2011 – Dales Council 1st

Final League Position = 7th, 248 Points  ___________________________________________________________

Pudsey St Lawrence v Pudsey Congs

At Priesthorpe High School

Saturday September 10th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Almost unimaginably, after a stuttering but by no means poor season, Congs went into this game knowing that they would need at least 12 points to secure their Division B status for the following season. And as Saturday dawned, the news became even worse when former captain Gary Lewsley contacted the incumbent with news that Apperley Bridge had gifted their points to Drighlington. This was a highly unpleasant and disturbing development but one best debated elsewhere.

So when Dom Allen arrived at an empty Priesthorpe and witnessed no visible signs of a cricket wicket, he might have been forgiven for thinking St Lawrence had repaid the compliment. As a novice of the ground, he was not aware at the time that there was in fact nothing to prepare and a rolled piece of field was about as good as it gets here. Quite how St Lawrence are expected to prepare future Bradford League cricketers on such a surface is anyone’s guess.

After an amusing occurrence at the toss when St Lawrence captain Ian Brear announced that he would have a bat, Allen had to point out that in fact he had won the toss and that he might quite like a bat himself. Therefore Alistair Goodchild and Matty Humpleby opened the batting but after initially looking solid, both perished and when Mustafa Raffique quickly followed them, Congs looked to be in perilous trouble at 19-3. Enter Majid Ali Baig batting at No 5 and he joined Arbaab Hussain. The pair made a complete mockery of the quality of the pitch and barely looked in any trouble at all as they smashed a partnership of 74 in no time at all. Hussain once again showed maturity well beyond his years, hitting the ball harder than many adults. He cracked one huge flat six over extra cover that went miles into the car park before falling next ball to a leading edge but his contribution had wrestled the initiative for Congs.

A partnership that should have taken the game away completely from St Lawrence between Majid Ali and John Patrick was ended when Patrick was bowled by a ball that scudded along the surface. He had still found time to congratulate Majid on a brilliant and most timely maiden half century and one that contained some of the most beautiful shots you will see at this level. Rarely do batsmen of the Dales Council get down onto one knee to play the perfect extra cover drive but his innings are so aesthetically pleasing.

Sadly when Ali departed for a brilliant 72 he was soon followed by the out of form Robin Kettlewell and Allen was once again left with just three wickets and frightening number of remaining overs. Fortunately, he was able to negotiate the side through all but one ball of them, despite Saqib Mehmood and Adam Patrick’s best efforts to swing themselves off their feet so badly, they were in serious danger of career threatening back disorders! In fairness both also achieved some lusty blows to boost the score and little Zahid Mahmood contributed a straight six of his own.

The final total was a triumph of recovery and having found themselves at 19-3 and then 136-7, a final total above 200 was immensely satisfying and more importantly could have knocked out the stuffing of the St Lawrence side, especially bearing mind they had nothing other than local pride to play for.

Pudsey Congs 209 all out (Majid Ali Baig 72 ; Arbaab Hussain 35)

And right away in the very first over, Adam Patrick got Congs underway when he took a very high return catch from James Conlon, that almost got over his head. Matty Humpleby took a great low catch to remove Hartley before the prize scalp of Shahid Bhatti was taken brilliantly in the outfield by pocket dynamo Zahid Mahmood. Bhatti was in his usual dominant mood and launched a perfectly good ball from Patrick high, wide & handsome but it did not have the legs. Mahmood raced in 15 yards and took the immensely difficult chance over his head like he was shelling peas; after which he was mobbed by his teammates.

A further misbehaving delivery from Patrick leapt up at John Arnold who had looked as solid as a rock previously and the innings began to look like a procession. Yet again, the over limitations prevented Patrick from picking up a deserved five wicket haul but he was replaced by his father who performed a similar role at a lesser pace. Before this, Saqib Mehmood picked up his only wicket of the afternoon, bowling the promising talent of Sam McAvoy.

Patrick senior ran through the lower order almost like a dose of salts with the notable exception of wily Keith Marsden who battles and battles and even batting on one leg with a runner looked dangerous. Patrick very chivalrously passed up the opportunity to take five wickets of his own, in order to allow his son the chance after his imposed rest. It took just three balls before Adam achieved the first five wicket innings of his career and his timing could not have been more perfect.

So the season was at an end and Allen could take the confidence of his team’s survival into the evening’s karaoke extravaganza. It should be pointed out that despite the rivalry of the two clubs and the importance of the game in terms of the basement battle, it was played in a tremendous spirit. Not a cross word was spoken between either side and St Lawrence were the epitome of sportsmanship and a great deal of the credit for this goes to their captain Ian Brear.

I would just like to add one or two personal thank yous if I may at the end of a difficult but certainly enjoyable season. To Ralph, I am as always grateful for your support and appreciate the tremendous amount of hard work you do for all four teams. To Mick Hirst, thanks for the support and standing in at selection when I’ve been otherwise engaged with the little men. To Graham Curtis, the pitch at Priesthorpe made us all realise how lucky we are to be playing on your square at Fulneck, thank you for all the hard work, especially that which you have carried out with one hand.

To Bluey, thanks for your support mate, it has been appreciated. To Callum, the same and my deepest commiserations for what happened at the end mate, you deserved that promotion so much. Thanks for all your help and support with selection.

To Glen in Canada , I salute all the hard work you perform for this club and the speed and efficiency with which you get our stuff online.

To Neil & Michelle, thanks for everything when we have played at The Brit in terms of the bar and drinks and the same goes for John Malpass with regard to the wickets. To my Under 13s that have played in this side, plus Alex G, a sincere thanks and proof if ever it were needed that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

Finally, to all of my fellers, I just want to say a big thank you for your efforts all season. We’ve stuck together and whilst we didn’t achieve an immediate bounce back to Division A, we most certainly did not disgrace ourselves and the cup run was just a great achievement. I don’t wish to single anybody out but to John Patrick thanks for everything you have done on and off the field, I am so grateful and the same goes for Robin Kettlewell and Graham Curtis. No captain can function without brilliant blokes like these helping them out.

Thanks once again, all the best everyone, Dom

Pudsey St Lawrence 77 all out (A.Patrick 5-10 ; J.Patrick 4-20)

Pudsey Congs won by 132 runs

 

Pudsey Congs v Farsley

at Fulneck

Saturday September 3rd, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Despite the 4th team having no game this weekend, the club still suffered a player crisis that threatened to derail the 2nd XI’s promotion challenge and place the 3rd team back into a relegation dog fight. Captain Dom Allen went into the game without three of the four bowlers that performed so well the previous week and was ready to make the highly unusual move of inserting the opposition, despite the wonderful looking track. He never got that opportunity because he lost the toss, yet again, and Farsley captain Stuart Tempest opted to bowl.

Alistair Goodchild opened with Robin Kettlewell and the pair got off to a poor start when Kettlewell was adjudged LBW without scoring to leave Congs 10-1. When Arbaab Hussain almost hit the cover off a ball, he may have thought he’d smashed his first boundary but he was brilliantly snapped up by Kenyon at short cover and he departed also without troubling the scorers. Congs desperately needed another big contribution from Goodchild and he had looked in excellent nick before bizarrely missing a slower ball and he departed for 33 good runs.

Another disappointing collapse ensued and it was a case of the same old story with senior players not valuing their wicket sufficiently and paying scant regard to the match situation or weakened nature of the batting line up. When the captain came to the crease, the scoreboard was registering 62-6 but this quickly slipped further to 68-8. Fortunately, due to an overtly cautious approach on his part and some supremely mature and careful batting from Under 13s, Zahid Mahmood and Jacques Allen, the score moved slowly to 131-9. This represented a huge relief and three more batting points than the team had looked like acquiring an hour earlier and the team were hugely indebted to the two juniors for their efforts.

Pudsey Congs 131-9 (D.Allen 35 not out ; A.Goodchild 33)

Mustafa Raffique opened the bowling for Congs and after settling into a steady line and length, he put the skids seriously under the Farsley side, reducing them to 26-3; all three wickets bowled. After a brief Farsley recovery, Zahid Mahmood followed up his batting exploits with a superb catch at extra cover to further destabilise the away team. It appeared that just one more wicket would kill off Farsley’s chances.

Unfortunately, with the score on 45-4, an incident occurred that did not just sour the game and the magnificent spirit in which it had thus far been played, it served to reduce the afternoon to a complete farce. Carl Morris was given not out by his 14 year old brother (standing at square leg) when he had wandered so far out of his ground that Matty Humpleby had time to make himself a pot of tea before taking off the bails. It is fair to say that the majority of the Farsley side were embarrassed by the incident and it in no way reflects the way in which the majority of them play the game of cricket.

It goes without saying that Morris went on to top score and ‘win’ his side the game, made all the more galling by the repulsively ugly nature of the majority of his slogs. Dom Allen had particular reason to be disenchanted, bearing in mind that Morris had given him a fearful ear-bashing whilst he was batting (that carried on into the tea break) over a caught behind appeal that he had missed by more than a foot. Thus when Morris went past 50, the Congs captain became embroiled in a nasty and very regrettable spat with the subsequent square leg umpire and the whole game became one very much to forget.

And that as they say was that. The final game of the season takes place next week versus our old friends from up the road. With a much stronger squad at his disposal, Allen will be looking to quell any lingering doubts over the Division B status of this side.

Farsley 135-4 (M.Raffique 3-14)

Farsley won by 6 wickets

 

Meanwood v Pudsey Congs

At Parkside Road

Saturday August 20th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

After too many disappointing results of late, Congs came into this game knowing that a win would be huge in securing their Division B status for next season. And although Meanwood’s promotion hopes had been dashed, they had the memory of the annihilation they had suffered at The Britannia in June for which to make amends. It appeared these bitter memories had festered too long in the minds of the Meanwood players because the game, almost from ball one, was played in a quite dreadful spirit. Congs certainly gave as good as they got in retaliation and were determined to show that they would not be either bullied or intimidated but the atmosphere was a big set back after weeks of playing cricket in the correct manner.

Dom Allen lost what appeared to be a crucial toss and Congs were inserted on a damp and unpleasant looking track. The incident that probably ignited the afternoon was the dismissal of Alistair Goodchild who had hooked his second ball for six and looked completely at home on a slow lifeless track. He had moved onto 20 in no time before he received a full toss that was around shoulder height and assuming that he had a free hit at the illegal delivery, pulled it effortlessly again for what appeared another six. However, the ball was well caught on the boundary by Rob Guest. Goodchild and the Congs players looked toward the middle, merely for confirmation that the delivery had been called a no ball but after a consultation it was decided there was nothing wrong with it.

