Yorkshire Leagues: Bradford Premier League champions Woodlands start as they mean to go on in title defence

THE opening league fixture of the season at Albert Terrace always looked tasty, and it didn’t disappoint.

Woodlands opener Tim Jackson scored 70 in the win over Townville. Picture: Steve Riding.
Woodlands opener Tim Jackson scored 70 in the win over Townville. Picture: Steve Riding.

The Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League clash between defending champions Woodlands and runners-up Townville went to the wire, as did their Premier Division title race last season.

Woodlands, winners by 11 points, opted to field but Townville, despite the early loss of opener Jonny Booth, built a solid platform via two decent partnerships.

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No 3 Harry Warwick (20) helped Abdul Wahid (70) add 56 for the second wicket and the opener, who hit six fours and three sixes, then put on 43 for the third wicket with Jack Hughes (44).

Woodlands captain Brad Schmulian took 5-22 against Townville. Picture: Jim Fitton.

It was from 122-2, however, that new Woodlands captain Brad Schmulian found purchase with his leg breaks to take 5-22 and restrict the visitors from Castleford to 211.

Woodlands’ innings followed a similar pattern, a recovery happening after the early dismissal of Sam Frankland.

Opener Tim Jackson matched Wahid’s score, hitting five fours and three sixes, and added 94 for the third wicket with wicket-keeper Greg Finn, who made a watchful 40.

The run chase was tight, however, and Woodlands only won by three wickets off the penultimate ball, seen home by Tom Clee (12no) and Elliot Richardson (19no).

Yorkshire's Matthew Revis made 133 off just 107 balls in Farsley's win over Bankfoot. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

New Farnley, the other team in the 2021 title race, had things relatively easy as they dismissed visitors Hanging Heaton for 130 before knocking the runs off for two down.

Callum Geldart and Adam Patel both made 32 in Hanging Heaton’s innings, which was put on the back foot by Liam Guthrie (4-44) and finished off by Gurman Randhawa (3-10) and Alex Lilley (3-23).

Adam Waite (47no) and Steve Bullen (40no) added 76 unbroken to see New Farnley past the post.

Top-flight newcomers Ossett also enjoyed themselves, winning a high-scoring encounter at Batley.

Vibhor Yadav (44), Naveed Arif (31) and Mohammed Bhoola (32) helped Batley to 226, but Nick Connolly (79) gave Ossett a fine start, sharing stands of 67 with fellow opener Sam Storr (20) and 120 with George Hadfield (58) as they triumphed by six wickets in th 46th over.

Bradford & Bingley could also be a team to watch, winning by seven wickets at Pudsey St Lawrence, who were dismissed for 106, Yorkshire player Will Luxton making 28 in Bingley’s triumph.

The innings of the day came from another Yorkshire player, Matthew Revis, however.

He made 133 off just 107 balls, hitting an astonishing 12 sixes and only four fours in Farsley’s 280-3 aafter they were sent in at Bankfoot.

Chris Beech (57) helped Revis put on 102 for the second wicket and Ryan Cooper (29no) was happy to play second fiddle in a partnership of 107 for the third.

Bankfoot, promoted last season, were then dismissed for 123, with Joe Pocklington, the fifth bowler used, taking 6-19.

Wakefield Thornes had a disappointing campaign in the Yorkshire Southern Premier League in 2021, but there are signs of a better season if day one is anything to go by.

Sent in at Elsecar, they made their league’s top score of 258-8, which was built around 111 by wicket-keeper Joe Billings.

His innings only lasted 112 deliveries and contained 11 fours and two sixes and he added 83 for the third wicket with James Rhodes (35) and 52 for the sixth with Jamie Howarth (19).

Former Yorkshire pace bowler Moin Ashraf ploughed a lonely furrow with 4-50 and the hosts could only make 177 in reply, with Kashif Naveed (45) and Ian Swallow (31) top-scoring.

Defending champions Appleby Frodingham were not far behind Thornes with their251-4 at home to Barnsley.

Jordan Neil was another centurion with 101, which came off only 109 balls and included 10 fours and two sixes, adding 86 for the second wicket with Alex Grimes (53) and 90 for the third with Kieran Lindley (31).

Neil then took 3-11, with Lindley bagging 3-21 as the visitors were toppled for 141.

Championship Division winners Cleethorpes showed that they will be competitive in their nine-run defeat at Treeton, whose openers Chris Cobb (27) and Dave Rodgers (36) put on 67, which was very untypical of what followed, 19 wickets falling for 202.

Zeeshan Karamat (3-19) and Vinnie Ogden (6-60) put the skids under the Cleethorpes innings as they were dismissed for 130.

Whiston Parish Church, promoted alongside Cleethorpes, went one better, defeating Cawthorne by 27 runs, with the latter collapsing from 163-2 to 213 all out as Joe Norbury took 6-64.

There were contrasting fortunes for the defending champions in the Huddersfield League and Airedale & Wharfedale League.

Hoylandswaine won a low-scoring encounter by 22 runs at Armitage Bridge, courtesy of opening bowlers Junaid Khan (4-17) and Muhammad Azharullah (5-18).

Saltaire, meanwhile, were dismissed for 150 after being put in by Collingham, who then reached their target for the loss of just three wickets in the 39th over