Wilson distraught as ‘Cliffe fall short

Lightcliffe v Undercliffe. Alex Stead.
Lightcliffe v Undercliffe. Alex Stead.

LIGHTCLIFFE knew nothing but a victory was required, as they were bidding to become the JCT600 Bradford League Division One Champions for the first time in their history.

Lightcliffe started the day in third position in their first season back in Division One and knew a victory would leave them waiting for others to help Lightcliffe.

Lightcliffe could not have done more on the final day. Chris Taylor (87) and Alex Stead (86) put on 144 for the second wicket after opener Alex Lees had got them off to a good start with a breezy 46.

Lightcliffe’s total of 256 for three was always going to be a stiff challenge for relegated Undercliffe, and despite a bright start, they were dismissed for 137. Matthew Bottomley and Zarak Khan both made 33 before Undercliffe collapsed against the off-spin of Josh Wheatley (six for44).

The victory was to be in vain.

Woodlands secured their sixth league title in eight seasons in the most dramatic fashion on a day that saw the Division One leadership change three times.

They captured the last four Bradford & Bingley wickets without a run being scored to snatch a four-run victory from the jaws of defeat.

Woodlands had been 90 for five at one stage and were 156 all out. The Bees appeared, despite losing six wickets, to have it sewn up at 149 and four batsmen still to come in.

It enabled Woodlands to dash Lightcliffe’s hopes of a first-ever league championship triumph as they finished seven points ahead of Lightcliffe, who have had a magnificent first season back in the top flight, finishing runners up.

A dejected Jocky Wilson said: “I cannot believe what has happened, with Cleckheaton losing we really thought we had won the title. Bingley only required a few runs for victory with four wickets remaining.

“I am in shock and I think it will take a while to get over this.

“It is my last season as captain having taken the tough decision to hand over the reins; it would have been the most perfect way to bow out. Gutted is an understatement.”