So Arbaab Hussain strode to the middle, again batting at No 3 and whilst riding his luck on a number of occasions, he looked assured and resolute for the most part before launching a blistering attack on Ollie Ozols including an exquisite extra cover drive that was replaced as shot of the day by a stunning six straight back over the bowler’s head that landed in a nearby field. One would have expected humility from the bowler after receiving such treatment, rather than the foul mouthed and totally unwarranted tirade he launched at the 13 year old when he was given out caught behind. Watching on, horrified, from the other end, Danny Cockin had himself played a wonderful innings, cutting the ball, often through the vacant third man region but soon after the dismissal of Hussain, Cockin was unable to capitalise on his form when he was bowled for an excellent 30.

Congs then crashed from 90-1 to 143-9, a tremendous disappointment after the top three had shown what could be achieved but during the collapse, one man stood firm for Congs for the second week running. Tom Huffinley looked even more assured than he had the previous week and totally at home guiding and nudging the ball around and combining this with his ingenious style of running between the wickets. More athletic than most, he has a great sense, not just when and where to steal a run but also how to get under the skin of the opposition. After the fall of the ninth wicket, Huffinley still had time to put on 21 with Jamie Allen which was interrupted by a cloud burst that threatened to finish the game. Dom Allen was much less keen than his Meanwood counterpart to continue the game when the umpires decided they could recommence, on the basis that the run ups were saturated and he felt his bowlers would not be able to get anywhere near their full pace. His protests fell on deaf ears.

Pudsey Congs 164 all out (T.Huffinley 32 no ; D.Cockin 30 ; A.Hussain 27)

But Allen’s fears had been unnecessary and whilst it was true that neither of the two opening bowlers could run in with all of their usual certainty, Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen troubled the batsmen on too many occasions to mention. Because of the run ups and a huge wet patch around leg stump, the captain instructed Allen junior to bowl from around the wicket and the tactic worked a treat. It was clear that the pitch had changed in character completely and that run scoring was never going to be easy. Patrick achieved the vital early breakthrough when in his very first over, Collier was extremely well caught by Cockin at cover point.

When top batsman Bob Guthrie was given out caught behind (again off Patrick) pandemonium broke out in both camps; Congs because they had removed the danger man of the Meanwood side but the opposition because they felt the decision was incorrect. Joe Goodchild well caught Wheat after he had initially lost the ball in the trees and Meanwood were struggling at 17-3. Ben Senior arrived in pugnacious mood but with little on offer from the two opening bowlers, he was forced to sit tight with Guest as Meanwood became bogged down.

Having used up more than a third of their overs and the scoreboard registering only 28, the worst of all sights greeted the home side; that of John Patrick marking out his run up on a saturated and helpful track. It took him only four balls to remove Senior with a superb delivery that clipped the top of off stump. Patrick then concentrated on bowling line and length, using his years of experience and knowing that sooner or later the pitch would play further tricks. Before it did this, Majid Ali came into the attack and bowled a combination of sumptuous and dreadful deliveries. In doing so he picked up the wickets of Guest, wonderfully held again by Matty Humpleby and Copeland (middle stump) who had looked dangerous until that point.

The twentieth over of the innings became the most enjoyable for Congs and John Patrick in particular, finally nailing down the coffin of the Meanwood team. It was a triple wicket maiden which included a steepling further catch from Humpleby, an utterly plum LBW and the strangest dismissal of the day. Congs had been verbally abused all afternoon by some of the Myrtle Tavern’s finest, barely any of it amusing and none of it friendly but water off a duck’s back nonetheless. However, as Patrick was entering his delivery stride, one local MENSA member blew a raspberry in an attempt to put off Patrick. Unfortunately for the perpetrator it succeeded only in disturbing the concentration of poor Ed Watkins and there was an awkward moment when he stood his ground awaiting some kind of recall, convinced a fielder had done it. With nine wickets down now and the game all but at an end, Majid Ali bowled a tight but fruitless over and provided Patrick senior with an opportunity to claim another five wicket haul. The very first ball reared straight up and Patrick took the simplest of catches off his own bowling to end the match.

It was a particularly pleasing victory for Congs because a huge number of things had gone against them during the afternoon but they took the field determined not to be bossed around and showed a great deal of fight. The youngsters had provided the runs and then both Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen had put in excellent hard yards for the elder statesman himself to show precisely what to do in such conditions. The result provides leeway for the team but Allen senior will be expecting his team to end the season on a high in the two remaining fixtures.

Meanwood 54 all out (J.Patrick 5-11 ; A.Patrick 3-17)

Pudsey Congs won by 110 runs

 

Pudsey Congs v Thornbury

at Fulneck

Saturday Aug 20th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

When Hanif Mohammad went out to bat at Bridgetown, Barbados and made his record breaking longest ever test match innings of 337 in 970 minutes, in the 1957-58 season, he would have been blissfully unaware that an attempt would be made to eclipse his feat more than 50 years later. But at Fulneck on Saturday, the great Robin Kettlewell did just that and came as close as it is possible to get within the confines of a 45 over match. Sadly, he fell short, although creditably he did manage 17 runs from a gargantuan 74 balls.

After the disappointment following Kettlewell’s failed attempt, the remainder of the match tended to fall a little flat but there were two exceptional points worthy of note. Arbaab Hussain making his long awaited debut for the 3rd XI made 31 batting at No 3 and probably looked the best batsman on display across both teams. Assured in defence, he stroked the ball firmly in attack and looked to have a significant future within this team, if he is not poached by higher sides.

Tom Huffinley also batted mighty impressively, made even better by the fact that he was hampered by a heavy cold and clearly felt well below his best. His timing of the ball had been exceptional, matched with superb running between the wickets and one is given to wonder just how high he could go if he made cricket his number one sport.

But the score at half time did not have the feel of one that could easily be defended and although time would tell it not only felt significantly below par, it mustered only three batting points.

Pudsey Congs 140-7 (T.Huffinley 37 ; A.Hussain 31)

To say that the bowling on display was disappointing would be a huge understatement and it really tells the tale that other an early catch well snaffled by Matty Humpleby, Congs took just two other wickets, one of which being the luckiest of run outs of the non striker backing up. We should however mention the spirit the game was played in once again, which was excellent. Thornbury appear to have a collection of part time comedians in their side and their constant jokes eased the pain of defeat slightly.

But the run of poor showings has reached a disastrous level now and it is almost time to hit the panic button. A win in the very near future is required to put some space between Congs and the other bottom teams otherwise, a season which was at one point going so well could end in a catastrophe.

Thornbury 141-3

Thornbury won by 7 wickets

 

Hepworth & Idle v Pudsey Congs

At Westfield Lane

Saturday August 13th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Congs arrived at a wet Westfield Lane with a decent line up and after winning the toss, Dom Allen wrestled with his conscience for what seemed like an eternity before deciding to bat on the damp track. He asked his batsmen to value their wickets before handing over to John Patrick who made an impassioned plea that the players do just that and not throw away their wickets.

Imagine then Allen’s state of mind with the scoreboard reading 88-5 and all but one of the wickets falling to balls spooned up in the air. Fortunately, John Patrick marched to the middle and was soon joined by Majid Ali and the pair amazingly rebuilt the innings, almost adding 100 runs in the process. Ali was not quite his usual self but he needs a Patrick or a Curtis at the other end in order to bring out the best in him. JP meanwhile hit some delightful strokes and concentrated on hitting only the bad balls. It was a shame to see him depart for a magnificent 84 but he will have been proud to back up his dressing room words with actions. Saqib Mehmood closed out the innings with some fearful hitting to put Congs in the driving seat at half time.

Pudsey Congs 238-7 (J.Patrick 84 ; S.Mehmood 29 not out)

Congs started their bowling stint relatively well with the Idle openers not getting away but when Dale Wood arrived at the crease, things quickly turned against Pudsey. His no nonsense and aggressive approach reaped huge dividends but it has to be said he rode his luck an incredible amount during the evening session. Jamie Allen dropped an extremely difficult chance down at third man and in truth Wood could have feathered any one of the 20-30 balls he played and missed at.

But fortune favoured the brave and he took Congs bowling apart, sadly picking on Robin Kettlewell’s left arm spin more than any others. A late flurry of wickets did look to have turned the tide back in Congs favour but the tail end of the Idle line up did just enough to win the game with 12 balls remaining.

In reality, Congs could probably say they were unlucky to come up against someone scoring a hundred in the manor it was scored but Allen will look back at his bowling changes and wish he could have done things differently. At the time, it had certainly appeared that a reduction in pace was required but in hindsight this merely played into the hands of the Bradford side.

The greatest disappointment was the lack of winning points to reward both Patrick’s superb knock and Matty Humpleby’s excellent performance behind the stumps, picking up a brilliant five catches. The team will now have to pick themselves up to face a dangerous Thornbury side next week.

Hepworth / Idle 239-6 (M.Humpleby 5 catches)

Hepworth / Idle won by 4 wickets

Pudsey Congs v Rodley

at Fulneck

Saturday Aug 6th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

After going so near and yet so far at Drighlington, Saturday offered another opportunity to get the first win on the board since the cup semi final but the early omens were not boding well. It was clear at one o’clock that skipper Allen had paid far far too much attention to a rogue weather forecast that had suggested no play would be possible. Turning up at the ground without teas and only half a team, he was left extremely red-faced as he raced around making last minute arrangements, not helped by the fourth team captain’s attempts to break the land speed record on his journey up to Baildon with both remaining wicket keepers under his guard. But Allen did learn a valuable lesson and will in future be a little more agnostic when faced with similarly gloomy predictions.

So on an unbelievably bone dry pitch, the game got off just about on time with Alistair Goodchild facing the first ball. At the time you might have been offered long odds on him facing the last ball also, especially after the disrupted preparations but this is precisely what he did. The majority of the afternoon involved watching Goodchild treating all and sundry to a batting masterclass as bowler after bowler ran up to the crease, only to be dispatched (usually off the back foot) to the boundary. With the weakened nature of the team, his innings could hardly have been better timed and he was not distracted at all by the early departures of John Patrick and Majid Ali, both of which must have been kicking themselves as Goodchild piled on the misery for Rodley.

Dave Malpass injected his own impetus into a third wicket partnership of 110 with Goodchild, himself playing several delightful strokes in a season’s best 37. Both batsmen were threatening to take the game out of the reach of Rodley before sadly Malpass departed before he could register a well-deserved fifty. Even the introduction of his younger son Alex did not stem the Goodchild bandwagon and it was especially fitting that his son was in the middle when he brought up his three figures. After Goodchild junior was out for 13, Saqib Mehmood added a brisk 14 not out at the end but fully understood he was playing second fiddle to a career best and monumental 140 not out from Goodchild. As his score would suggest, he had chugged along at a decent rate also and increased the team total to one that should have been comfortably defendable.

