2012 – Dales Council 1st

Final League Position = 5th, 195 Points

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Thoughts Of The 3rd Team Captain

I would just like to expand on my comments in the huddle on Saturday. My heartfelt thanks go out to all of the players that have served the 3rd team this year in what has been a difficult season, players and weather-wise. I think I’ve maybe been able to pick the team I originally planned no more than twice all season, the side being disproportionately hit by problems in other teams. This is certainly something we need to plan for next season.

For the support I have received from Mick Hirst, our Cricket Chairman, I am truly grateful. He’s done a great job this year in very difficult circumstances. It was also wonderful to see his predecessor Ralph up at Fulneck on a number of occasions offering support and words of wisdom to anyone wise enough to listen.

Special thanks go to Graham for the countless hours spent up at Fulneck preparing our wicket, not to mention the balancing act with his role down at The Brit. Graham is much more than a groundsman however, he has also been our most consistent performer on the field this year and a source of great support and friendship to me personally, thanks GC.

I’m massively grateful to Gary Lewsley, a true close friend who chose to come back and help Congs in their hour of need when he had received many other offers. He’s scored heavily in the last few matches but even when he hasn’t, he has changed the whole dynamic of the team and taken an awful lot of pressure off me, cheers mate.

Neil Humpleby has been brilliant administering my floats for the entire year and if this has been a source of irritation, he certainly has not let it show, I do appreciate all this work Neil, thank you very much.

To my two young scorers, thank you so much. Ross performed the role admirably at the start of the season but as he became embroiled in the 4th team exploits, Joe Stol stepped into his shoes brilliantly, especially considering the lad is only 11 years old.

To all of my team, it has been a pleasure, even in the darker moments when we did not know where our next victory was coming from. Those of you that suffered deserved every bit of the enjoyable finale that reiterated why we play this game in the first place.

As I’ve already stated on Saturday, Macauley Gaunt has been one of the first names down on the team sheet this season and whilst batting opportunities have not come thick and fast he has never complained and been a great, loyal member of the team. He also played a huge part in guiding us to the first of the run of wins with his nerve-jangling partnership with Adam which defeated Adel.

Both of my opening bowlers have been excellent, Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen, the competition between the pair being great for the side as a whole. Zahid has proved to be an excellent opening bat prospect and with serious hard work will become a Bradford League all rounder. Arbaab Hussain has already achieved his debut into the aforementioned league and I could not be prouder, the kid is rammed with raw talent. Although Majid had a poor early-season he has finished with a real flourish helping us to win at least four matches with both bat and ball. Nav Bose, Danny Cockin and Joe Goodchild have all contributed vital runs, although the latter was famously and hilariously asked to wear a straight-jacket on Saturday by Tom Huff after his on-field outbursts were verging on the wrong side of worrying.

Finally, I would like to thank Glen Duffield in Canada who continues to perform his role for the club to perfection. I’m sure I have forgotten loads of people and I’m sorry about that but as stated above, thank you to everyone connected with the 3rd XI that has made it a truly memorable season (eventually).

Dom


Pudsey Congs v Thornbury

At Fulneck

Saturday September 15th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

At the third time of asking, Congs had a full compliment of players available to take the field at one o’clock , although it appeared they had transferred the illness to Thornbury who’s rather ramshackle outfit won the toss and elected to bat with only six players in attendance. It didn’t stop them getting off to an absolute flier and despite the best efforts of Jamie Allen and Mark Ferguson, the scoreboard was fairly rattling round for the first 10 overs. Ferguson achieved the vital breakthrough, although modesty prevents a full description of the slip catch which removed Qamar Zahid for 20. There followed an almost surreal passage of play because all of the next four wickets were brilliantly caught by Graham Curtis, three of them on the boundary. The last of these hilariously hit the middle of his mitts, less than a second after declaring, “I can’t see it!” due to the bright sunshine.

At 96-5 and Thornbury a man short, Congs maybe felt it was job done but Wakas and Halim dug in to put the bowling under further pressure. After they had moved on to 152-5, the captain dispensed with the idea of trying to spin them out (despite a full double-teapot from Garfield Lewsley!), asking the opening bowlers to have one last crack. Ferguson destroyed the remainder of the innings, finishing with six deserved wickets after a superb display. Having been given the unenviable task of bowling at Steve Phillips in his first third team outing, Ferguson grasped his second opportunity with both hands this time around and showed what a danger he is likely to be in the coming seasons.

