NEEDING only one win from their remaining three games, Ciroc were expected to clinch their third successive Bradford Evening League Division One title when they hosted lowly Undercliffe.

However, the Bradford League outfit, who desperately need points themselves to stave off relegation in their first season in the top flight, inflicted Ciroc’s first defeat of the season by 15 runs.

The visitors posted a par score of 114-6 from 16 overs thanks to a partnership of 62 between Zeeshan Qasim (50no) and Farouk Alam (23), while skipper Mushy Shah (3-36) was the pick of the Ciroc bowlers.

Ciroc looked on course to reach their target at 75-1 with five overs left thanks mainly to overseas Mehran Ibrahim (46). However, Ciroc imploded as Undercliffe’s own overseas, Khalid Usman, took 4-16 as the champions elect ended on 99-9.

Joint second-placed Crossflatts and Greenfield both won to move three points adrift of the leaders.

Crossflatts posted the highest score of the day, making 170-6 from just 16 overs at Buttershaw St Paul’s thanks to Jordan Powell (40), Amjid Hussain (36) and Azeem Hussain (32). Despite a spirited response, St Paul’s finished on a respectable 131-9 (Pritesh Mistry 31).

Openers Sajad Ali (54no) and Danish Hussain (48) put on 124 for the opening wicket as Greenfield posted an impressive 153-5, albeit from 18 overs against John Breare at Westfield Lane, for whom Thomas Simpson took 3-22.

The hosts ended 36 runs shy of their victory target on 117-5 despite the best efforts of Tommy Henderson (35) and Thomas Simpson (30no) as Zahir Ahmed took 3-7.

The final game in Division One saw Denholme get the upper hand over Raja’s in the battle between the bottom two at Bradford Park Avenue. Boundaries proved hard to come by on a slow pitch and large outfield as Denholme ended on a precarious 103-6 from 16 overs thanks to opener Travis Nightingale (29) and a late flourish from Matthew Wear (21), as skipper Mohammad Altaf took 3-17.

Raja’s found batting just as difficult, with opener Mohammad Saqib (51no) being the only batsman to get into double figures thanks to some tight bowling from spinner Andy Wear (3-9), Phil Poole Jnr (3-26) and Richard Wear (2-9) as they were bowled out for 93 off the last ball.

The win gave Denholme an outside chance of avoiding the drop as they moved to within a point of Undercliffe and John Breare, making this week’s game between Denholme and John Breare a season-defining contest.

In Division Two, joint leaders Great Horton Park Chapel and Thornton both won, not only booking promotion but also their places at Finals Day on August Bank Holiday Monday at Park Chapel’s Ewart Street ground.

A duel in the sun at Windhill saw top of the table Park Chapel pushed all the way by bottom side Cross Roads & Daisy Hill. An 18 over a side game saw the visitors restricted to 130-5 with opener Simon McDermott retiring on 54 and Chris Brown (32no) being the main contributors to a total that could have been considerably less had McDermott not been dropped behind early on and Brown too being dropped on the boundary.

Despite these two chances, it was a much improved bowling and fielding display by Cross Roads with Chris Heald the pick of their bowlers with 3-14.

In reply, Cross Roads were up with the run rate through Adam Swaine (21) and Chris Heald (21) but Alex Kennedy (3-18) and two stumpings from Chris Brown pegged the home side back, leaving them needing 12 runs off the last over with three wickets in hand.

Great Horton turned to the spin of Oliver Challis, and Cross Roads lost their eighth wicket when Tahir Datta unselfishly was run out on the second ball attempting to complete a second run to keep top scorer Matty Marshall (36) on strike.

Marshall then perished to a third stumping for Brown with Challis bowling last man Greenwood with 10 runs still required from three balls.

Thornton finally saw off the promotion challenge of third place Shelf with an emphatic 58-run victory at the home of their rivals.

Tom Clee (42no), Ryan Senior (41), Ross Soames (27) and Scott Richardson (24) were all in the runs as Thornton posted 136-5 from 16 overs.

In reply Shelf were bowled out for just 78 despite batting all of their 16 overs as Bilal Hammed (31) was the only batsman to make any sort of impact on the Thornton bowlers as Owen Thomas took 3-14 and Bradley Weatherhead 3-21.

Muff Field recorded their second success of the season at Bradshaw Lane where they posted 137-5 from 16 overs thanks to a 4th wicket partnership of 82 between Shoaib Iqbal (50no) and Zohaib Iqbal (42).

In reply, the Halifax League outfit could only muster 106-7 with Josh Dougal (41no) & Kieran Rodger (29) top scoring for Bradshaw.

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