Pudsey Congs 236-4 (A.Goodchild 140 not out ; D. Malpass 37)

In only his second over, Saqib Mehmood picked up two very quick wickets to remove dangermen Ward and Siddle to leave Rodley reeling at 6-2. Captain Dave Sewards knuckled down with Dan Willoughby, the executioner of Congs in the early season fixture, and they were going well before John Patrick persuaded Sewards into having a nibble at one outside off stump and Majid Ali’s sublime glove skills (the world’s best kept secret) did the rest. Shaun Carter and Willoughby were making a concerted dart toward the total when Jamie Allen removed Willoughby with a brilliant yorker that sent his leg stump cart-wheeling out of the ground. He then took a steepling catch off Mehmood to remove Carter before his little brother snaffled a much easier chance to remove Kilvington and Rodley were looking dead and buried at 107-6. This quickly became 114-8 and the end looked very much nigh, as Mehmood picked up an excellent and very well deserved five wickets.

But to say that the team has not won for a month, it was disappointing to see some members of the team begin clowning around when they should have been going for the throat and Mark Dufton and Will Paul put on 62 for the ninth wicket before the latter was run out off the very last ball of the innings. A win is a win and the captain was delighted and relieved to get back to winning ways at the end but it is a huge understatement to say the final margin flattered Rodley and the game should really have concluded three quarters of an hour earlier. He will be looking for an increase in intensity from certain quarters next week to combine with the excellent upsurge in form shown here.

Too final points worthy of note were two tremendous performances from Saqib Mehmood and Majid Ali on zero sustenance due to Ramadan. Ali’s wicket keeping was utterly brilliant; he really does look the part behind the stumps. We should also mention the excellent spirit in which the game was played and a lot of the credit for this goes to the Rodley team and in particular their captain Dave Sewards who is a real gentleman of the game and a credit to the league.

Rodley 176-9 (S.Mehmood 5-26)

Pudsey Congs won by 60 runs

 

Drighlington v Pudsey Congs

At Station Road

Saturday July 30th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

A quickly reconstructed team was formed for the visit to Drighlington for a match that would have seemed like an away banker four weeks ago. But due to Congs recent form, they went into this match as slight underdogs and desperately needing a win to reinstate their mid season confidence. Mick Wood won the toss for the home team and after some serious deliberation decided that his side should bat. When Dunne played on in the first over his decision appeared flawed but an excellent partnership between Waller and Gamble saw the home team reach 52 before Gamble swung way too early at a ball from Patrick and was bowled.

Tight bowling in the middle period of the innings from Majid Ali and Patrick senior meant that Congs were well placed going into the last 10 overs but some late order hitting and sloppy bowling meant that Congs would be chasing a much higher target than had appeared on the cards for the majority of the afternoon. Congs late innings misery was compounded by a likely broken finger, sustained by Graham Curtis filling in as keeper in the absence of Matty Humpleby. The injury meant he was unlikely to bat in all but the direst of circumstances.

Drighlington 168-7 (J.Patrick 2-18)

After a superb bowling spell from John Patrick, he put up his hand (quite literally) to open the batting as well but the innings did not get off to a great start when an out of sorts Alistair Goodchild was bowled with the score on 14. Things became worse for Congs when a situation that had looked perfect for Majid Ali turned sour and he was bowled trying to cut a ball heading straight for his off stump. As it happened, this was probably the last of the wickets to fall to a delivery that should not have been hit over the roof of the nearby Co-op and it can have been seldom seen on a cricket field that a team has taken so many wickets with rank long hops as Drighlington did this afternoon.

After looking like taking the attack to the opposition, Dave Malpass holed out to deep square leg but the ball should have reached the M62. John Patrick hit, possibly the foulest half tracker ever seen, like a tracer bullet straight to square leg and then Adam Patrick and Dom Allen smashed filthy half volleys back into the hands of the bowler and before anybody knew where they were, Congs were 72-7 with only three members of the Under 13s cup winning side left and a man with a broken finger.

But Mustafa Raffique chose this moment to step up to the plate, ably assisted initially by Jacques Allen. The pair added 39 for the ninth wicket, ignoring the crettinous remarks directed at them by some members of the opposition who, years earlier, had found themselves right toward the back end of the queue when the brains were being dished out. Raffique was clinical off his legs and Allen solid, both looking in little trouble until Allen came too far down the pitch and was run out by a direct hit from 40 yards. The Congs team were finding the amount of luck afforded to the opposition at this stage beyond galling.

But Allen was replaced by Alex Goodchild who looked every bit if not more solid and he commenced his usual array of nudges and nurdles whilst Raffique continued on his merry way. The runs required were becoming fewer and fewer and with around only 30 needed, the captain recalled Curtis from the other side of the ground to get padded up. All of the time whilst he was doing so, the target continued to fall and almost unbelievably, 13 year old Mustafa Raffique brought up his maiden senior 50 in only his fourth outing. He had looked imperious and his teammates urged him to continue and finish the job.

Once the runs required dipped into single figures, it seemed almost a formality that Congs would go on to win and that the Boy’s Own Annual would have a further entry but with just six needed, Goodchild was on the receiving end of yet another fortuitous Drig wicket when a ball shot along the floor to bowl him. Graham Curtis bravely walked to the wicket at No 11 and off the penultimate ball, swished in a way that had he connected, it would surely have whistled away for six. But he missed it by the slenderest of margins and a further dot meant Raffique was left to face the next over.

What happened was totally unbelievable and appallingly unwarranted on both teams, with the very first ball of the over sticking in the pitch and almost halving its velocity, before a perplexed Raffique could merely swat at it and the ball hit the stumps after what seemed an eternity.

Not a single neutral watching this game (with any knowledge of the sport) would have suggested that the winning team had earned or deserved their victory. However, quite often in sport the fairytale ending does not take place and whilst it didn’t here, there was no doubting that a future Congs star had been born.

Pudsey Congs 163 all out (M.Raffique 64 ; J.Patrick 34)

Drighlington won by 5 runs

 

Pudsey Congs v Adel

at Fulneck

Saturday July 23rd, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Due to the disastrous scheduling of holidays by several members of the second team, the club was struggling this weekend, although our side escaped with a lighter sentence than those above and below. At the very last minute Adam Slater was called up at the age of 11 to make his senior debut alongside Mustafa Raffique, making his debut in this side after only two outings with the 4ths and Jacques Allen also moving up.

But if it is good news stories you are after then, the inclusion of the youngsters was about as good as it gets as the game ran an almost identical course to the Tong Manor fixture two weeks ago, although without the inherent nastiness. Congs batted first (if that is what you can call it) and after surviving 10 overs without loss, they capitulated to some excellent left arm swing bowling.

Pudsey Congs 77 all out

Once again, Congs bowling proved ineffective and but for a sharp caught & bowled chance taken by John Patrick, Congs would have lost two games on the bounce by 10 wickets. They did take the opportunity to bowl their youngsters toward the inevitable end and Raffique bowled impressively.

As Adel cruised past their target with an insane number of overs to spare, Allen invited his players to arrest the alarming dip in form that has now crept in and pointed out that it simply cannot be allowed to continue. A visit to highly competitive Drighlington might be just what the team needs to get back on track.

Adel 81-1

Adel won by 9 wickets

 

Pudsey Congs v Savile Stars

at Fulneck

Saturday July 16th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

After incessant overnight and early morning rain the match was officially called off at 10.30am removing the requirement for either team to travel.

 

Pudsey Congs v Tong Manor

at Fulneck

Saturday July 9th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

This is an abridged version of the match report because I could have written for hours on all of the things that irritated me during Saturday.

Saturday marked the return fixture of the game played at The Greyhound earlier in the season when Darren Holmes burgled victory for his side in that infamous last over that the captain has never been allowed to forget. It should have represented a chance for Congs to set the record straight; the two sides’ subsequent performances and results looking like chalk and cheese. But curiously, this did not happen as Tong Manor treated the game as their own personal cup final and Congs metaphorically and meteorically failed to arrive at the ground.

The warning signs were already apparent for Congs when, after Tong had shown up with a full quota of 11 men for the first time in weeks, the home side found themselves without any stumps. This was not only embarrassing, it caused a 25 minute delay which the umpires incorrectly (though as it turned out wholly irrelevantly) treated as a rain delay and reduced the match to 42 overs per side. On a pitch that was wet but almost certainly drier than their three previous outings at Fulneck, Allen won the toss and elected to bat to the surprise of the opposition skipper, so much so, that he found it necessary to mention the issue more than 30 times during the game.

Whether the team were subconsciously irritated by Allen’s stubborn refusal to go with protocol and insert the opposition in damp conditions, whether they paid far too much credence to some of the exaggerated criticism of the state of the pitch from certain quarters, whether they geared down because they were playing the worst team in the league or whether quite simply, Tong bowled well and Pudsey had a bad day at the office we will never know but the side were bowled out for 83. In reality, a combination of all of these factors possibly played a part but the performance was bordering on shambolic.

The misery was capped off by the disappointing conduct of a great many of Tong’s fielders, some of whom it is not entirely clear as to what their precise role in the side entails. It is an unwritten understanding within the game that when you find yourself on the losing side most weeks, you must win with good grace on the occasion that things turn around. Sadly, Tong failed spectacularly to do this and some of the personal abuse that was directed at the batsmen (the majority of which being delivered by non cricketers) was quite disgraceful and soured what was an already arduous and unpleasant afternoon.

Pudsey Congs 83 all out

And just when you thought it could not get any worse. It did. By quite a bit. Congs followed up their most disappointing batting display of the season with the most dreadful bowling display for several seasons. It is almost unthinkable that any side could progress to a score of 84 without providing a single chance or looking in the slightest amount of trouble but this is exactly what happened. Allen screamed at his players mid way through the innings, more from embarrassment at the standard of the team that were humiliating his side but he and the 10 other men knew in truth that a win would be a forlorn hope.

To lose by 10 wickets to any side is distressing but to do so to the bottom side in the league that have only beaten two other clubs all year was hugely humbling. It is to be hoped that this was nothing more than a blip and that the side can take a leaf out of Meanwood’s book who have responded admirably to their mauling at The Britannia in June.

