Lightcliffe victory for robert

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Lightcliffe ended a 49-year wait to win the Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup when they scored a commanding seven-wicket win over Hanging Heaton at Farsley.

And skipper Chris Taylor said before receiving the trophy that his team were dedicating their triumph to committee man Robert Brooke who died recently.

Taylor said: “Robert was a great worker for our club.

“He would do anything for Lightcliffe and was even our scorer for the semi-final win at Pudsey St Lawrence last month.”

Looking up to the sky, he added: “This one is for you and I know you are watching us.”

From the moment Taylor won a vital toss and asked Hanging Heaton to bat on a pitch still wet from Friday night’s heavy rain, his team were in control.

Yorkshire pace bowler Moin Ashraf exploited the conditions as he dismissed Hanging Heaton skipper Mark Lawson and Gary Fellows with just 20 on the board, both to catches by wicketkeeper Mark Horne.

The left-handed Joe Fraser made his intentions clear with two lofted drives off Oliver Robinson as he set about rebuilding the innings with James Stansfield.

They mixed sensible aggression with sound defence as they put together a stand of 78 for the third wicket.

It came as a complete surprise when the assured Fraser pulled a long hop from left-arm spinner Suleman Khan into the safe hands of Robinson on the mid-wicket boundary.

His 56 included a six and six fours and his departure proved to be a key blow even though Stansfield continued to play with assurance and good sense.

He continued to take the fight to the bowlers but he lacked support. Wickets tumbled, Stansfield lost the strike, and momentum was lost as Lightcliffe checked the scoring rate.

Stansfield hit five sixes and eight fours as he finished unbeaten on 88 out of Hanging Heaton’s 189 for nine and he richly deserved the warm applause he received when he left the field.

It was an innings which earned him the man of the match award from the president of the Cricket Writers Association, David Warner.

Ashraf was the most successful bowler with three for 32 but all the bowlers returned good figures.

When Lightcliffe batted they were clinical. They cashed in as the Hanging Heaton bowlers struggled to find any consistency.

Openers Chris Taylor (41) and Charlie Roebuck (32) set the tone with a stand of 64, before the latter was stumped by Joe Suggitt off the bowling of veteran John Carruthers.

Alex Stead settled in quietly before flourishing as he and Taylor added 69 before the skipper was trapped lbw by Hanging Heaton’s seventh bowler Imran Dawood in his first over.

That wicket merely hastened the end. Oliver Robinson, currently being looked at by Yorkshire, survived a difficult caught and bowled chance when he blasted the ball back at Dawood, before smashing him for two huge sixes.

Stead looked set for a half-century when he too fell lbw to leg spinner Lawson for 45, but Robinson was a man on a mission and finished unbeaten on 41 after striking successive fours off spinner Jamie Baulk to seal the game.

Lightcliffe had been clinical in taking apart some disappointing Hanging Heaton bowling and the losers didn’t help themselves by conceding 29 extras.

But on an afternoon when the spectators basked in the brilliant sunshine, and the Farsley club proved to be excellent hosts, it was impossible to dispute Lightcliffe’s right to lift the club for the sixth time in their history.

It was a big moment for a club languishing ninth in Division Two four years ago, something skipper Taylor pointed out afterwards as his team cracked open the champagne.

Lightcliffe wicket keeper Mark Horne said: “I am speechless. This is one of the happiest days of my life.

“Everything was perfect, the weather, the crowd, the result and the celebrations. I wouldn’t change a thing and I am so pleased I signed for Lightcliffe in 2008.

“Bliss was it to be alive that day and to be young was very heaven.”