HOLDERS Bradford & Bingley have eased their way into the quarter-finals of the Gordon Rigg Priestley Cup.

They made it five successive wins in the Bradford Premier League’s blue-riband competition with a six-wicket victory at Undercliffe in a second-round tie that was reduced to 46 overs per side by rain.

The hosts won the toss and chose to bat, but only two players made significant contributions on a day of pink balls and coloured clothing - overseas player Sharoon Siraj (31) and Jude Roberts  (37) - as they were dismissed for 109, having left 13.1 overs unused.

All five Bingley bowlers took wickets, headed by young pacemen Archie Barraclough, Jack Luxton and James Swallow, as well as spinner Bradley Reeve.

That fine collective bowling effort put their fellow Premier Division side Undercliffe in strife that they never recovered from.

The visitors lost overseas star Louren Steenkamp, Callum Goldthorp and Jacob Slator before they had put 50 on the board, but a partnership of 53 between Joe Pyrah (40) and skipper Ed Brown (30 not out) eased any nerves, and they won by six wickets with 23.1 overs to spare.

Brown, who was still stiff after scoring 169 on Saturday against Farsley, said: “I would have batted as well if we had won the toss as it looked a decent deck and a lot of runs were scored here yesterday.”

There were some injudicious shots by Undercliffe, but Brown said: “Our young bowlers hit good areas and it was nipping about a bit and we got some early wickets which helped us, though Jude batted well.

“When they were bowling, it was in the balance for a bit when we lost two quick wickets and it could have gone the other way, but Joe batted really well, took the sting out of the game and we got through it in the end.”

As for whether the pink ball swings and bounces more than its red counterpart, which was a topic of conversation, Brown said: “We are still trying to figure that out.

“The pink ball definitely swings early, but once that outer layer goes off it probably less so and it does go soft quite quickly.

“You can do more with a red ball to keep it in condition, and the pink ball does fly off the bat as it is rock hard so batting in the first 15-20 overs is the best time.”

As for knockout competitions, Brown said: “We have definitely set out to be a good cup team, as we have a lot of bowling options - five or six - and we don’t have to rely on two or three.

“We also have a lot of dangerous players batting-wise.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Archie Barraclough is becoming a real threat with the ball for Bradford & Bingley.Archie Barraclough is becoming a real threat with the ball for Bradford & Bingley. (Image: Ray Spencer.)

Bingley are one of seven Premier Division teams in the last eight, the only survivors from Division One being Carlton.

Pudsey St Lawrence, Farsley, New Farnley, Pudsey Congs, Townville and Woodlands were the other six sides to reach the quarter-finals.

While Bingley’s fine recent record in the cup continued, they are struggling in the Premier Division.

They are currently 10th and only five points above Cleckheaton, who are in the second demotion berth.

“We are definitely under-performing in the league,” admitted Brown. “We have lost five of our last six and tied the other game.

“The loss to Woodlands was pretty comprehensive, but in the others we have been in the game for a lot of the time and it it just moments that have cost us.

“We didn’t bowl well at Farsley and they got a massive score, but in the preceding weeks it has been our batting that has let us down.

“We are just not putting both bits together, but hopefully this win will help to give us a bit of momentum.

“Now we need to get three wins to get to the halfway point to push us back up the table as we don’t want to be anywhere near that bottom.

“It would be incredibly arrogant of us to say that we are too good to go down, as it is a more open league than usual this year.

“Look at Townville, who had been battered by Undercliffe but then beat Woodlands.

“Everyone has strengthened and it is a good league this year.”

As for Bingley’s overseas Steenkamp, who has stood out with bat in hand this season, Brown said: “He is unbelievable.

“He puts a lot of pressure on you as a bowler, especially spinners, who he looks to dominate, and he is another good pick-up for us after (previous overseas player) Corey Miller.

“However, he has left some runs out there at times.”