Tong Manor 84-0

Tong Manor won by 10 wickets

 

Pudsey Congs v Leeds Sikh

PPM CUP Semi Final

at the Britannia Ground

Sunday July 3rd, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

On a warmer but less humid day, Leeds Sikh arrived at the Britannia having agreed to switch grounds and forfeit home advantage in order to play on the hallowed turf. Dom Allen yet again lost an important toss and the team knew that a difficult afternoon was in prospect. He stressed to his team that this would be an exercise in damage limitation and not to get downhearted on such an easy scoring ground.

And to a man this is what they did, under a cloudless sky and penetrating sun. Arul Gopalasamy made his intentions clear in the very first over smashing Majid Ali back over his head for four and this rather set the tone for the afternoon. With Gurdeep Ryatt at the other end playing a more watchful innings, the pair complemented one another well, despite Gopalasamy riding his luck on several occasions and naively attempting to launch Saqib Mehmood when his bowling does not really offer such opportunities.

Congs had been struggling to find a fifth bowler under the terms of the competition and elected to squeeze eight overs from three part time bowlers. When the captain could only manage two deliveries before the tell-tale grind in his shoulder reared its ugly head yet again, the job was left to David Malpass and Robin Kettlewell. Exceeding expectations by a considerable distance, the pair managed to not only see through their allotted overs, they almost bowled out a full eight apiece.

However, after the departure of Ryatt and the arrival of Cabirdassou and Seehra, all hell was let loose on the Congs bowlers, despite it not always coming off for the away side. From 97-1 after 22 overs, they increased their final total to 247-5 which was an impressive increase in tempo. This of course meant that relatively few slip ups could be afforded in the Congs batting if they were to take this game against the odds. However, it should also be added that the scoring rate never felt particularly out of control on a free scoring ground and that the Congs players had stuck to their task admirably in testing conditions.

Leeds Sikh 247-5 (J.Patrick 2-53)

The omens looked great for Pudsey to begin with as an opening partnership of 48 that almost kept up with the required run rate meant it was very much game on. Sadly for Alistair Goodchild with it having looked very much like his day when he was dropped twice, it was not to be and he disappointingly played on for 25.

Iky Zaman departed for 31 with the score on 66 having threatened to take the Sikh attack apart but when Robin Kettlewell decided it was time to ‘push it on’, he triggered an almighty collapse in the Congs ranks as they slipped from 91-2 to 100-6. This included the appalling run out of Majid Ali and not one person on the ground could see any possibility of a third run as he inexplicably found himself in the middle of the pitch. This deprived the crowd of the potential spectacle of a further Curtis/Ali partnership and one which could very easily have taken Congs somewhere near the target and certainly in the case of Ali, the masses would have dearly loved to see some of his explosive hitting.

Congs only real genuine hope remaining was a partnership between Curtis and John Patrick and it looked for all the world like they would make a charge for the winning post. Unbelievably, when Patrick crashed the ball back at the bowler, a half-hearted attempt at a catch was dropped onto the stumps where, as about as bad luck can get, Curtis happened to be out of his crease backing up. To lose your best batsman to a piece of ill fortune such as this (that maybe happens once every three seasons at most) was a kick in the guts Congs could not recover from.

Saqib Mehmood entertained the crowd late on with a ferocious 24 but when he was stumped, the game was up and Congs’ cup run had come to an end. Down but most certainly not out, this team can be hugely proud of their efforts in the cup. They have beaten two Division A sides convincingly and acquitted themselves well against the best side in the league. They will play an awful lot worse than they have done this weekend and win matches comfortably and they must now kick on full steam ahead with a late charge toward the promotion spots.

Pudsey Congs 167 all out (I.Zaman 31)

Leeds Sikh won by 80 runs

 

Apperley Bridge v Pudsey Congs

At Woodhouse Grove

Saturday July 2nd, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

A challenging weekend lay ahead for Congs as they took on the best side in the division by a street length only to be followed 24 hours later by the top team in Division A. Situated next to the River Aire as Apperley’s ground is, the air was full of midges on a very warm and sultry afternoon. Dom Allen won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that looked ‘patchy’ but as it turned out, did not play too badly. Robin Kettlewell was moved up to open with Danny Cockin as Alistair Goodchild was given an extra 24 hours to nurse a bruised toe. Sadly, neither managed to trouble the scorers, Kettlewell unfortunately being adjudged caught behind and Cockin in all kinds of strife against the extravagant away swing of Zafar Jadoon Khan.

But from 4-2 a great repair job was conducted by Graham Curtis and Matthew Humpleby and until Mirza managed to bamboozle Humpleby for a well compiled 32, the pair looked to be getting into the ascendancy. After a couple of quick wickets, Majid Ali took up the reigns and attacked the Apperley bowlers as he does on most visits to the crease. He played several delightful strokes all around the wicket and timed all to perfection before holing out to a superb catch in the deep. Curtis had meanwhile looked assured on a difficult two paced pitch and would surely have proceeded to his second half century of the season had a short ball not failed to get up and leave him with no chance.

But when it looked like the best Congs might hope for would be 150, David Malpass came to the wicket with a real attacking intent and made 26 in next to no time. He hoisted some of the better bowling for two towering sixes and put the Apperley attack on the back foot. Then right at the end Congs demonstrated that they bat all the way to number 11, as they collected maximum batting points in the penultimate over.

Pudsey Congs 178 all out (G.Curtis 43 ; M.Ali 38 ; M.Humpleby 32)

A target of 179 appeared challenging at half time and it remained to be seen as to how Apperley might fair against one of the better bowling sides in the division. It was not long before Umar Khan got a huge edge onto a quick Saqib Mehmood delivery and in truth he had looked too quick for him all afternoon. Unfortunately, a couple of dropped catches looked as though they might appear costly as Zafar made the most of his luck to compile 53.

Although Congs had done well to pick up four wickets for 128 runs, the game appeared to be drifting toward an inevitable and comfortable Apperley Bridge win and even when an unwell and out of sorts Adam Patrick bowled Ali with the score on 156, there was still no hint of the late fireworks. But this Congs team has spirit in abundance and none of the players will ever give up until after the cause is well and truly lost. In his very last over, Mehmood managed to put the cat amongst the pigeons when his pace appeared too much for the home side and he collected a triple wicket maiden. At 167-8, ApperleyBridge were suffering their biggest wobble of the season and with a fraction more luck, Congs might have inflicted their first defeat.

But it was not to be as Mohammed Yasir held his nerve to eek out a two wicket win for his side and continue their dominant run. Still, a haul of nine points from the game was the next best thing to a win and considerably more than most teams have achieved against Apperley all season. Congs knew that they had to dust themselves down and prepare for an even tougher fixture the following day.

Apperley Bridge 179-8 (S.Mehmood 5-44)

Apperley Bridge won by 2 wickets

 

Pudsey Congs v Pudsey St Lawrence “A”

at Fulneck

Saturday June 25th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Yet again, heavy overnight rain ruined any prospect of the first league Pudsey derby in several years becoming a spectacle. A totally sodden wicket combined with a stiff humid breeze meant a challenge was in store for both teams. Dom Allen won the toss and against all advice and protocol opted to bat, gambling that the wicket ends would be dry enough later in the game for Saqib Mehmood to run in at full pelt. When Alex Hopkins trapped Alistair Goodchild with a perfect in-swinging yorker that almost broke the toe of the batsman, the omens were not looking good for Allen. But Danny Cockin and Robin Kettlewell proceeded to steady the ship before an infuriating and totally unnecessary run out saw the back of Cockin who had been in full flow.

After a brief recovery, the wicket of Matthew Humpleby became even more telling because it led to a steady procession of wickets that seemed to suggest Congs were heading for their first failure in weeks. Some dreadful shot selection combined with tight St Lawrence bowling meant that when Dom Allen joined Joe Goodchild with the score on 73-8, Congs were miles short of a competitive total. Fortunately, the pair showed great determination to use up the significant overs remaining and Goodchild sat in and waited for the bowlers to make mistakes before he pounced. He played some wonderfully timed strokes during his career-best knock and more importantly put on 48 with his skipper to get Congs well past a total that would make St Lawrence think and of course, provide extra points. A further 15 were added for the final wicket which would have been more had Mehmood’s bat not broken mid shot and the ball not sailed straight into the air.

Pudsey Congs 136 all out (J.Goodchild 41)

The fight back had probably got Congs somewhere slightly above par on the day and with rumours abound that the St Lawrence batting was somewhat fragile, the fielding side were confident as they took the field. Allen’s gamble had paid off because the wicket ends were now close to perfection despite the middle of the wicket remaining damp. And Saqib Mehmood lapped it all up like a cat with several bowls of cream as he turned in his best performance thus far. He removed opposition captain Ian Brear in his second over with a ball that knocked off stump out of the ground and when Humpleby reacted brilliantly to a nasty chance behind off Majid Ali, St Lawrence were 5-2.

Enter Shahid Bhatti and for the next 10 overs he threatened to take the game away from Congs completely. Barely looking at the ball, he lofted it straight over cow corner for several maximums and in doing so was making the target look like a piece of cake. But after Allen instructed Mehmood not to bowl another ball in his half of the pitch, the game turned once again. Bhatti was incapable of laying a bat on a single short delivery and when he received the same shooter that Graham Curtis had received earlier, he received the same marching orders.

And although there were testing periods, Congs got home in the end thanks to the pace and accuracy of Mehmood, combined with an outstanding spell of bowling from John Patrick, who was in the batsman’s faces all the time whilst not giving them anything to hit. Allen said to his troops that he was disappointed by a number of factors during the afternoon but that he was delighted by their determination to find a way to win. This impressive bunch of players will never give up and they can be thoroughly proud of their 100% record during the month of June. A difficult weekend is in store withApperley Bridge followed by Leeds Sikh in the semi final at The Britannia but this team will fancy their chances in both matches.

Pudsey St Lawrence 98 all out (S.Mehmood 5-36 ; J.Patrick 3-14)

Pudsey Congs won by 38 runs

 

Pudsey Congs v Halifax Direct

PPM CUP Quarter Final

at Fulneck

Sunday June 19th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Whilst confidence was high, so was the water table at Fulneck for this rearranged quarter final against further Division A opposition. The whole of the square was saturated an hour before the scheduled start time and it appeared that copious amounts of sawdust and a significant delay would be required. But after a drying wind made a prompt start possible, a crucial toss was won by one of the top blokes in this league, Naz Khan, who elected to insert Congs. Allen was delighted to lose the toss, having felt he would have had no choice but to insert Halifax but was seriously worried about the effect the sodden wicket ends would have on his quick bowlers. And his concerns appeared well founded when Asghar Ali slipped three times in his delivery stride during the first over.

