Champions Woodlands were made to fight all the way for their slender four-run win over Cleckheaton on a day of close finishes.
Manningham Mills maintained their impressive start to the new season with a seven-run success over Bradford & Bingley and Hanging Heaton recorded their first win when they defeated Undercliffe by nine runs.
Woodlands were indebted to their reliable opening bowlers Pieter Swanepoel (4-57) and Sarfraz Ahmed (3-53) for staving off the determined challenge of a Cleckheaton side who looked likely to overhaul the Woodlands total of 217-8 when Ian Nicholson (72) and Ammer Mahmood (43) shared a third-wicket stand of 116.
Once Mahmood and Nicholson were dismissed with the score on 164, wickets were lost in pursuit of quick runs. Joe Robinson made a breezy 24, but Woodlands had the experience to close out victory.
Openers Scott Richardson (49) and Sam Frankland (44) provided a sound foundation for Woodlands with a partnership of 103 and Grant Soames continued his good form with an unbeaten 51 to ensure their good work wasn’t wasted as Yorkshire pace bowler Iain Wardlaw threatened with 4-58.
The victory enabled Woodlands to take a one-point lead at the top from Pudsey St Lawrence. The Priestley Cup holders defeated last year’s runners-up Farsley by 54 runs after half-centuries from skipper Mark Robertshaw (54) and Gareth Clough (51) plus a knock of 38 from David Hester, helped them to post a score of 203-7. Skipper Ian Philliskirk (3-44) and Chris Henry (3-75) were the pick of the Farsley bowlers.
Farsley never got going in reply as Oliver Ashford, the young opening bowler recruited from East Bierley, again showed good form to take 4-26. Philliskirk (40) was the top scorer for Farsley in their 149-8. The Red Lane side find themselves bottom of the table after the first two matches.
Manningham Mills are the third side to have won both their games. Five days after knocking Bradford & Bingley out of the Priestley Cup, Mills beat them again in a nail-biting encounter at Wagon Lane.
Mills were indebted to Iqbal Khan (37) and Adal Islam (36) for making valuable runs after Bradford & Bingley skipper Phil Slater ran through the top order of the club he made his Bradford League bow with, as he took 6-35.
A total of 145 did not seem too challenging, but the Mills bowlers proved it could be defended.
Bradford & Bingley were soon in trouble at 4-2, and even though new boy Alex Atkinson steadied the ship with a fine knock of 63 as he shared a third-wicket stand of 89 with David Clow (26), Mills hit back to take the last seven wickets for 45 runs as the home side were dismissed for 138.
New overseas player Ali Noman took 4-32 and Zeeshan Qasim (3-36) as Mills snatched victory by seven runs. They are now third in the table with 33 points, four adrift of leaders Woodlands and three behind Pudsey St Lawrence.
The third close encounter was at Bennett Lane where Hanging Heaton defended a total of 118 to defeat Undercliffe by nine runs. Skipper John Carruthers (3-28) and Mark Lawson (3-36) were the chief wicket takers as Undercliffe were dismissed for 109.
Defeat was hard on Undercliffe’s new overseas player Muhammed Khan. He took 6-23 in his 15 overs, but his side may well reflect on the 20 extras they conceded as being costly.
Lightcliffe’s Alex Stead hit the first century of the new season. He made 122 as his side chalked up their first win in their battle with Saltaire who were promoted as runners-up to them in Division Two last season.
Stead made his runs from 120 balls and struck three sixes and 12 fours. He was joined in a second-wicket stand of 204 by Alex Lees who finished on 81not out when the Lightcliffe innings closed on 239-2 – the day’s highest score.
Saltaire showed in making 213-7 in reply that they have the ingredients for a solid batting line up this season. Tabbi Bhatti (52), Nawaz Sardar (50no), Irfan Amjad (40) and Fahid Rehman (35) all showed promise but couldn’t prevent a Lightcliffe win by 26 runs. Left-arm spinner Chris Greenwood was among the wickets again with 4-36.
Pudsey Congs slumped to their second-successive league defeat after being bowled out for just 108 by East Bierley. Richard Atkins, a winter signing from Baildon, took 4-19, while Neil Gill, a man who won five championships with Congs, took 3-6 in his first game since joining East Bierley from Wrenthorpe. Overseas player Muhammed Naved (48) was the one batsman to make an impression.
East Bierley eased to victory with skipper Lee Goddard hitting five sixes and four fours in an unbeaten 58. He was joined in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 86 by Andrew Rennison (42)..
Gomersal’s young wicketkeeper Jack Seddon hit a maiden Bradford League century as his side defeated Bankfoot by 113 runs to go four points clear at the top.
Seddon smashed six sixes and nine fours as he raced to an unbeaten 107 from 86 balls – just two days after celebrating his 17th birthday.
He built on the earlier good work of opener Richard Gould (59) as Gomersal built a score of 255-8. Andrew Marshall (3-63) was the best of the Bankfoot bowlers.
Bankfoot were dismissed for 142 in reply with Harvey Anderson’s defiant 70 not out being the highlight as Gomersal’s bowlers sealed victory. Skipper Adam Greenwood took 3-32 with his off spin.
Keighley are second after a four-wicket win over Hartshead Moor. They might have thought that victory would be straightforward when they bowled out their opponents for 71, but Hartshead Moor’s Australian Jesse Van Rooye had other ideas. He took 4-25 as keighley lost six wickets reaching their target. Opener Jack Beetham was the top scorer in the match with 29.
Yeadon are third in the table after they defeated Bowling Old Lane by 32 runs in a match reduced to 35 overs a side when a wet outfield delayed the start.
When play got under way, Damon Gormley showed all of his experience as he made a fine 76 to steer Yeadon to a total of 143-9 despite some accurate bowling from Zubair Najeeb (3-19).
Oliver Halliday was again in the wickets with 4-32 as he and Mahmood Rassol (3-20) helped bowl out Old Lane for 111.
Spinner Dave Nebard took 5-12 and overseas player Kashif Naveed (3-12) as Morley skittled out Idle for 59 on their way to an eight-wicket win.
There was a surprise result at Busy Lane where Windhill bowled out highly-fancied Baildon for 99 before romping to an emphatic eight-wicket win.
Opening bowlers Umar Abbas (4-14) and Tuseif Arshad (3-27) soon had Baildon reeling and their score would have looked even poorer if they had not benefited from 20 extras.
Raqeeb Younas made sure Windhill didn’t surrender the initiative and steered them to victory with an unbeaten 52.
Great Horton had Sadaqat Zaman to thanks as they belatedly opened their league campaign with a ten-run win over Spen Victoria.
His side were struggling at 27-6 after Joel Pollard (7-24) ripped through the top order with a fine spell of bowling, but Zaman played boldly and made an unbeaten 53 which enabled his side to reach 114 all out.
Spen lost three early wickets but looked on course for victory until Nicky Rushworth was dismissed for 49. After that the jitters set in and two run outs didn’t help their cause as they were bowled out for 104 with Mohammed Akbar taking 3-19.