Thornbury 154 all out (M Ferguson 6-40)

Gary Lewsley opened the batting once again with Zahid Mahmood. Curiously now down to nine men, gaps were evident all over the field, although the opening bowling was of a very high standard. The batters dug in and reaped the rewards, Lewsley deflecting countless deliveries off his legs for four and straight driving to his heart’s content on the lightning fast outfield. Mahmood looked solid at the other end and with the pair almost making it look too easy, something had to give and Mahmood was bamboozled by a flighted Riffat delivery with the score on 67.

Enter Majid Ali Baig batting at No 3 and almost immediately, one could sense that he was in a similar state of mind to that of the Farnley Hill fixture in August. However, he was a spectator for three-quarters of his innings as Lewsley initially brought up his 50 before talk on the sidelines moved on to the prospect of three figures (and whether there were sufficient team runs required). But for some striking shots from Baig, one would not have backed against the big man but Majid launched an astonishing attack in the final death throws of the game that put everything beyond doubt, including a gargantuan six over long on.

The match and the season was finished well inside 30 overs and this resulted in Congs most convincing victory of the season. Baig had batted sumptuously but Lewsley appeared back to his destructive best and if this was the last time we’ve seen him for a while, it was a fitting swansong. It also marked the completion of a remarkable run of victories that goes back to July with Congs displaying clear promotion form in the second half of the season. Finishing in fifth place in a highly competitive division, everyone connected can feel rightly proud of the over-achievement this season. With three players already signed for next year’s campaign, a mood of optimism sits pleasantly over the Dales 1st XI in the off season.

Pudsey Congs 158-1 (G Lewsley 79 no ; M A Baig 44 no)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Thornbury (4pts) by 9 wickets


Meanwood v Pudsey Congs

at Myrtle Tavern

Saturday September 8th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

It can definitely be stated that the Dales 1st XI don’t like these one o’clock starts, although they did have nine present at the start of play which was an improvement on the previous week and with Gary Lewsley winning the toss, they were batting, thus a crisis averted. The lucky ‘tosser’ also opened the batting with his now long term companion Zahid Mahmood and a decent solid start of 35 was spoilt a little when Mahmood played down the wrong line of an Ozols delivery.

Arbaab Hussain returned for one day only to help out his former team and knowing he needed eight runs to make the league averages, posted an impressive 10 before being somewhat unluckily adjudged LBW to leave Congs 54-2. Majid Ali Baig looked in much better form than the previous week and forged a lasting partnership with Lewsley, although it was the latter making all the running. In fact Lewsley was playing, not only his best ever innings on the Myrtle ground but his most assured since he returned in mid July. He deserved every little piece of fortune he received (batting on such a difficult track) and combined some deft cuts with sublime pulls and drives. Although he blamed his captain for his eventual dismissal, he was in fact (sadly) trying to move the score on a little too early but he more than merited the ringing applause which greeted his half century.

Soon and after looking quite impressive, Baig was also back in the hutch after missing a leg side flick in front of all three and once again this season Graham Curtis and Dom Allen came together at a crucial period. Fortunately, Allen was able to survive a number of run out opportunities (gifted to the opposition by Curtis!) and fearful verbal rockets delivered for no obvious reason. In between his tetchiness, Curtis played some blinding strokes that made the mis-timed wafts of Allen look a little pathetic but the pair did manage to notch up a further 50 partnership which sent Congs toward a competitive total. Alex Goodchild and Colin Nelthorpe then added what turned out to be priceless runs in a brilliant ninth wicket partnership.

Pudsey Congs 173-8 (G Lewsley 55 ; G Curtis 35)

A top class opening partnership of 69 defied both starting bowlers, Jamie Allen and Graham Curtis and set Meanwood on course for what looked to be a likely victory but Gary Lewsley acquired the vital breakthrough when he trapped Bowes for 28. Within ten minutes, the game was turned on its head when Majid Ali Baig whistled the ball of the day through the in form Rob Guest, an absolute pearl of a delivery that started to swing in to the batsman before nipping away off the seam. When Lewsley bowled Bligh-Dobson with a wicked arm ball and Hussain stumped Watkins, again off Lewsley, Meanwood were starting to totter.

