Title bid gets back on track

HARD working Lightcliffe ground staff ensured that play could start in the JCT600 Bradford League fixture as soon as the rain had stopped.

It was a reduced game of 32 overs with Hartshead Moor who were put into bat by skipper Jonathan Wilson.

Despite suffering a torn calf muscle last week, Alex Stead decided he would play and his decision instantly paid dividends when he removed opener Nick Ward for just one run and shortly afterwards Craig Field for six.

His opening partner Evan Edwards was back bowling to his best and ripped through the upper order and to claim four for 25.

Hartshead were in trouble at 47 for six. A small partnership followed between Matthew Evans and Robert Ellis.

It was broken by veteran spinner Chris Greenwood when he removed Evans (10).

He and Josh Wheatley quickly brought an end to the Hartshead innings with both claiming two wickets and leaving Lightcliffe only 84 to win.

After the tea interval, Chris Taylor and Wheatley were determined to win the game by 10 wickets and put the Lightcliffe title bid back on track.

Both looked at ease and no chances were taken.

Taylor (33 not out) and Wheatley (49 not out) saw Lightcliffe home as they beat Hartshead for the second time this season.

On Saturday Lightcliffe continue their quest for the Division Two title when they travel to Spen Victoria.

l IT was an important game for Lightcliffe Seconds at Bradford & Bingley, who have been in the bottom two places in the Bradford Cricket Reserve Division One League for a while, and Lightcliffe needed to put points between themselves and their opponents to avoid getting dragged further into a relegation battle.

Lightcliffe batted first, having lost eight overs because of rain.

Openers Michael Brooke and Greig Godfrey put on 98 for the first wicket, playing sensibly on a green but firm wicket.

Brooke was the first to go to a diving catch in the covers for 52. Bruce Lunn quickly followed, caught behind without scoring, to the bowling of veteran and Bradford League stalwart Richard McCarthy.

Rob Crookes and Godfrey steadied things with a stand of 57, despite interruptions for rain. Godfrey was finally out lbw for a fine 65.

David Knight then forced the run rate up with some hard hitting. He finished on 26 not out with Crookes 36 not out, getting to a respectable 205 from 42 overs.

Overs were lost from the Bingley innings once the game had started, which meant a declaration from Lightcliffe was needed to even the overs up and give an outright win.

The only way to force a win was to bowl Bingley out and wickets fell early on.

Captain Gaz Stevens took a difficult catch in the covers off the bowling of Tom Lightfoot and Richard Tesseyman nipped one back to trap the opener lbw.

Spinner Marcus Kelly, then took two wickets in two balls. Despite good pressure it was always going to be difficult to bowl out Bradford & Bingley in the remaining 25 overs.

Bradford and Bingley finally batted out to reach 119 for 5.

The performance was encouraging and after the game Stevens said: “If we can continue to play like that we will get another couple of wins under our belts and secure our status in the division .”

l LIGHTCLIFFE Thirds, weakened by absentees who were supporting the failed attempt through the rain to stage the Priestley Shield Final at Wakefield Road, went down to a heavy defeat over in Rochdale, as the Lancastrians took revenge reversing the previous week’s result.

Norden scored 238 for four and Lightcliffe were never in it for the reply, being all out for 86 and losing by 152 runs.