With Congs welcoming back Iky Zaman to open the batting, it meant that Ali was bowling at his cousin, adding further spice to the rivalry between the two teams. Zaman started just as impressively as in his previous four visits to the crease, looking assured and managing to get right on top of (at times) some very steep bounce. At the other end Alistair Goodchild was attempting to increase his run tally further for the weekend and the pair work well together. They added 35 for the first wicket in testing conditions before Goodchild chased a wide delivery and departed the scene for 15. Within minutes Gully Mahmood was into the attack with his own unique brand of aggressive left arm fast bowling and Congs were in trouble. Robin Kettlewell almost needed a pair of step ladders to reach the ball he edged to the keeper before poor Matty Humpleby received a very unwelcome ‘king pair’ for the weekend as he departed first ball twice in two days. Again he did nothing wrong but steep bounce is bordering on unplayable at the pace of Mahmood.

Graham Curtis joined Zaman and commenced steadying the ship, whilst Zaman continued to dismiss every short ball that he received from his presence, plus a few dynamic drives through the covers for good measure. Just when the pair appeared to be entering the next period of domination for Congs, Zaman was deceived by the slightly slower bowling of Naz Khan and caught at short cover. After John Patrick helped push the score above 100, in what looked destined to be a low scoring affair, Majid Ali joined Curtis and almost unbelievably, the pair put on 95 for the sixth wicket. In all honesty, Allen would have been delighted to settle for something around the 160 mark but the pair clearly had different ideas.

Curtis had played a brilliant foil to Ali and at one point gave him a serious ticking off after an injudicious hoik from Ali was lucky not to result in his demise. Curtis pointed out the amount of hard work he had put in to that point and that he did not take kindly to the idea of it all being thrown away. But as ‘Maj’ got his eye in, his stroke making became more ambitious and one over from Mahmood in particular was destroyed which included three sixes. He departed two short of a maiden half century and one which he had totally deserved but Curtis continued unabated to finish 56 not out, with Saqib Mehmood brilliantly hitting 10 not out from three balls at the end.

Three individuals had played a massive part in the final total and as our Cricket Chairman commented at tea, the innings had been timed to absolute perfection. Zaman had put early pressure on Halifax, Curtis had shored up the middle part of the innings which had been desperately required before scoring heavily himself and Ali’s late assault had meant the total was possibly as many as 80 more than Allen might have hoped for at the toss.

Pudsey Congs 212-7 (G.Curtis 56 not out ; I.Zaman 54 ; M.Ali 48)

With great confidence, Congs took the field, knowing that they would probably be getting the best of the bowling conditions, not least because the wicket ends were now dry. Despite this, the bowling would still need to be of high quality because Halifax Direct are a strong batting unit. But what Adam Patrick and Saqib Mehmood served up was just about note perfect. Patrick was even more miserly than usual, providing absolutely no width whatsoever and Mehmood produced alarming pace and bounce. Not used to having absolutely nothing to hit, Asif Mahmood opted for a giant haymaker at the third ball of Patrick’s second over and succeeded in getting nothing more than a thick edge on the ball. Humpleby caught a very impressive catch behind the stumps and Halifax were already 3-1.

Next in to bat was the dangerous Jimmy Zaidi but in fairness he never looked comfortable and when it looked like Mehmood had him plum LBW, the ball rolled back onto the stumps to save the umpire from a making the decision. Mohammad Omar learnt little from the dismissal of his opening partner and attempted to launch a further Patrick delivery but the ball simply went 50 yards vertically. Patrick has a safe pair of hands at the best of times but off his own bowling they appear to be coated in super-glue and HD were now 10-3. Naz Khan is the main danger man in the Halifax line up and after tortuously disciplining himself to remain solid, he chased the only wide delivery bowled by Mehmood. Humpleby did the rest behind the stumps and HD were in complete tatters at 20-4, having already used a quarter of their overs. And after a pull to leg from Shah off Mehmood, he attempted the same stroke next ball only to lose his off stump.

At this point the game started to become a little heated, the catalyst for which did seem to be a HD spectator that was spouting all kinds of drivel from the sidelines, the majority of which might have been stamped on by the umpires had he been taking part in the game (which he curiously seemed to think he was doing). Patrick senior produced his second comedy moment of the weekend when he asked the individual whether he had forgotten his whites, which caused great amusement to his teammates and temporarily muted the intellectually-challenged individual. When he disappeared later, a number of players expressed serious concern that he might attempt to drink on an empty head.

After Mehmood and Patrick came to the end of their spells, they had all but put an end to the Halifax challenge and Mehmood then immediately dived to his left to take a great catch for John Patrick’s first wicket. Gully Mahmood caused some excitement on the sidelines when he launched four sixes with the trajectory of nine irons. But when Allen sent every player out to the boundary, he became caught in two minds and shovelled a catch straight back to an immensely fired up Curtis. This was the first of three wickets to fall with the score on 77 and when Humpleby brilliantly stumped Sadiq off the bowling of John Patrick and Allen caught Sattar at mid wicket off Curtis, the fat lady was well and truly loosening her vocal chords.

After a delay of nearly five overs, Adam Patrick aptly ended the game following a mid pitch mix up and he threw down the stumps to run out Asghar Ali. Congs were understandably elated to add a second Division A scalp to their season’s CV and both teams were full of smiles at the end, leaving the competitive stuff right back on the field.

This was one of the best performances the captain had been involved with in his time with the club and although he seems to be saying this rather a lot of late it probably says more about this particular group of players. Workmanlike when they needed to be, with huge amounts of effort in the batting on a difficult pitch, the bowlers could not have done any better and the recent tally now stands at seven wins in nine matches. The semi final will clearly be an even steeper hurdle but having won the cup games with a great deal to spare, the side can look forward to whoever they face with great confidence.

Halifax Direct 95 all out (S.Mehmood 3-20 ; A.Patrick 2-7 ; J.Patrick 2-22)

Pudsey Congs won by 117 runs

Farsley v Pudsey Congs

At Sandoz Sports Ground

Saturday June 18th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

 

A weakened Congs team met an even more weakened Farsley outfit at Sandoz after the previous weekend’s rain had put paid to the plan to stage this fixture a day later on Red Lane. After winning the toss, Dom Allen decided to make first use of a bed of rolled mud, thatch and moss that was doubling up as a cricket wicket; the one saving grace being that any illicit bounce would probably be so slow, the batsmen would have half an hour to get out of the way of the ball.

Alistair Goodchild opened the batting with Danny Cockin and the pair batted with supreme care ensuring that a platform was laid first and foremost. In fact they were not to be separated until the 26th over when Goodchild was bowled by a young Chad Morris but not before he had made an incredibly patient 52, demonstrating years of experience of playing on such pitches. He had waited for the bad ball all afternoon and despatched the majority of them very well. Unfortunately, after such a great run, Matty Humpleby came in to bat on a pitch that could not have been further from the type of track he has crafted his technique upon and after playing forward (perfectly correctly), the rising delivery he received first ball took the shoulder of the bat and he was back in the hutch for a golden duck.

Danny Cockin had shown great resilience at the other end to reign himself in and yet still time the ball on what was an impossibly slow track. He had demonstrated huge levels of concentration in accumulating his second fifty of the season and was massively unlucky when having clipped another ball sweetly off his legs, he was caught by a fielder that had initially completely misjudged the ball, charged in far too far and in the end stuck up a hand.

John Patrick admitted to finding life incredibly tough on the peculiar wicket during his score of 17 but he did find time to produce the comedy moment of the day when on receiving yet another lifting ball he played with such soft hands that his bat flew out yards in front of him. The easily amused captain was in hysterics for what seemed like an age.

When Patrick departed the scene it had appeared that Congs might just about creep over the line of 175 to pick up maximum batting points but a magnificent partnership between Majid Ali and David Malpass meant that sights were set far higher. They cut and pulled the ball to all parts of the ground and increased the projected score to 190. Then right at the end, Joe Goodchild ably assisted by Tom Huffingly added further valuable runs to take the score past 200. Goodchild junior played some deft strokes in the partnership and the intelligent running of Huffingly was very impressive. He created a further run out of nothing right at the end, even if Goodchild did feel that the team ‘already had enough’. A special mention should go to Farsley’s young side that had shown great spirit in the field and really stuck to their task well.

Pudsey Congs 205-6 (A.Goodchild 52 ; D.Cockin 50 ; M.Ali 29)

Whilst it was never going to be easy bowling any side out on such a featherbed of a wicket, this combined with a less than ambitious approach from the team batting second meant that much of the post tea entertainment was fairly forgettable. Indeed, it was difficult to detect precisely what Farsley’s objective was, bearing in mind that the losing draw has now disappeared from all forms of the game at this level. As the overs ticked by they became more and more bogged down although with a succession of missed opportunities, Ray Sutcliffe did go on to make a half century, albeit including one particular incident that should have led to him returning to the pavilion of his own accord.

When Sutcliffe finally hoisted a catch up to one man that simply does not drop them (and Cockin made no mistake again), his wicket triggered a huge collapse from Farsley and they slipped from 97-3 to 106 all out. Their cause was not helped by the average age of the remaining batsmen, although they battled manfully. Adam Patrick’s season continues to go from strength to strength finishing once again with hugely miserly figures.

But the late catches won the day more than anything as Allen brought in his field to push for a final victory with Joe Goodchild, David Malpass and Tom Huffingly all snaffling great half-chances to finish Farsley, ensuring maximum points and great confidence for Congs going into the quarter final fixture less than 24 hours later.

Farsley 106 all out (A.Patrick 3-10 ; J.Patrick 3-30)

Pudsey Congs won by 99 runs

Pudsey Congs v Meanwood

at the Britannia Ground

Saturday June 11th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Buoyed by the previous weekend’s result, the standard of the selected team and the fact that this fixture was to be played at the real home of the club, Dom Allen was relatively ebullient in the hours leading up to the game. Picking from a huge pool of strength, the side welcomed back Graham Curtis after a long period on the sidelines due to injury. This week also saw the return of Saqib Mehmood and John Patrick, missing from the previous week’s victory at Thornbury.

Allen’s mood was lowered somewhat at the toss although it should have come as a surprise to nobody when Ed Watkins won and decided to make first use of a perfect looking Britannia strip. An afternoon of chasing leather was not what the doctor had ordered, although with six top class bowlers in the armoury, such an ordeal appeared unlikely, even against an impressive batting unit.