But the game was transformed completely with the re-introduction of Jamie Allen, admittedly through the insistence of the all-seeing, all-knowing Lewsley. Allen destroyed the middle order of the Meanwood line up, bowling two batsmen with balls that hit the top of off and grabbing two catches off his own bowling, one at the second attempt.

Now 126-9 and needing nearly 50 off 11 overs, a game of cat and mouse ensued with Bob Guthrie (batting way, way too low at No 10) and Olly Ozols desperately trying to grab back a game they had almost thrown away. Although the run rate continued to climb, the pair saw out the superb spells of Allen and Baig, enforcing the return of Curtis and Lewsley. Needing 21 from the final 12 balls, Ozols brought the house down by hitting a screamer of a six off the first Curtis ball that landed well over Parkside Road . 15 off 11 became 15 off 10 when he could scramble nothing off the next ball. Ozols went back to basics and tried to hit the next ball even further but Curtis was not in a mood to give him anything further and the ball smashed into middle stump to end the match.

A fitting ending that kept up the Congs run and whilst it is undeniable they could not claim to be the best team on paper, they were most certainly the best team on the day with every member of a patched up side (designed to maximise the 4ths chances of promotion) playing their part. It was fitting revenge also for the hideous defeat that was suffered to the same team in June. On a slightly sad note it was Meanwood’s last game in the Dales Council as they move on to pastures new and umpire Keith Dibb provided an amusing speech in a short ceremony after the game. We at Congs wish them well in their new venture. Congs have now, almost unthinkably, moved into fifth place in Division B with this victory, confirming a great recovery from the position they found themselves in at the start of the season.

Meanwood 159 all out (J Allen 4-37 ; G Lewsley 3-43 ; M Ali Baig 2-33)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Meanwood (8pts) by 14 runs


Pudsey Congs v Hepworth & Idle “B”

At Fulneck

Saturday September 1st, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Let it be said that the change to 1 o’clock starts in September benefits absolutely nobody. The light never looks like running out and the alteration is about as pointless as fitting wheels to a tomato, only an awful lot more annoying. Despite this however, every member of the team did know that the change had come into play and it was therefore infuriating to take the field with eight men. The farcical feel that entailed was difficult to shift for the rest of the day. Umpire Dean Lambert amusingly commented that it appeared Congs had invented a new, spruced up variation of the game where a new player is introduced every 15 minutes.

It took the Congs attack five or six overs to find their feet after the confused start but when Jamie Allen finally got an away swinger through John McDermott, the confidence and concentration of the side went up a notch. Allen went on to take five wickets in his opening spell that broke the back of the Hepworth batting, including an excellent caught and bowled of the dangerous Paul Medley. Forced out of the attack due to his age and with the excellent Adam Patrick at the other end suffering the same fate, Congs back up bowling of Graham Curtis and Dom Allen was neither as effective or as fortunate, with countless balls dropping into no-man’s-land.

One has to compliment the stubborn nature of Brian Heaton’s batting however, the old war horse digging in and ensuring that his side did have some sort of total to defend. Although Jamie Allen’s second spell was not quite up to the standard of his first, he did remove the final two batsmen in consecutive deliveries to finish with a magnificent seven. But Congs had every right to feel that Heppies had slipped the noose, scoring somewhere between 50 and 70 more than they really should have been allowed to.

Hepworth Idle 133 all out (J Allen 7-40 ; D Allen 2-39)

Gary Lewsley opened the batting with Zahid Mahmood and Lewsley set off like a house on fire, a lovely extra cover drive for two being followed by two effortless sixes that suggested the game would be over in a flash. Somehow though, he managed to get a little nibble on a wide one that was caught by John McDermott. After the needless run out of Nav Bose was followed by an appalling return to the bad old days for Majid Ali Baig, Congs looked to be in a spot of bother at 28-3.

But Matty Humpleby, batting at five, steadied the home nerves considerably with some sublimely timed strokes. It did appear that he may have cashed in his chips early when an attempted drive was chipped just over the infield and a difficult chance spilled by the away team. But a six over long on was followed by a number of other boundaries as Humpleby continued to chip away at the target. He was bowled by Robinson for 30 with the score on 78, meaning that Congs still needed 56 to win.

