Lightcliffe are close to survival after mopping up crucial victory

Lightcliffe's Suleman Khan celebrates his 100 with Rob Burton
Lightcliffe's Suleman Khan celebrates his 100 with Rob Burton

LIGHTCLIFFE are on course to secure their Bradford League Division One status after beating the rain and East Bierley.

And with all the other results in the relegation zone going Lightcliffe’s way, they rise to fifth from bottom with a 23-point gap between them and relegation-threatened Farsley.

Lightcliffe’s home game with East Bierley had been billed as a must-win encounter and fortunes ebbed and flowed throughout, with the match being interrupted by heavy rain in the second innings, before the hosts prevailed.

At 24-3, Lightcliffe were on the rocks. Jonathan Wilson’s plucky 48 middle-order innings looked to have rescued things until the lower order sunk against spin to leave the side with a much below par score of 127 all out as left-arm spinner Luke Jarvis (6-44) posed problems.

Wilson was well supported by Rhys Jowett (15) and Robert Burton (18).

East Bierley must have been confident of a victory at the tea interval.

Burton, however, soon dashed their hopes with an early three-wicket blast, conceding just 12 runs, as the visitors struggled against both seam and then the spin of Chris Greenwood (1-15) and Suleman Khan (4-23).

Greenwood’s spell down the slope enabled him to bowl five maidens in his 11-over spell.

Khan’s capture of Daniel Shuffe’s wicket, driving a catch to long on, was an important one just ahead of the first downpour at 5.30pm.

The Lightcliffe players did not mind getting wet to get the covers and extra sheeting onto the square and their efforts paid off as play resumed 25 minutes later with a window of evening sunshine as the next storm gathered.

Khan then polished off Bierley, who were all out for 58 just before the heavens opened again.

Many games in the league were abandoned due to the downpours.

Basement team Saltaire, however, also kept alive their hopes of avoiding relegation by beating second-bottom Farsley for the second time this season.

Mohammed Munir took 6-44 as they recorded a 35-run win.

Farsley were bowled out for 126 in reply to Saltaire’s 161-8. Amer Ayoub (39) and Adeel Ashraf (37) were Saltaire’s top scorers.

Farsley are 16 points behind third-from-bottom Undercliffe and a further two adrift of East Bierley.

On Saturday, Lightcliffe travel to New Farnley in the penultimate league game of the season.

On Saturday, New Farnley were bowled out for 172 against Pudsey Congs, who were 91-5 when play was abandoned.