Nevertheless, what happened next could not have been predicted by the most optimistic delusional onlooker because within half an hour, Meanwood had slipped to 7-5! Phenomenally accurate bowling from Adam Patrick had been complimented at the other end by raw pace from Liam Stanhope and Meanwood just had no answer. Dales Council legend Bob Guthrie was first to depart, trapped on the shin in front of all three stumps and umpire Colin White had no choice other than to raise the dreaded digit and provide Patrick’s first. After this, Meanwood’s cause was not helped by the choice of shot or technique as batsman after batsman backed off to square leg giving themselves no chance of combating the talented bowling on display.

Patrick clean bowled two victims and caught and bowled Watkins to leave himself one away from an elusive five wicket haul. Sadly, it did not arrive before his spell was curtailed by the limitations that are placed on young bowlers but he was replaced by Saqib Mehmood who picked up where Patrick had left off. Mehmood and later Majid Ali briefly wrestled with, before dismantling the tail of the Meanwood innings and although their final total represented a small recovery from 7-5 it was meagre pickings in terms of a competitive score and the match was as good as over at tea.

Allen did take time before the players walked off to inform them that it was the most clinical and brilliant bowling and fielding display he had ever been involved with in his long years playing the game. Whilst perfection is of course never possible, the performance of the bowlers was probably as close to this as one can get and the efforts of all four should be remembered for a long time to come.

Meanwood 52 all out (A.Patrick 4-10 ; M.Ali 3-2)

Whilst the result may not have been in doubt at the start of the second innings, the destination of bonus points most certainly was and there was still an opportunity for both sides to deliver psychological damage. After an early boundary, Alistair Goodchild departed the scene, disappointingly trapped in front by a full toss and this brought together two of the most successful batsmen from the visit to Thornbury. Matthew Humpleby began relatively quietly until a juicy half volley outside off stump received the Chip Boy treatment and as a spectator was heard to state on no less than six occasions, ‘it went all the way along the ground’ through extra cover. Humpleby gained huge confidence from the stroke and played, if anything, even better than the previous week. As usual, all of the shots were in the ‘v’ and played with an impeccably straight bat. At the other end Danny Cockin was compact and just as correct and the pair showed Meanwood what they had missed out on with some of the cross-batted hoiking they’d indulged in. Several shots played by Cockin and Humpleby were simple defensive pushes that beat the field and on such a quick surface, galloped away for four.

The game came to a very early conclusion at 4.30pm with Pudsey Congs collecting 19 points after losing just the one wicket and in doing so, condemned Meanwood to zero. Such a non-haul is almost totally unheard of in this league where points are sometimes far too easy to come by but an even stranger statistic was that Congs had not used any of their allotted 45 overs, the total being knocked off inside those conceded by Meanwood. Although Allen was understandably confident before the game, given the strength of his team, the end result was incredibly morale boosting. The only but obvious downside was that several members of the team did nothing other than field but a total demolition of the third best team in this division was as impressive as it gets.

Pudsey Congs 53-1 (M.Humpleby 33 not out)

Pudsey Congs won by 9 wickets

 

Thornbury “A” v Pudsey Congs

At Daleside Road

Saturday June 4th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

After two hot days, the temperature cooled significantly for this, the first fixture between former Bradford Central League team Thornbury and Pudsey Congs. Stand in captain Wazeem Afzal won the toss for Thornbury and opted to make use of a slightly uneven but decent looking and firm track. Congs had the luxury of Liam Stanhope opening the bowling with Adam Patrick and the pair started very impressively, Stanhope’s extra pace in particular causing issues for the Thornbury batsmen. They were 8-2 and then 26-3 in next to no time but this did not diminish their attacking flair.

However, a big breathrough for Congs came when Sam Mason clung on to a leading edge from Mohammed Waqar off Stanhope which triggered a middle order collapse for Thornbury and at 78-7, a competitive total looked beyond them. But Waseem Afzal joined his brother Kaleem at the crease and the pair put together a huge partnership (in the context of the match) of 56 and threatened to cause issues for Congs, especially when the captain dropped a sitter on the boundary. Fortunately, Mason made amends for his captain’s error and snaffled his man one over later, with Adam Patrick coming back to claim the last wicket of the innings with his first ball. Although it could have been much less, Congs would have settled for the final total at the toss and felt confident at tea.

Thornbury 144 all out (L.Stanhope 4-30 ; M.Ali 3-41 ; A.Patrick 2-30)

Pudsey started with nine extra overs and knowing that they would have to keep at least four wickets in hand to garner all 20 points, looked to score from only the bad balls with time on their side. But after a bright start Alistair Goodchild skied an attempted drive that left Congs 12-1. Danny Cockin and Robin Kettlewell steadied the ship and carried the score all the way to 42 before a leading edge from Cockin flew in the air and he became the second Thornbury victim, having batted mighty impressively. Calm and assured as ever, one six had been nothing more than picked up and had sailed miles over the boundary into an adjacent garden.

Cometh the hour, Matty Humpleby entered the fray to a cacophony of drivel from the opposition fielders that Kettlewell had already been subjected to almost since the start of his innings. Some of Thornbury’s attempted sledging was so dreadful it was more reminiscent of The Wild Thornberrys and Kettlewell regularly had to double over or lean on his bat to prevent his sides from splitting.

But the pair added 45 vital runs and all the time Humpleby was gaining in confidence and looking extremely correct. He played some delightful strokes though the covers and backward point, timing them all exquisitely. When Kettlewell departed, Humpleby carried on his merry way with Dave Malpass (back after a 14 year absence) and it looked like the pair would take Congs over the finishing line themselves with Humpleby achieving his maiden fifty in the process.

Sadly on 46 he was desperately unlucky to be bowled via bat and chest and he will have to wait a little longer for that elusive half century, although on this evidence it will be fairly soon. He had certainly proved to himself more than anybody else that he can cut the mustard at this level and will now carry a level of self belief that only comes when you know you have climbed over a mental barrier. When Malpass was well caught at extra cover and Majid Ali top edged a ball into hands, a wobble was on the cards but thankfully the captain and Joe Goodchild guided the team home without further alarm. A full 20 point victory is always welcome and at the end of the game both teams were all smiles, leaving all the crazy banter where it belonged, on the pitch. A very challenging week lies ahead for Congs with Meanwood next Saturday followed by Halifax Direct at Laisterdyke in the Cup on Sunday.

Pudsey Congs 149-6 (M.Humpleby 46 ; D.Cockin 24 ; R.Kettlewell 24)

Pudsey Congs won by 4 wickets

 

Pudsey Congs v Hepworth & Idle “B”

at Fulneck

Saturday May 28th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

The opportunity to capitalise on the previous weekend’s cup sensation presented itself to the side against Hepworth & Idle’s second string. Dom Allen of course lost the toss and on a cold and (unbelievably again) windy day, Dave McDermott kept to his word when he had stated that he will bat every time he wins the toss. After an early wicket for Adam Patrick, McDermott put on a huge partnership of 94 with his son and the pair showed great patience, sitting in and waiting for any burnt offerings. Had McDermott’s back not failed him with the score on 95-1, Heppies may well have been looking at a total greater than 200 but his retirement started a decline in their line up from which they never entirely recovered.

Credit as always goes to Adam Patrick who bowled almost faultlessly into the teeth of yet another howling gale. Bearing in mind the wind was difficult to walk in, his spell of 3-25 was highly impressive, as was that of Majid Ali from the same end. Saqib Mehmood held several overs back until the end and blew three members of the tail away with his extra pace. At tea Congs could be relatively happy with their work and they had fielded well in the most testing of conditions.

Hepworth & Idle 168-8 (A.Patrick 3-25 ; S.Mehmood 3-46)

The second innings started brightly for Congs and disappointingly in the extreme for Hepworth as a flurry of boundaries and shocking bowling took the score to 41 before the loss of Danny Cockin for 11. At the other end Alistair Goodchild was destroying the bowling, at times walking across his stumps and lacing it for four and six over and behind square leg. Everything in the garden was looking rosy and Congs were heading for a comfortable victory. Goodchild looked imperious.

But two things happened almost simultaneously to stall the innings. Robin Kettlewell managed to smack the most hideous of full tosses straight back to the bowler to be caught for 20 when he was going nicely. And then inexplicably, Goodchild enquired as to his score whilst on 43, via the square leg umpire. In hindsight, this was a huge error because his previously free scoring and hard hitting approach was replaced by a much more conservative technique and he crept to his 50 from that point in singles. He was desperately unfortunate however to depart having knocked the cover off yet another long hop, only to be caught on the boundary which prevented a further six.

And the highlights of this innings stop right there! Other than a couple of lusty blows by Mehmood, not one other batsman made double figures and batter after batter looked more like they were wielding a stick of rhubarb than a piece of willow. The wicket had played somewhat strangely and it became clear, probably all too late, that batsmen needed a lot of time in the middle before shot-making became any easier.

So another 10 points slips through our fingers and whilst any defeat is disappointing, the manner of this loss was particularly galling. Back to the drawing board it is for the side and a trip next week to Thornbury.

Pudsey Congs 124 all out (A.Goodchild 51)

Hepworth & Idle won by 44 runs

 

Pudsey Congs v Shipley Providence

PPM CUP Round Two

at Fulneck

Sunday May 22nd, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen 

An air of foreboding was hanging over Fulneck just before the start of this game. Dom Allen was the last home player to arrive at the ground for the first cup fixture of the season with the depression from the previous day’s performance having dissipated nil. It is fair to say however, that the remaining players from the previous day were surprisingly upbeat and one sensed that they might have had something to prove. He won the toss and with the strongest wind ever experienced at Fulneck (and a damp pitch) surprised many by opting to bat first.

Iky Zaman continued exactly where he had left off the previous day, only better, combining deft timing with exquisite pulls from balls that were only marginally short and made all the more impressive because he was doing it in what at times felt like a hurricane. After the unfortunate dismissals of Alistair Goodchild and Danny Cockin, Robin Kettlewell joined Zaman to play his second telling innings in two weeks at Fulneck. Initially he was quiet defending the good ball and content to sit in whilst Zaman went about his work.

And when Zaman was caught behind, Kettlewell only slightly upped the tempo as Majid Ali joined him in a partnership of 73, Ali making 30. Ali is scoring runs with regularity now and it was a shame to see him caught out when in full flow but after a brief partnership with Matthew Humpleby, evergreen John Patrick arrived at the crease to help Kettlewell grind Prov into the dirt. In fact, it appeared that Shipley almost gave up during this period of the game as a succession of maximums flew miles over the rope and during this time several players took to lying down in the field. By the end, Kettlewell was seeing it like a football, charging down the pitch and smashing the ball back over the head of the bowler, with Patrick at the other end hoisting anything short, effortlessly over midwicket. The final total was huge in a 40 over game and massive in the context of such appalling conditions.

