For the first time this season both Brighouse and Gomersal in Championship B of the Bradford League were able to enjoy a firm ground and warm weather in which to play their match.
Hosts Brighouse won the toss and invited their opponents to bat first to gain points as quickly as possible.
Wajid, enjoying his role as stand-in captain while club skipper Sunny Matharu remains on the injury list with a damaged hand, removed opener and captain Graham Hilton (11), No 3 Richard Wear (0) and No 4 Jonathan Boynton (0) with sublime catching. Zafar Jadoon, caught overseas player Arsaam Malik (45) to put Gomersal on an unenviable 66-4.
The cool heads to work the team back into the game were provided by Adam Greenwood (63), Jack Seddon (41) and Joshua Fell (31).
Passing the 200 mark, a psychological landmark for the visitors, frustrated the home bowlers.
With a 200-plus target to chase the openers needed to construct a good opening total to set the standard for the team. Between them, James Russell and Christopher Rhodes removed the top four batsmen, all adjudged leg before for just 59 runs.
Wicketkeeper Khurshid (23), a regular victim to leg before, was out caught while attempting to push the score along, and it was 97-5.
Wajid (38) had again to take up the captain’s cudgel for a guiding role with Asad (34) to secure a home win; both players driving for runs put up catches gratefully secured by Fell and Greenwood respectively.
Zafar ran out of overs as he manfully played a sensible innings of 22 only to see his side lose by just 36 runs. The damage done by both sides at the beginning of their innings made for a very interesting game. Gomersal ability to regroup with135 runs from the middle order made the difference.
Tripping out to Baildon for the Brighouse boys is one taken with trepidation given the results of recent seasons. Even meeting up with former 2nd team stalwart Craig Robson was stilted by his fine opening unbeaten 60 with just four fours, and very little opportunity was given to take his wicket.
Bradley Patefield trapped his partner Zulfikar lbw for five, returning bowler Jamil Aktar flattening skipper Brad Hinchliffe’s stumps (52) and Baildon were 105-3 and were now comfortable.
Max Maloney had Miraj (3) leg before and bowled Dan Hunt (11) to slow the pace of progression to 182-5. The Robson innings being key to the others to play off in gaining their eventual total, Haris Hussain (37 no) secured the innings in seeing out the overs without further loss.
Harry Horsley’s figures of 9 overs, 4 maidens for 14 runs stunted the run rate, and he was unlucky not to pick up a wicket or two in the process. Max Maloney’s seven overs and two wickets also nipped a strong recovery in the bud.
Chris Maloney (39) made a strong start, Mo Ahsan (24 no) held an end well in carrying his bat, but their team-mates, none of whom reached double figures, let themselves down while going for the total. Maroon Rashid took full advantage, removing five wickets for just 19 runs, with a leg before, two bowled and two caught; plus a run out, with a stumping would have given him a full house.