Sting in the tail from Bees proves too much for Lightcliffe in the final

Lightcliffe at the Priestley Cup final.''Jowett Out LBW'' (Picture: Mike Baker JCT600 Bradford League)
Lightcliffe at the Priestley Cup final.''Jowett Out LBW'' (Picture: Mike Baker JCT600 Bradford League)

Lightcliffe were left to rue letting Bradford and Bingley off the hook as they suffered defeat in the Bradford League’s Priestley Cup final.

With 11 overs to go in the Sovereign Healthcare-sponsored final, the Bees, playing on their own Wagon Lane strip, were 135-2 after some accurate bowling from Rob Burton, Jonathan Whiteoak, Chris Greenwood, in his first spell, and Josh Wheatley.

They were then 140-3 with 9.4 overs left and the screw needed to be tightened further.

However, 97 more runs were plundered in those last overs as overseas man Suleman Khan and Greenwood, not helped by some weak fielding at times, suffered and this produced a target much higher than they had hoped for at the 40-over mark in the 50-over game.

Charlie Best held the Bees innings together with a half-century off 95 balls until he holed out to Alex Stead off Greenwood.

At the other end, Ryan Cooper started laying into the Lightcliffe attack and he hit 47 off 70 balls before Chris Thompson belted a quickfire 26, including two sixes, before Greenwood (4-68 in10) trapped him lbw.

The damage had been done before a couple of cheap wickets resulted in the Bees closing on 237-7.

The general opinion of the avid Bradford League followers in the 500-strong crowd was that the extra spurt of runs had made it ‘interesting’. Lightliffe’s former captain and quality batsman on his day, Jonathan Wilson, also added that if the openers could stay there and give them a good start then they were in with a good chance.

Lightcliffe captain Stead strode to the crease to commence the reply with Wheatley backed by a good following from the village hoping they would be seeing a second cup final success in two years from their side.

Both batsmen had made slow headway against a quick but erratic Malcolm Simpson and Jack Hartley when, with the score on 20, Wheatley was given caught behind down the legside off what he claimed was his thigh pad for eight.

Worst was to come as Samuel Jowett was given leg before well down the pitch off Simpson and he claimed it hit the toe end of his bat before going onto his leading pad.

Stead followed shortly afterwards, caught behind by Best off Simpson for 12 when his side needed an innings off him.

Khan proceded to continue his good run of form, hitting 47 off 45 balls, but nobody was staying with him at the other end and when captain Phil Slater joined the Bees attack to bowl him, Lightcliffe were 108-7 and the game was as good as over.

Rob Powe (12) had entered at 46-5 and did his utmost in a 54-run stand until he was caught behind to give Best his fourth victim.

Wicketkeeper Mark Horne also struck 22 before offering a very easy catch to Scott Etherington when he would normally have despatched the ball into the nearby river Aire.

The last three wickets fell at 131, slow left-arm bowler Noman Ali dismissing Mark orne and Jonathan Whiteoak in successive deliveries, both caught by Scott Etherington, before Slater returned to the attack to take the final wicket of Danny Ahmed.

Simpson won the man of the match award for his hostile spell of new ball bowling, capturing four of the first five wickets to fall and finishing with 4-33 from his 10 overs.

The match was also a personal triumph for Slater – it was the second time he has led Bradford & Bingley to a Priestley Cup win, the last time being in 2010.