Cleckheaton steal a march on title rivals

Cleckheaton are looking hot favourites to win a second-successive Division One title after a rain-affected day which saw their two closest rivals suffer defeats.

While Cleckheaton were romping to a nine-wicket win over Morley, Woodlands were losing by four runs to New Farnley and Pudsey St Lawrence were suffering a seven-wicket loss to Farsley, who have climbed above them into third place.

Cleckheaton (224) have a 35-point lead with five games to go after Scotland paceman Iain Wardlaw took 5-32 and Tanzeel Altaf (3-21) combined to dismiss relegation-threatened Morley for 78.

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Big-hitting Altaf smashed five sixes and two fours in a rapid 45 not out as Cleckheaton romped to victory in 8.4 overs.

Captain Mark Lawson was key to New Farnley’s win at Woodlands by making an unbeaten 60 which helped his side to 139-9 in the 39 overs a side contest, despite the efforts of Sarfraz Ahmed (4-30) and Chris Brice (4-41).

Only wicketkeeper Usman Salim (41) made an impression as Woodlands were restricted to 135-9 with Nick Walker taking 4-33.

Farsley openers Barrie Frankland (61) and Joe Sayers (59) shared a partnership of 106 as their side eased past Pudsey St Lawrence’s 141-6 to win a 20 overs contest. Chris Marsden was St Lawrence’s top scorer with an unbeaten 70.

Hanging Heaton beat Pudsey Congs by 14 runs to move within three points of St Lawrence. All-rounder David Stiff followed up his quick-fire 52, which helped Hanging Heaton to 222-7 in their 35 overs, by taking 5-46 as Congs were restricted to 208-9.

Lightcliffe eased further away from the drop zone with a 24-run win at Bradford & Bingley.