A MAGNIFICENT knock of 122 from Alex Stead saw Lightcliffe to victory against Saltaire.
It was Lightcliffe’s first JCT Bradford League victory since returning to the top flight after a 10-year absence.
But they were rocked with the late withdrawals of Christopher Taylor and Moin Ashraf.
Saltaire captain Ijaz Khan won the toss and elected to field.
His initial decision seemed to pay dividends as the opening bowlers restricted Lightcliffe to just 16 runs from the first 10 overs.
Andrew Gorrod (5) was the first victim when he was caught off the bowling Anwar.
This brought Alex Stead to the crease, where he joined opener Alex Lees.
Both batsmen continued to pick up the odd run and by the time drinks were taken Lightcliffe had moved to 70 for the loss of one wicket.
Skipper Jocky Wilson joined the two batsmen for a short discussion on tactics.
The next 25 overs saw Stead launch an onslaught against every bowler and showed why he is one of the best batsmen around.
He quickly moved from 50 to 100 from just 36 deliveries and Lees also passed the half century mark.
When Stead was eventually run out for 122 he departed to a standing ovation.
Suleman Khan hit a quickfire 16 and Lees (81 not out) carried his bat through the innings which set the platform for a score of 239 for two.
Lightcliffe started brightly and thought they had Amjad caught behind by keeper Mark Horne.
However much to Charlie Roebuck and his teammates’ surprise, the umpire’s finger never left his pocket.
It was not long before Lightcliffe got the breakthrough when Chris Greenwood trapped Khan lbw.
The same fate fell upon Amjad (40), but Bhatti and Rehman were looking set and moved the score beyond 130.
The introduction of Josh Wheatley proved crucial.
He removed Bhatti and then the dangerous Rehman, with a perfect delivery, in quick succession.
With the run rate going up and up the Saltaire batsmen were unable to find an answer to the tight bowling.
The reintroduction of Greenwood ensured Saltaire would not pass 239 and he finished with fine figures of four for 36.
Next weekend Lightcliffe have a double header when they entertain East Bierley on Saturday and then travel to Farsley in the second round of the Priestley Cup on Sunday.
Skipper Wilson said: “It was great to get the first league victory under our belts.”