With Zahid Mahmood playing his most assured and patient knock at the other end, confidence was still high in the Congs camp and it rose further when Graham Curtis took 12 from his first three deliveries. Mahmood was caught and bowled by Brian Heaton for 27 with 38 still needed for victory and the captain joined Curtis in the middle. Other than one appalling call from Allen that would have resulted in his demise had the throw been more accurate, the pair whittled away at the target with few alarms. After bringing the scores level with two sixes, Allen infuriated Curtis by shouldering arms to a number of hittable deliveries. Whilst Allen felt he was demonstrating his altruistic nature in allowing the elder statesman to hit the winning runs, Curtis remonstrated furiously in the middle that his chances of a prized ‘red-inker’ were being reduced by Allen’s tomfoolery. It mattered not, Curtis smashing the second ball of the next over through extra cover to end the game.

So a 20 point win for Congs and rarely can the points haul have been so misleading as it was in the final reckoning of this match. Poor for large chunks of the game, it was almost unthinkable that the home side could take maximum points from the match but both teams showed that cricket is a game of confidence. Having won one game all season, Heppies looked to be so shorn of confidence, they have forgotten how to compete, let alone win (a fate which befell our side two years ago). Congs on the other hand have now put together a pretty impressive unbeaten run that stretches back to the middle of July. With two matches to go, fifth place in the table is still up for grabs.

Pudsey Congs 134-5 (M Humpleby 30 ; Z Mahmood 27 ; D Allen 24 no)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Hepworth Idle (5pts) by 5 wickets


Cookridge v Pudsey Congs

at Smithy Lane Ground

Saturday August 25th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

The promised morning rain did not materialise and Congs were forced to travel to Cookridge with a side weakened by the Bank Holiday period and further disappointing late withdrawals. On an already soaking wicket, Gary Lewsley won the toss and elected to bat, purely due to the number of players in attendance. Matty Humpleby opened the batting with Garfield and the pair got off to a solid start before Humpleby seemed to play down the wrong line and was bowled for 4.

Joe Goodchild carried on where he had left off the previous week and Congs were starting look like taking a firm grip on the game before the persistent drizzle became heavier and umpire Alan Kaunz had no option other than to take the players off. Although the rain did relent after about an hour, the square could not take any more water and at 4pm , Kaunz felt he had no option, other than to abandon the game, in the interests of player safety.

This was not the end of cricket for the afternoon however because both sets of players stuck around to play an unofficial 20 over match to avoid the day being a complete waste of time. The slippery conditions proved that the earlier decision had been entirely correct but it did make for an entertaining, high-scoring match that Congs won by 15 runs. Notably, Joe Goodchild made his highest senior score of 59 and looked sumptuous at the crease, Matty Humpleby also ‘chipping’ in with an extremely well compiled 39 not out.

Pudsey Congs 28-1

Pudsey Congs (4pts) drew with Cookridge (4pts)


Pudsey St Lawrence v Pudsey Congs

at Laisterdyke

Saturday August 18th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

An extremely muggy and oppressive day was made ten times worse by a quick examination of the wicket (if one could call it that). This type of offering is the sort that brings the Dales Council ill repute because no other league would accept cricket being played on a combination of mud and moss. Knowing that it would not get any better, Ian Brear elected to make first use of the death trap and St Lawrence quickly found themselves 0-1, ironically to a full toss from Jamie Allen that trapped Riaz in front of all three.

Ben Hartley and Kevin McEvoy shared a fortuitous but extremely brave stand of 26 with McEvoy freely admitting he could not cope with the combination of Allen and this surface. But when Graham Curtis shot the proverbial pea-roller through Hartley, the floodgates opened. Zahid Mahmood managed to pick up the rather lucky wicket of McEvoy, conceding way too many runs in the process for the second week running before Curtis broke the back of the St Lawrence batting. He made further use of the daisy-cutter before a decent catch from Jacques Allen was followed by a superb take from Alex Goodchild, running backwards and taking the ball, right above his head.

There was time for Jamie Allen to return after his enforced rest and he helped to blow away the St Lawrence tail, although he was helped by two marvellous catches from Macauley Gaunt and Joe Goodchild. A misunderstanding in the opposition ranks led to a run out that curtailed the innings and such a measly total appeared to be insufficient even on this pitch.

