Weekend of woe after Lightcliffe battle to tie

LIGHTCLIFFE suffered a second setback of the weekend to lose the leadership of Division Two of the Bradford League.

Well clear at one stage, they went down by four wickets at Keighley on Sunday in a 25 overs contest, having tied at home to Yeadon on Saturday.

Saltaire, relegated from the top flight last season, registered back-to-back victories over Bowling Old Lane and Bankfoot to shoot 11 points ahead of Lightcliffe.

But they at least still hold a 51-point advantage ahead of third-placed Bowling Old Lane.

In a contest reduced to 35 overs per side Lightcliffe first team battled out a thrilling game on Saturday with visitors Yeadon that went down to the wire and finished in a tie.

Batting first Yeadon posted a competitive 174 with the main contribution a steady 52 from opener Callum Goldthorpe.

Tight opening spells from Evan Edwards (two for 23) and Alex Stead (one for 24) had put Lightcliffe on the front foot but some aggressive hitting late in the innings from Ben Elvidge (35), Mahmood Rasool (24) and, in particular, Damon Gormley (29), left Lightcliffe requiring around five an over for victory.

In their response, the home side started cautiously against the accurate opening spells of Rasool and Oliver Halliday, although it took the introduction of the left arm spin of Elvidge to make the breakthrough, trapping Josh Wheatley LBW for 28.

Chris Taylor and Stead proceeded to take the game to Yeadon, putting on a quickfire 65 to leave Lightcliffe needing 36 from 29 balls.

Two quick wickets then swung the game back Yeadon’s way. First Stead holed out at long on for 20 and then skipper Jocky Wilson misjudged a single to be run out without scoring.

Rhys Jowett came and went trying to push the scoring rate along which brought veteran James Horne to the crease with 26 needed from 14 balls.

This became 14 off the last six balls with Taylor , now in the 80s, on strike and off spinner Gormley bowling.

From the first ball no runs were scored, before Taylor hit the next through square leg for four before unleashing an almighty six over midwicket to make it four from three.

A single from the fourth ball brought up an excellent century for Taylor and made it three from two and when Horne hit the next for a two the scores were tied with the final ball to be bowled.

Horne tried to go over the top and struck the ball well only to see mid-off take a diving catch to leave the scores tied and Lightcliffe’s batsmen looking to the heavens as the overjoyed visitors celebrated.

Of the two teams it was the home side that was the most visibly deflated at the end of the game despite Yeadon being favourites with one over to go.

Lightcliffe will feel they dropped five points in this game and skipper Wilson and his team will ponder long and hard where the game was lost.

Chris Taylor followed up Saturday’s unbeaten century with his side’s top score of 53 in a total of 157 for seven against Keighley.

Freddy Pearson spearheaded Keighley’s chase with 48 and Paul Quinlan hit two sixes in the last over from Chris Greenwood as Keighley won with one ball to spare.

At least Lightcliffe picked up five points - the same as they would have collected for not playing.