UNDERSTRENGTH Bowling Old Lane overcame pre-match unavailabilities, two injuries during the game and the debilitating effects of fasting to defeat Northowram Fields by one run in a thrilling All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League Championship Division Two clash.

Old Lane, who had been 121-4, made 245 against the youthful visitors at Birch Lane, but Northowram Fields looked to have timed their run chase to perfection in this section’s only double league weekend of the season.

They needed 11 from as many balls, only to end on 244-6.

The hosts, who had defeated confident visitors Jer Lane the day before, were indebted to skipper and opener Farakh Hussain, the experienced Ahsan Butt and Ayyaz Akram for posting their total, despite stuttering after the drinks break.

Hussain, handicapped by a tight calf, made 65 off 68 deliveries, including eight fours and three sixes, Butt’s 56 came off 69 balls and contained six fours and one maximum, with the duo adding 92 for the fifth wicket, while Akram’s boundaries were identical to Butt’s in his 47 from 54 balls.

Jacob Slator dismissed both Hussain and Butt in taking 3-19 off 5.2 overs, while Sam Gardner returned 3-60 off 14 and the unlucky Josh Bennett Kerr bowled himself into the ground on the way to 2-74 in his full allotment of 15 overs.

Northowram Fields, who had seven players under the age of 21, were only 77-3 at drinks after 26 overs (Old Lane were 119-3 after 25), but impressive straight driving in the second half of their innings seemingly put them on course for victory in a match that was played to a constant backdrop of music from nearby West Bowling Social Club.

Slator anchored their start with 29, but the visitors were given more momentum by John Lister (49 off 66) and skipper Dru Patel (38 off 40), who both hit four fours and a six.

Pace bowlers Bennett Kerr (45 not out) and Gardner (27 not out) then added an unbroken stand of 68, with Bennett Kerr planting three fours and three sixes and Gardner three fours.

The game definitely seemed to have shifted towards the visitors when Old Lane, who earlier had spilled two dollies in the gully and didn’t always have their field right, conceded four byes, a six and a four off the first three balls of the 43rd over.

Lister had an interesting afternoon, firstly taking over wicket-keeping duties after Kyle Welch dislocated a thumb and then having to field late on for Old Lane.

Butt, who had earlier been hit in the chest while batting, left the field ashen-faced with dehydration after bowling 13 accurate overs of medium pace and taking 2-33.

He was replaced in the field by second-teamer Saad Khan, who later injured a groin, hence Lister, who made one solid stop for the home side, coming on for the climax.

Hussain, who managed to fire enough off-spinners into the blockhole to get his team over the line in the last over, admitted: “We were two star bowlers short and it was very close in the end and I was a bit worried.

“Ahsan doesn’t normally bowl, and certainly not that many overs. Double weekends are very difficult, especially during Ramadan.”

Old Lane, who have already suffered two rained-off matches, climbed two places to sixth on the back of this victory, while Northowram Fields, who are 11th, also feel that they should be higher up the table.

Lister, who was neatly stumped by Faisal Mahmood after raising a heel, said: “These are the kind of games that you have to win if you are going to be in contention for promotion and we should have kept them to about 220, but we have seven under-21s in our side.

“We still hope to be competing at the top of the table.”