THE BRADFORD & District Evening Cricket League returned to action after a three-week break due to bad weather and Eid, which also saw the competition reach the half way stage of the 14-week season.

Defending champions Ciroc maintain top spot in Division One with 11 points after a comfortable 78-run victory against Raja’s at Bradford Park Avenue.

An unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 84 between Yasser Ali (50no) and Mehran Ibrahim (34no) helped the visitors to 163-3 as Mohammed Altaf took 3-9. In reply, Raja’s could only muster 85-9 despite batting all their 18 overs, with Asad Hamid (3-10) the pick of the Ciroc bowlers.

Buttershaw St Paul’s occupy joint second spot, two points adrift of Ciroc, following an 11-run victory against fellow Bradford League side Undercliffe at Intake Road.

Undercliffe overseas player Khalid Usman took an incredible 7-12 to restrict the visitors to 102-9 from 16 overs despite a great platform being set by openers James Sawyer (31) and Kevin McDermott (25) plus a further contribution of 32 from Elliott Richardson.

However, runs proved just as difficult to come by for Undercliffe as they struggled to 91-6 with opener Abdul Wahid top scoring with 34 as James Sawyer completed a fine all-round performance by taking 4-17.

Sharing joint second spot are Crossflatts, who were the day’s top scorers with 164-8 at John Breare (Mosum Hussain 50no, Mo Shahnawaz 46no, Jonny Robinson 4-24, Alex Robinson 3-23). The Westfield Lane side fell well short of their target, ending on 122-9, with Ben Waller top scoring on 50no as spinner Wasim Hussain took 3-10 and Mosum Hussain took 3-17 for the visitors.

Greenfield, who also share joint second place, secured a five-wicket home victory in a low scoring affair against Denholme at the Karmand Centre.

The visiting batsmen struggled from the second over when they lost skipper Richard Wear and only brother Andy Wear (51no) made any impression as they limped to 83 all out on the final ball of their 16 overs, as Mohammed Nadeem took 3-10.

However, opener Sajad Ali (39no) had to use all his experience to hold the Greenfield innings together as they nudged past their target on 86-5.

Division One is fast becoming two mini-leagues as there is now a clear gap of four points between the top four and the bottom four.

A similar situation is also occurring in Division Two with a four-point gap between the top three and bottom three.

Top of the tree are Great Horton Park Chapel - two points clear of Shelf and Thornton.

Great Horton Park Chapel brushed aside Cross Roads & Daisy Hill at Ewart Street with a ten-wicket demolition job.

The pitch was damp and keeping low, but it was shot selection that proved the downfall of the Windhill side as they were dismissed for just 46 despite batting 15.5 overs, with only opener Mahesh Patel (19) able to hold his head high as David Myers-Charles was the pick of the Park Chapel bowlers with 4-14.

Openers Hisan Ahmed (26no) and Simon McDermott (21no) made it an early finish as they reached the required target off just four overs.

Thornton emerged victorious over Shelf and are favourites for an immediate return to the top flight. Shelf collapsed from 34-0 to 35-5 and were shot out for 81 in 14.2 overs by spinner Greg Soames (6-20) & Ryan Senior (3-10).

In reply, Josh Hutchinson (30) and overseas Jandre Bernard (25) set the Hill Top side on the road to victory as Thornton reached their target with six wickets and 3.3 overs to spare.

Halifax outfit Bradshaw recorded their first success of the season with a narrow 16 run away win against Muff Field. Opener Matthew Crowther (54no) was the main contributor to the visitors’ 108-4 off 16 overs.

The Sunnybank side were looking good at 51-3 before Gary Rodger took a hat-trick in his 6-18 to restrict the home side to 92-9 as Touseff Ahmed top scored with 28no.

Tonight's fixtures: Division One – Ciroc v John Breare, Crossflatts v Greenfield, Denholme c Undercliffe & Raja’s v Buttershaw St Paul’s. Division Two – Bradshaw v Great Horton Park Chapel, Cross Roads & Daisy Hill v Thornton & Shelf v Muff Field.