Title decider goes the wrong way

LIGHTCLIFFE lost out in a game billed as the title decider.

They travelled to Bradford League Divsion Two table-toppers Saltaire, with both teams looking to put one foot in Division One next season.

Jocky Wilson decided to bat first but things got off to a bad start when Lightcliffe lost both openers, Josh Wheatley (3) and Chris Taylor (6) with the score on nine.

Saltaire continued to bowl a good line and length and with Wilson (4), Jacob Waterson (8) and James Horne (4) quickly falling the scoreboard was bad reading at 37 for five.

Just as Lightcliffe thought life could not be any worse Alex Stead pulled a calf muscle and had to leave the field.

Rhys Jowett was joined at the crease by veteran Michael Brooke.

He was only too happy to oblige captain Wilson and return to the first team for this massive fixture, his experience seen as invaluable in such a game.

When Jowett (4) departed Stead returned to the crease accompanied with a runner.

He and Brooke looked in good touch, both drilling the ball to the boundary, and they shared a stand of 50 before Stead (38) missed a straight one.

Mark Horne and Brooke compiled another 30, but with overs running out Brooke (44) decide to take on the attack, and was out, done by a slower ball from Simpson.

Horne (9) and Greenwood (0) soon followed, leaving Lightcliffe with a below par score of 136.

With Stead unable to take the field in the Saltaire reply the new ball was given to spinner Chris Greenwood and young Evan Edwards, himself nursing a knee injury.

Other than taking the early wicket of Saeed, Saltaire made the perfect start and had raced to 60 for one in nine overs.

Greenwood removed the dangerous Rehman, however fortune had favoured the home side with Sharif’s (43) uncultured innings setting up the win, before he was finally removed by Wheatley.

When Umarji was dismissed with the score on 117 – 5, Lightcliffe sensed a victory was possible, having seen Saltaire collapse in the reverse fixture back in May.

However lightning was not to strike twice and Saltaire completed a five wicket victory.

Next week Lightcliffe will be looking to bounce back and cement second place when they entertain Hartshead Moor in a local derby.