Pudsey Congs 228-5 (R.Kettlewell 65 not out ; J.Patrick 46 not out ; I.Zaman 45)

The first part of the 2nd innings report is provided by our ‘utterly hilarious’ [sic] and ‘legendary’ Cricket Chairman Ralph Middlebrook and reads as follows:

“A gale blowing at Fulneck caused a lengthy delay in the start of the Shipley reply last Sunday. Flushed with excitement at the marvellous batting of his team, dealing with teas and the collecting of cash from both teams, Congs captain found himself last out on the field after his players, the opposing batters, and the umpires. After part setting the field he realised he had forgotten to provide a match ball! He left the field and spent an eternity rummaging for a ball in his baggage. At last he took up his position at mid off to find his bright red cap torn from his head and blown at least 100 yards into the old Fulneck Moravian CC cricket field. He jogged after the scarlet item and then jogged back, looking fairly scarlet himself. All this took a minimum of five minutes. Play began to much laughter and amusement for the few hardy spectators.”

Anyway, where was I?

The Shipley response got off to a flyer as both Chris Hawksworth and Humare Amjad took a liking to the extra pace of Saqib Mehmood, whilst Adam Patrick kept them much more restrained at the other end. But with a wicket desperately needed to stem the flow, Kettlewell continued his match-changing influence on the game by suggesting that John Patrick be brought into the attack to take the pace off the ball. Seemingly incapable of reigning in his overly attacking style, Hawksworth almost immediately hoisted up a towering catch to deep mid off that was either in the air for an eternity, or the world did actually stop turning for a while. Fortunately, the skipper held on and within two overs, Patrick had brilliantly bamboozled and castled Amjad to leave Prov 56-2.

Three runs later Humpleby took a brilliant diving and one handed catch to remove the dangerous Garfield Allen and Congs were well and truly in the box seat. But Shipley are not top of Division A by fluke and a highly dangerous partnership ensued between Carl Ward and Rafaquat Mehmood. Mehmood’s technique is not the easiest on the eye but boy when he hits the ball, it stays hit. It was Danny Cockin that broke the partnership (again at the suggestion of Midas Kettlewell) by bowling Mehmood (middle stump) second ball and this appeared to break the back of the Shipley line up. Soon afterwards, Michael Smith ran Ward out by calling for a suicidal run when he had hit the ball straight to Cockin who calmly gathered the ball and hoisted it to Humpleby who made no mistake.

After Tom Hawksworth was very well caught by Adam Patrick in the deep, all of the remaining wickets fell in what became the last over of the day bowled by Majid Ali. Two bowled and one superbly caught by Cockin’s safe hands, Shipley were bowled out for a slightly flattering 161.

If Allen was looking for a response from his players, he most certainly received it and in spades. The two day’s performances were like chalk and cheese and Allen felt at the end like the players had put in an extra effort both for him personally and the club who had been let down the day before. The players that came back into the side most certainly provided great direction, leadership and skill, all three being worth their weight in gold. But one must yet again make a special mention of John Patrick, the most modest of men when so many people nowadays cannot wait to tell you how brilliant they are. He made a rousing speech before the start of the Shipley innings and a further one in the dressing rooms afterwards and along with his cricketing skill and tea brewing abilities, he needs to be aware of just how much this team appreciates him.

Congratulations to each and every player in the side, they all gave everything they had and will be watching the quarter final draw with interest. It was especially pleasing to show what the A Division is missing out on this season and to beat the table toppers so convincingly is no mean feat.

Shipley Prov 161 all out (M.Ali 4-22 ; J.Patrick 3-31)

Pudsey Congs won by 67 runs

 

Rodley “B” v Pudsey Congs

At Canal Bank

Saturday May 21st, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

A lot was promised of the Rodley B side and that visits to Canal Bank would be a lot more enjoyable against their rather less hostile second string. It is pleasing to report that all of the rumours were entirely true and this was certainly a day to remember. Chris Bradbury won the toss for Rodley and decided to bowl, the reason for which was not entirely clear as the pitch looked bare in patches but unlikely to deteriorate.

And at 96-0 he must have been kicking himself as both Alistair Goodchild and Iky Zaman threatened to take the game away from Rodley. They handled the return of Mark Allinson masterfully, albeit with touches of good fortune from time to time which you will always need against such a quality bowler. Zaman in particular played some beautifully timed strokes in an innings of exactly 50 and when his captain shouted that he must now go on and get the next 50, he responded with an almighty heave which rendered his middle stump prostrate. Goodchild had been slightly more sedate but had put away all of the bad balls he received and was desperately disappointed and unlucky to depart three short of what would have been a well earned 50.

The rest of the innings was pure accumulation with Majid Ali making a brisk 28 and Matthew Humpleby a very impressive and welcome 25. Saqib Mehmood and Joe Goodchild provided late order fireworks to send the score comfortably above 200 and a total the (admittedly weakened) bowling line up should have been more than capable of defending.

Pudsey Congs 217-6 (I.Zaman 50 ; A.Goodchild 47)

Everything in the garden was rosy at the commencement of the Rodley innings as Saqib Mehmood and Nathan Dalton bowled with both pace and accuracy. Shaun Carter was so plum with the score on 5 that he walked for his LBW and Rodley had got absolutely nowhere when Bradbury was brilliantly caught at square leg by Goodchild senior with the score on 29.

Dan Willoughby appeared at this stage and whilst Dom Allen was more than aware of his fighting qualities, a win for Rodley from this position seemed even beyond his own combative virtues. But his partnership with Julian Horsley seemed to change the character of the game and the pair put on almost 50 for the third wicket. Horsley made exactly 30 before being well caught by Humpleby, although sadly this was precisely 30 more than he had made when he was dropped second ball.

Former Congs player Chris Northrop made 16 in a further swashbuckling innings that kept up Rodley’s assault but when he was bowled by Allen, it appeared Congs were one, possibly no more than two wickets from victory. It seemed that the players on both sides sensed this and for whatever reason, Congs fielding and attitude disintegrated fatally. Mark Allinson was dropped second ball on the boundary and this was unfortunately made even worse because it went for six and was almost certainly match ball. He went on to make 27 before being caught almost identically.

Allen remonstrated with his team, almost pleaded with them, to field where he asked them to and have a greater understanding of the game situation but for whatever reason (almost certainly slipshod laziness) many were incapable of responding. And the remainder of the innings petered away in the most disillusioning manner it is possible to imagine, a game thrown down the drain because the hard yards were deemed to be too much of an effort.

The above is not intended to be disingenuous to Dan Willoughby who showed massive mental strength, courage and no little skill in his innings of 70 not out and Allen warmly congratulated his long time opponent and all round good bloke at the conclusion of the game. But he pointed out to his team in the dressing room that such an abject fielding display was simply not acceptable for this great club and things had better change within the next 24 hours, otherwise they would be looking for a new captain. He left Rodley a disconsolate man.

To be continued…………………

Rodley 218-6 (S.Mehmood 3-21)

Rodley won by 4 wickets

 

Pudsey Congs v Drighlington

At Fulneck

Saturday May 14th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

The wind seems to blow so much more often these days up at Fulneck and it very often spoils the quality of the cricket on display. Today was no exception, although both teams could take some credit for the entertainment that was provided, albeit not always being for the right reasons. It goes without saying that Dom Allen lost the toss but it never had a feel of great significance on a decent and typical looking Fulneck pitch. In fact, at 5-2 and 14-3 it was looking like a great toss to lose as Adam Patrick and Saqib Mehmood picked up where they had left off the previous week. Both bowled absolutely beautifully with perhaps Patrick deserving special praise for bowling uphill and into a roaring gale. If one were to offer a slight but constructive critical point it would be that, had both bowled at the stumps more, Drighlington would unquestionably have been bowled out for less than 50.

As it was, two big partnerships and it has to be said copious amounts of luck, significantly increased the Drighlington score and caused large levels of frustration to the Pudsey fielding unit. It was their more level headed reaction to these frustrations that would ultimately prove crucial in the outcome of this game however.

Previously, Matthew Humpleby had enjoyed his best day thus far with the gloves, taking a brilliant one handed catch to his left to dismiss the dangerous opener Dunne and also a sharp stumping off the bowling of the older (John) Patrick. In fact, Patrick’s bowling had mirrored that of his son and was a wonderful display of control in such testing conditions. Perfectionists would have been disappointed at tea time but Allen pointed out to his team that the higher total was an opportunity to scoop more batting points.

Drighlington 138 all out (J.Patrick 3-21 ; A.Patrick 3-24)

Congs had welcomed back Iky Zaman after work commitments had prevented him appearing until now and Allen plonked him straight into the position which brought so much success last term. And he immediately commenced his entertaining shot making to the delight of the Pudsey team, smashing the ball to all parts, both straight and square but never over cow. He was in complete control of a fielding side that were losing their heads but with the score at 48-1 and Zaman having scored 40 of them (off 20 balls), he inexplicably ran down the pitch and was bowled. This sadly triggered a mini collapse and Congs were 55-4 all of a sudden, with the result no longer looking anything like a forgone conclusion.

Yet once again, enter the fray, John Patrick to join up with Robin Kettlewell. In completely contrasting innings, the pair totally took the game away from Drighlington over a surprisingly short period of time. Kettlewell carried out his captain’s orders to perfection, sitting in and blocking almost everything to begin with and only initially latching onto the shortest of balls. Patrick meanwhile played some audacious strokes, one pull over square leg for a massive six being the highlight because the ball was lost for an eternity as a result. The pair clawed and clawed at the victory target and when this dipped below 30, the fielding team’s frustrations began to get the better of them.

Kettlewell and Patrick’s final tally was an unbroken stand of 87 and they had been a perfect foil for one another. It was a huge partnership, not just in terms of the volume of runs but the context of the match and the potentially perilous position their team could have found themselves in had either faltered early on. The winning runs (a further six over mid-wicket from Patrick) meant that Congs had secured 18 points from the match, which should be sufficient to maintain their upward momentum in the table.

Pudsey Congs 142-4 (J.Patrick 55 no ; I.Zaman 40 ; R.Kettlewell 31 no)

Pudsey Congs won by 6 wickets

 

Adel v Pudsey Congs

At Memorial Ground

Saturday May 7th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

At 11:30 it looked for all the world like one of those infuriating Saturdays when the rain would begin at lunch time and continue for the remainder of the day. Things looked no better when the side arrived at the Memorial Ground to a gloomy and miserable atmosphere and an air of resignation. But miraculously on this occasion the rain suddenly stopped at 14:00 and the umpires ordered an immediate toss, with play to commence once everyone had changed.

