for this year’s final on Sunday, August 14 is New Farnley, but Stothart can content himself with the way that his team have started the season.

He said: “We had two big wins against teams that will probably be down there with ourselves (Cleckheaton and Batley), but we have some big games coming up in the next five weeks (including against current top four Methley, Ossett, New Farnley and Woodlands) and need to pick up as many points as we can.”

Bankfoot can take comfort, however, with the signing of overseas player Zia Ul Haq Parwani, who has made scores of 33, 92 and 55 in the league, and had his first failure, only making eight against Birstall in the cup.

Stothart said of the Afghan: “He is a very good player and very easy on the eye, nice to watch in the way that he bats. He doesn’t try and smash it, he just caresses it, and bowls and fields - a proper overseas.”

The left-arm spinner wasn’t worried after Bankfoot had won the toss and made 262-9, with wicket-keeper Sam Massheder, promoted to opener, and Hisan Ahmed, putting on 53 for the first wicket.

Skipper James Lee, via a mixture of watchfulness and aggression, then batted deep into the innings to score 82, including 12 fours and a six, while the late fireworks were provided by Osama Ahmad.

He hit 26 off 10 balls, including four successive sixes off Alex Drake, two of which sailed towards the Wynford Way End, with a third going into the netting by the sightscreen and the fourth ending up in the whitewash bucket next to the scoreboard.

Spinner David McCallum (3-22), who got prodigious turn down the slope, did best for Birstall, accompanied by left-arm paceman Brad Lay (2-22).

Meanwhile, spinners Parwani (4-38), Seif Hussain (2-20) and Stothart (3-32) shone for Bankfoot.

Gritty Kiwi Andrew Robertson (41) added 53 for the second wicket with Eric Austin (24), but after that only McCallum (21) topped 20 as the Birstall innings faded away to 152.

Stothart said: “I thought that we had got a big score, and that it was enough for the standard that we are playing now.

“We bowled well enough to get them all out on what was a tired second-day wicket after four innings on it, but it still played well - there was a little turn but you could still bat on it.”

Perhaps revitalised by a famous Bankfoot CC kebab sandwich, he concluded: “My bowling is coming on, but I have a bad arm - I am too old to be bowling now.”

Elsewhere, Hanging Heaton romped to a nine-wicket win over Undercliffe and East Bierley lost by 68 runs to East Ardsley.

The cup provided cheer for Cleckheaton and Morley as they both recorded their first wins of the season.

The former downed Gomersal by seven wickets, while the latter edged out Pudsey Congs by 23 runs.

Pudsey St Lawrence crushed Ossett by 160 runs, while Tom Brook smashed a stunning 36-ball century in Townville's 33-run win over Farsley.

St Lawrence's reward for progressing is a heavyweight clash at Premier Division champions Woodlands in the second round.

The full second round draw is as follows:

Cleckheaton v Jer Lane

Baildon v New Farnley

Morley v Methley

Keighley v Batley

Woodlands v Pudsey St Lawrence

Bradford & Bingley v East Ardsley

Townville v Bankfoot

Hanging Heaton v Carlton

Ties to be played on Sunday, June 12