Suleman Khan’s all-rounder status was again to the fore in the Lightcliffe 1st XI’s all-important lower table Bradford League Division One clash with Undercliffe.
He was the backbone of a generally tight bowling display where Khan 15-5-20-3 and Josh Wheatley 2-60 put a serious squeeze on Undercliffe’s mid-innings to reduce the visitors to 115-6.
An unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 72 frustrated Lightcliffe, however, to set a total that on a pitch that gave some turn and a modicum of bounce was a healthy par score.
Captain Alex Stead once more led from the front and could be considered unlucky when given caught behind (seemingly off pad) for 42.
How would the 1st X1’s middle order fare?
Rick Powe, growing into his first team role, played a mature innings of 38 in the 74-run fourth-wicket stand with Khan, but when he stepped onto a straight one, the tempo faltered and whilst the five per over was achievable, loss of wickets took things down to a final over requiring eight runs and with both opening bowlers back in action.
A boundary from Suleman left Lightcliffe in the box seat, but then, a mistimed drive soared towards deep extra cover where Undercliffe’s captain made good ground only to spill the chance.
A square cut sealed the game.
The 16 points gained hauled Lightcliffe out of the relegation spot for the week. Who knows how significant the spill will be at the end of the season?
Rick Powe said: “I was thrilled with my entertaining knock.
“That was a massive win in a massive season for us.
“What dreams we still have of a season culminating in cup success and league survival.”
A brilliant fightback from Lightcliffe seconds nearly secured a famous win at Undercliffe in their fixture at the weekend.
The hosts were cruising to victory in the Division One game, needing just 30 runs with seven wickets in hand.
A brilliant run out by Marcus Kelly, a wicket for Alex Kennedy and a neat Chrissy Dyer stumping looked likely to be the only joy in the field for the visitors.
However, skipper Michael Brooke made one last throw of the dice.
He threw the ball to veteran seamer Mark Whiley and spinner Jordan Pickles.
Whiley rolled back the years, with seaming and swinging deliveries of the highest class. At the other end Pickles found turn and bite.
They shared six wickets in eight overs as Undercliffe wobbled.
Needing nine to win, with one wicket in hand, the hosts scrambled home in pleasant evening sunshine.
It was tough on the seconds who had battled hard all day.
Batting first, they recovered from 1-2, with player-chairman Steve Hartley, Jack Booth (16) and Thommy Powe leading the recovery.
Hartley, 49, and Powe (46), timing the ball well, were both unlucky to miss out on half centuries.
There were other late order contributions from Kennedy and Liam Holmes.
The seconds are in need of a win as a relegation fight looms.
This weekend they entertain Pudsey Congs.
Tom Powe said: “That was an agonising defeat.
“I thought Mark and Jordan had bowled us to victory.
“Well played to Undercliffe and the game as a whole was a fine advert for Bradford League cricket, but gutted to lose.”