Dom Allen commented to his team in the dressing room that he was honoured to lead out his strongest team, during all of his time at Congs and one where they could justifiably feel they had most bases covered. Adel won what they regarded as an important toss but Allen was delighted that they opted to bowl in the wet conditions. Having being bullied into bowling almost a year ago in the exact same conditions, he was never going to make the same mistake twice.

Alistair Goodchild and Danny Cockin both started with well timed boundaries before Cockin was adjudged run out after a mix up in the middle with his opening partner. This brought Ashley Slater to the crease, fresh from his first team outing the previous weekend and it was always going to be interesting to see just how he would handle the reduction in standard. And the answer came relatively quickly as he typically got right in behind his defensive shots, whilst punishing just about every loose ball that he received with breathtaking ease.

When Goodchild was caught on the back foot and Steve Gunner had played on, Allen started to lose some of his pre-match and post-toss confidence but there really was no need as cricket’s own version of Highlander (and there can indeed be only one!) John Patrick joined his step-nephew at the crease. The pair put on exactly 100 for the fourth wicket and came within a whisker of taking the game completely out of Adel’s hands. Patrick mixed some audacious and beautifully timed strokes with some less than text book lofts over a strangely absent third man. At the other end Slater was enjoying the runs and time at the crease the outing was providing.

When Patrick departed, the innings stumbled somewhat as Adel clawed their way back into the game and Slater watched successive partners come and go whilst he continued his relentless quest towards a second Dales Council hundred. Sadly on this occasion it was not to be, as he selflessly tried to up the scoring rate for his team but his innings had provided some great entertainment for them. Majid Ali and Allen added 20 for the ninth wicket before Ali launched further vital runs in the final over to leave Congs on what they felt was a slightly above par score.

Pudsey Congs 194-9 (A.Slater 83 ; J.Patrick 47)

Allen impressed on his team that Adel would be no pushovers but the nature of the Adel fightback probably surprised many. In his first over, Saqib Mehmood was launched back over his head for a six into the tennis courts that did permanent damage to the new ball and Adel continued their pugnacious response, despite losing their captain early. Mehmood was curiously ineffective and surely chose the wrong end from which to bowl but their was no doubting the undoubted talent in the bowling at the other end as Adam Patrick produced not only his best figures in a long time but (in the opinion of the captain) his best bowling performance for almost two years. Impressive and successive Adel batsmen singularly failed to get Patrick off the square and by the (premature) end of his spell caused only by the crazy limitations on 18 year old bowlers, he had made a huge inroad into the Adel line-up and it looked for all the world like a fatal one.

But a team that is not used to winning will always make things much harder for themselves than is necessary and when this is combined with an extremely competent and combative opposition, it was clear this would be no walkover victory. After Gunner had removed Ridgeway and the game had seemed to be heading for an easy Congs win, the floodgates were suddenly opened and Allen was left scratching his head as to his best alternative.

In the end he turned to Mehmood from the ‘Tellytubby Hill’ End (and surely his more effective) and Majid Ali from the Pavillion End. Both performed admirably, Ali providing his usual boomerang away swing, Mehmood working up a head of steam without initially quite managing to hit the timber.

As the equation got tighter for Adel, their shots began to take on a greater level of risk and in doing so they brought the superb fielding of Danny Cockin into play. He made no mistake with a high, fly ball off Ali and although the remainder of the innings seemed to take forever, in reality Mehmood wrapped up the tail inside a further four overs to give Congs a most welcome victory and even better, maximum points. It is to Adel’s great credit that they made a very good Pudsey side fight so hard for their victory and in fact it became clear after the game that they too had their best possible team out, explaining their devastation at the end.

Adel 164 all out (A.Patrick 3-8 ; S.Mehmood 3-55)

Pudsey Congs won by 30 runs

 

Savile Stars v Pudsey Congs

At Sands Lane

Saturday April 30th, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

Due to late withdrawals and significant absentees, Congs were scratching around to raise 11 men for this match, although their bowling was never going to be a problem. Dom Allen had the luxury of playing an overseas player in Saqib Mehmood due to his ineligibility to play Bradford League cricket. He started very well, extracting pace and exuberant bounce from a hopelessly underprepared pitch. After an ugly slog for six, Mehmood picked up the first wicket of the match next ball, yorking and splattering the stumps of his namesake in the Saville line up. Adam Patrick immediately had Nadeen LBW off a full toss and Saville were struggling at 21-2.

The turning point of the afternoon came three balls later when Ali on zero was totally bamboozled by a slower ball that bowled him. The only problem for Patrick and Congs was that the bails failed to drop; made all the more puzzling because they had blown off in the wind on several occasions already. Ali went on to record 31 runs in an innings that relied almost exclusively on luck. He was dropped at least five times by a poor Congs fielding unit and also managed to hit one ball straight into the sun that would have proved the easiest catch of all. In fact Congs fielding was as dreadful as their bowling had been brilliant, all four bowlers used taking at least two wickets and Majid Ali finishing with four. Sam Mason also bowled impressively on his return with no luck at all.

Saville Stars 126 all out (M.Ali 4-44)

Chasing 127 for victory was never going to be easy on a pitch that was playing so dreadfully but when the combination of erratic bowling and a rock hard cherry were added to the melting pot, the task became nigh on impossible. Robin Kettlewell was desperately unfortunate to be given out on the front foot and within minutes, Congs were 7-4 as the utterly ridiculous amount of movement (both up and down as well as lateral) played havoc in the minds of the Congs batsmen.

Mehmood made a brisk 21 as the ball started to soften and Alistair Goodchild was resolute at the other end. Indeed with the score standing at 70-6 and Goodchild still at the crease with Patrick, a miraculous victory looked to be a possibility, albeit a distant one. But when Goodchild became the victim of a further LBW decision, the trumpeter began to purse his lips. Mark Ferguson (on 3rd team debut and already impressive with the gloves) and Alex Goodchild both added useful runs at the end and a score of 90 meant Congs had been in no way disgraced. In fact, it was far more than they could have hoped for an hour earlier.

Congs skipper Allen remonstrated furiously with his opposite number after the game, commenting that the pitch was not fit to host an Under 9s game, let alone one containing some of the fastest bowlers in the league and it is a huge relief that no player was seriously injured this time around. Pudsey will be hoping to go to the other end of the spectrum next week at Adel, where the pitches rarely disappoint.

Pudsey Congs 90 all out (A.Goodchild 22 ; S.Mehmood 21)

Saville Stars won by 36 runs

 

Tong Manor v Pudsey Congs

At Tong Manor CC

Saturday April 23rd, 2011

Match report by Dom Allen

A more balanced side attended the postage stamp next to the Greyhound Pub for the first match between Tong Manor and Pudsey Congs senior Dales Council side. Despite losing the toss, Congs were gifted their wish when opposition captain Dave Rule decided to have a bowl. A faultless opening partnership between Danny Cockin and Alistair Goodchild set Congs well on their way to a defendable total, only for Goodchild to be cut off in his prime by a less than convincing appeal. Cockin went on to make a supreme 57 which was all down to exquisite timing and at one point he and John Patrick looked to be taking the game completely out of Tong’s reach, Patrick himself showing that decent cricketers never lose either their ability or competitive spirit and he too made an excellent 50.

But with the score having looked comfortable at 141-3 and 161-4, Congs slipped to 161-6 and rebuilding was necessary for Pudsey to make a competitive score on such a tiny ground. Fortunately for them, young Tom Huffingley joined the very old Dom Allen and the pair added 73 for the seventh wicket. After a slow start, Huffingley grew in confidence and was virtually picking the area of the ground to hit by the end of his innings. Allen pleaded with the remainder of the order to utilise the remaining overs which they criminally failed to do although nobody could have known at the time just how costly gifting Tong one over would prove.

Pudsey Congs 236 all out (D.Cockin 57;J. Patrick 50;D.Allen 39;T.Huffingley 33)

With the score having moved onto 10, Adam Patrick removed the opener Spargo, who was soon after followed by Slack to the bowling of Nathan Dalton. Dave Rule added a quickfire 22 before being deceived by Abid Bashir’s very first delivery and despite occasional fireworks, in truth Tong never looked like getting particularly close to their target. That being said, Congs bowling and fielding was relatively lethargic and the extras were the second top scorer for Tong.

John Patrick bowled with control and Abid Bashir picked up two wickets and despite having not really played all that well, Congs were huge favourites coming into the final straight. However, the one batsman they had singularly failed to remove until now was opener Darren Holmes who without looking devastating had bided his time and it has to be said ridden his luck somewhat. He was more than a little fortunate to not be given run out whilst dawdling into his crease, possibly thinking the throw was going to the other end and had chipped the ball directly into no-man’s land on several occasions.

But with the equation reading 27 runs from the final (albeit unnecessarily extra) over, Congs will have thought they were as good as home and hosed. Holmes had different ideas however and launched a blistering attack on the Pudsey skipper that will cause mental scars for years to come. He hit the first three balls for six, although the second was desperately unfortunate to land on top of the hedge having touched Adam’s Patrick’s fingers and would have been caught at orthodox mid off on any other ground. The fourth ball provided some respite and one further dot would have concluded the match in Cong’s favour. But a further huge straight six followed by a totally miscued four off the last ball ensured ecstasy for Tong Manor and total and utter devastation for Congs, in particular, Allen who will now have to live with this unwanted record against his name for years to come.

The final over proved harsh on Congs also because it meant that by far and away the better ‘team’ had been beaten by one man. Without really getting into any more than second gear, Congs had bossed 89 of the 90 overs in the day and it seemed desperately unfair that, having recorded a top score of 22, the other 10 members of the Tong side were gifted a victory that in truth they had not earned.

All of the credit must go to Holmes however and he batted magnificently and to keep a clear head with everything going on around him and knowing the result rested solely on his shoulders was a stunning effort.

Tong Manor 238-9 (D.Holmes 136 no ; J.Patrick 3-43)

Tong Manor won by one wicket

 

Pudsey Congs v Apperley Bridge “A”

At Fulneck

Saturday April 16th, 2011

Match report by Robin Kettlewell

The opening day of the season was one to forget as far as the Dales 1st eleven were concerned. The opponents Apperley Bridge look like a team to follow this season in division ‘B’ as they posted an intimidating 229 all out in 43 overs. Congs bowlers stuck to their task well with Adam Patrick claiming 4 for 53. In reply Congs were never in the chase as they stumbled to 6 for 2 before rallying slightly to 53 for 2. From that point onwards Congs crumbled to a sorry 64 all out. A much improved performance is required next week if Congs are to record their first win against Tong Manor.