CLECKHEATON may just have to enjoy overseas star Tayyab Tahir while they can.
Top of the Premier League runs chart with an impressive 605 runs at 50.42 so far, with a superb strike rate of 113.51, the Lahore batsman has made many friends at Moorend and has been a shining light in a season which has failed to truly sparkle, team-wise.
Cleck, residing in lower-mid-table, had one of their better days last Saturday, when they halted the bandwagon of leaders New Farnley with a sweet 56-run win.
It should come as no surprise that Tahir was at the heart of it in making 96 – agonisingly just missing out on a fourth century of a fine season.
But with Tahir’s feats likely to attract the attention of rival clubs as thoughts turn to 2019, so the chances of him staying at Cleck may just recede.
Cleck cricket secretary Bob Speight said: “We have an extremely good overseas who has batted extremely well. He likes to get on with it as well. He has just passed 600 runs for the season, which is not bad – just one match into the second half of the season.
“Tahir made an extremely good impact. We got Tom Kohler-Cadmore thinking that we would have at least half a season with him and of course, he is with Yorkshire. But I think he has only got about 60 runs for us in the four matches he has played. It is just the way it goes.
“Unfortunately with us, we have not as much money as a lot of other clubs have and what we tend to do when looking for an overseas is bring somebody on who looks promising, who looks quite young and is coming for the first time and trying to prove something. Then very often if they have done well, we cannot compete and they move elsewhere in the second year.”
All told, it has been a transitional season at Cleck, effectively ‘between eras’ with the club rebuilding after the successful era of John Wood, set to retire at the end of this season.
Tahir aside, there have been other highlights, including the form of Yorkshire junior Ethan Lee and the bowling prowess of newcomers Johnathan Whiteoak and Josh Thirwell.
“The two bowlers we have got in this year, Whiteoak and Thirwell, are just starting to find their feet and have a good mentor in there in John Wood,” Speight observed.
“It is probably John’s last season as he is almost 50 now. But when you throw the ball to him and you want five or six tight overs, he still performs.”
Tomorrow’s appointment at Pudsey St Lawrence is the final game of a tough triple-header for eighth-placed Cleck, who beat Farnley last weekend and pushed Hanging Heaton all the way on the previous Saturday.
After two strong performance against Farnley and the Tewits, Speight is hopeful that the Moorenders can again push for victory when they call in at Tofts Road to face second-placed St Lawrence.
He said: “We are 30 points clear of the bottom two and when we have played Pudsey St Lawrence on Saturday, we will have played three top-three candidates in the league on three successive Saturday’s. So far, we have got 27 points out of the first two and knowing the situation at St Lawrence with the newly-laid square, it might cause one or two problems and you might catch them on the right wicket. Although it might be the toss which decides it.”
AN interesting Bradford League top-flight season got even more fascinating last weekend.
Defeats for leaders New Farnley and champions Hanging Heaton headlined the action, with the upshot being that just 25 points now separate Farnley from sixth-placed Woodlands.
Both Farnley and Heaton, who saw their colours lowered by Cleckheaton and Woodlands respectively, will have a point or two to prove tomorrow.
Farnley, who went into last weekend’s action on the back of a five-match winning sequence, face a dangerous opponent in visiting Woodlands, for whom the likes of Ishfaq Ahmed, Tim Jackson, Kez Ahmed and Chris Brice came to the party last weekend.
Fresh from reaching the finals of the Heavy Woollen Cup – where they will face Farnley at Spen Victoria on August 5 – Gary Fellows’s fourth-placed Heaton play host to an East Bierley side for whom time is starting to run out in their safety quest.
In a season where all of the big-hitters at the top have not had it their own way for spells this term, it is form side Farsley who currently display the most eye-catching consistency.
The Red Laners welcome Townville on the back of a strong six-match run of victories, with Ryan Cooper’s side currently eight points adrift of Farnley and six behind St Lawrence, in second.
Elsewhere tomorrow, Methley, riding high in fifth, play host to Lightcliffe, while a huge match at the bottom sees the side currently occupying the second relegation place in Scholes welcome third-from-bottom Bradford and Bingley.
Just seven points separate the pair ahead of tomorrow’s crunch meeting at New Popplewell Lane.
Game of the day in Championship sees two of the top three square off at Bragg Lane End where Wrenthorpe, in second, face the side just below them in Morley.
Just seven points currently separate the pair, who have each won nine of their 11 league matches so far this term.
Leaders Undercliffe, who are 17 points clear at the summit, make the trip to Batley.
Fourth-placed Pudsey Congs call in at struggling Hartshead Moor, beaten in their past three matches.
Ossett visit Gomersal and rock-bottom Yeadon play host to fourth-from-bottom Hunslet Nelson.