This is not a conventional match report- more a series of observations about a match that resulted in giving Woodlands an outside chance of the title. Starting the day a massive 35 points behind Cleckheaton there was a certain amount of resignation amongst the travelling Woodlands supporters that this was merely a good match to win. At the end of the day when news came through that Cleckheaton had only picked up 4 points in a loss at East Bierley the realisation struck that the deficit had been cut to 21 points. Strange things can happen in cricket with four matches to go- the rain can intervene in somebody’s favour, and one loss could make two. But, if I was a betting man its Cleck’s to lose, and they can afford to lose one more.
Simon Mason looked good with the bat from the start and I’m sure a little voice in his head was saying that this was a “Yorkshire League wicket”. But there again it was a “Yorkshire League wicket” at Pudsey Congs the other week when James Pearson blasted out the Woodlands first three for seven runs. But, on this occasion Mason, with a certain amount of uncharacteristic prudence, saw off the accurate seamers to make hay with the change bowlers. His 82 was mighty and reminiscent of him at his best when he was regarded as one of the most destructive batsmen in league cricket.
Logan Weston was more watchful and mindful of playing like a county batsman to further his ambitions in this direction. His 52 was invaluable and had shades of class about it. Sarfraz Ahmed was Sarfraz Ahmed- 31 in a blink of an eye including three successive sixes off Mark Harrison.
Joe Sayers (80) anchored the Farsley’s innings in pursuit of 245 and there were certain periods when it `looked on’. But, as fine a batsman Sayers is his partner has to score at a rate of knots to achieve 5- an over. When Philliskirk (42) was at the crease Woodlands could not rest easily given his ability to turn a match, but, when Scott Richardson speared him LBW the writing was the wall for Farsley.
Talking about Scott Richardson- although typically Ahmed and Brice were the most successful bowlers, his spell was comparable in every shape or form. He bowled sharp and straight and could have had three wickets as the ball was snicked through the nonexistent First Slip. As it was he captured the key wicket of Philliskirk in a spell of eight overs with figures of 1-35 which plainly did not do him justice. He never sulks though- just gets on with it, and he kept his concentration on the boundary edge to catch out Sayers.
It was good to see Scott’s brother Elliot in the team buzzing about on and off the field. There is not one Bradford league club that would not want this nurturing talent in their First Team squad or team next season.
A word for Duncan Snell who hasn’t had the best of fortunes in the league this season. His enthusiasm in the field is unmatchable as he makes up ground like lightening when the batters dare to think about a second. His one handed catch to dismiss Hume for 18 was stunning, but more than anything his delight when hearing the Cleck result epitomises how much he cares.
A deserved word for Farsley- the fabled Dick Stow works like a Trojan and whoever does the ground should be commended. In a few short years Red Lane has been turned from a run-of-mill ground to probably the best in terms of playing surface.
JCT600 BRADFORD CRICKET LEAGUE 1st DIVISION
SATURDAY 9th August 2014
Report by Reg Nelson