Lightcliffe booked their place in the Sovereign Healthcare Priestley Cup Final for the first time since 1977 after an emotional victory against Pudsey St Lawrence.
In front of packed stands, the visitors held their nerve in the field to spark joyous scenes of celebrations. The final is against Hanging Heaton at Farsley Cricket Club on Sunday, August 26.
The team had to work for their win. After the early departure of Charles Roebuck, Chris Taylor and Alex Stead consolidated things, Stead eventually holing out after a pleasing 47.
Taylor played the anchor role, digging in well to keep the scoreboard ticking over but Oliver Robinson’s innings ran out of juice early on, barely lasting a few overs as the talented player clipped to mid wicket.
And when Taylor left for a compact 60, a re-building exercise was needed. This arrived in the form of Dave Hestor and Sully Khan who both produced entertaining knocks.
Hestor was unlucky to go for a neat 45, but Khan carried on mixing defensive with massive attack to entertain the travelling support, and with Jonathan Wilson contributing well, the total looked a healthy one.
Good bowling, throwing and catching then ensured that the home team were never in front.
Khan helped turn things the visitors’ way, snaring Waite and Smith and when Duce went first ball, it was advantage Lightcliffe.
Big hitting Craig Marsden tried to tunnel the hosts out of trouble, but when he departed it was left to Yorkshire’s Moin Ashraf to finish things off and spark a good naturedpitch invasion.
An emotional Mark Horne said: “That was amazing. I can hardly put into words how I feel.
“It will be a fantastic day for the club, but we now want to make sure we win it.”
Lightcliffe stung the Bees of Bradford and Bingley as they flew up the JCT600 Division One league table with a waspish display at Wagon Lane.
Despite losing the toss, Lightcliffe soon had the hosts in trouble. Olly Robinson, Sully Khan and Josh Wheatley were all amongst the wickets.
Despite the early loss of Charlie Roebuck, the result was never in doubt.
Chris Taylor and Alex Stead batted sensibly to ease Lightcliffe to victory. Stead’s hundred was a fine exhibition of strokeplay, while Taylor was unbeaten on 98.
The result keeps the team in with an outside chance of the championship, and moves them up to fifth in the league.
This Saturday they entertain East Bierley and have a full squad to choose from.
Lightcliffe second team openers Rhys Jowett and skipper Michael Brooke had spectators running for the record books as they amassed an opening stand of 268 against Woodlands on a sun kissed day at Wakefield Road.
It was the left-hander Jowett who led the way with a dominant 153, which contained two mighty sixes and too many fours to remember as shots were hit to all sides of the ground.
He was supported by Michael Brooke, who also tonned up. The partnership ended with 300 in sight, Jowett leaving the pitch to a standing ovation. Brooke soon followed looking slighty weary, but tthere was still plenty of entertainment left for the 125 spectators.
Richie Powe hit a breezy 48, containing one mega hit. He was supported by Liam Collins who played well on all sides of the wicket to ease to 39 not out. When Powe went, treading water looking for a two, Richard Thompson played a couple of nice shots at the endas the total reached 363 - one of the biggest seen on the ground.
In reply, Evan Edwards and James Godden were soon amongst the wickets with pacy accurate spells. They removed the openers and it was left to fine spells from Marcus Kelly and Chris Hestor – backed up some good fielding – to seal the win by 244 runs.
Kelly scooped three wickets and Hestor four.