Pudsey St Lawrence 62 all out (G Curtis 4-13 ; J Allen 3-4 ; Z Mahmood 2-23)

Congs started their reply with what was, in hindsight, a poor tactic of defending and waiting for a poor delivery. Mahmood lasted only five balls before he was undone by a Hopkins peach and although Nav Bose had the right idea which included a gargantuan six (which broke a nearby bedroom window), he was unlucky to be bowled off his pads for 13. Gary Lewsley and Graham Curtis attempted to play ‘proper cricket’ for the next 10 overs but were able only to add 11 runs in this time before they both perished.

And this really was the story of the day. If you stood there and waited long enough, a ball would come along that was totally unplayable. So with this in mind, Joe Goodchild joined Majid Ali Baig and in just five more overs, the game was at an end. Goodchild lofted the ball for a number of twos, whilst Baig, played some strokes (in particular the cover drive) so glorious, they would not have looked out of place at The Britannia. Quite how he was able to achieve this was anyone’s guess but he had clearly taken a great deal of confidence from his match winning knock of the previous week.

Finishing the match in style, Maj hit four, four, four, dot, four and in doing so, showed how to play on such cabbage patches. One feels for St Lawrence in that they are trying their best to find a suitable venue to bring through their youngsters but unless this monstrosity is improved or re-laid soon, it will be more likely to maim them. However, as we always say, a win is a win and the charge up the table (craved for so long) has finally commenced, this victory putting clear daylight between ourselves and the bottom two.

Pudsey Congs 63-4 (Majid Ali Baig 26 no)

Pudsey Congs (18pts) beat Pudsey St Lawrence (2pts) by 6 wickets


Pudsey Congs v Farnley Hill

At Fulneck

Saturday August 11th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

After a week off, Congs returned to a surprisingly still Fulneck for a re-match with a Farnley Hill team looking to bounce straight back to Division A. Farnley were just about at full strength for the game but Congs had lost both Danny Clifton and Arbaab Hussain to the 2nd XI, although nobody begrudged either party their opportunity, Hussain in particular having waited patiently for several months.

There was a school of thought before the game which suggested Congs’ best chance of winning would be to bowl first but on a warm day with a perfect looking pitch, it took Allen’s loss of the toss to ensure this would happen. During the opening exchanges between bowlers Adam Patrick & Jamie Allen and batsmen Liam Walsh & Chris Sowden, the batsmen clearly came out on top. An unbelievably fast pitch was matched by a lightning outfield, making for some excellent looking cricket and our thanks must go to groundsman Graham Curtis along with Fulneck School.

With the score on 35-0, Allen turned to the spin of Zahid Mahmood and when his first two no ball deliveries sailed over the boundary for six, Allen was beginning to wonder if he had committed a calamitous error. However, right at the end of the disastrous over, Mahmood managed to land a beautifully flighted leg break that took the edge of Sowden’s bat and Allen caught a low slip catch to dismiss the dangerous keeper batsman. One over later and with no addition to the score, a perfect piece of field placement saw Tom Huffinley snaffle a brilliant reaction catch at 2nd slip and Mahmood had a second. Sadly he could not cut out the full tosses and in the end had to be removed from the attack for his own safety.

So, the old Congs spin attack of 2008 came back into operation with Dom Allen bowling in tandem with Gary Lewsley. Lewsley induced the huge-hitting Gary Beaumont into one too many smashes and a magnificent catch was taken by Adam Patrick on the boundary edge. When Allen old-manned Breakwell, Farnley Hill were in big trouble at 115-5 because there remained a large number of overs. Unable to determine whether they should stick or twist, ordinarily attacking batsmen were stuck trying to bat overs and the result was a disaster for them. Lewsley bagged himself a five wicket haul, combining beautifully turning deliveries with the mind games only he has perfected. A final total of 137 was not good on such a perfect pitch but the gifting of 17 overs to Congs, almost criminal. Amazingly, all 10 wickets had fallen to spinners and old stagers were left wondering when this might have last happened.

Farnley Hill 137 all out (G Lewsley 5-22 ; D Allen 3-10 ; Z Mahmood 2-65)

And two of the spinners also opened the batting for Congs in pursuit of what was still a massive target because of the undisputed brilliance of the Farnley bowling. Lewsley and Mahmood put on 20 for the first wicket and for the most part looked comfortable. Lewsley creamed several glorious boundaries before a thin snick through to Sowden resulted in his demise. Nav Bose hit his first ball for four before receiving one that kept a little low next up and when Mahmood stubbornly refused to return to his crease after being sent back by Graham Curtis, the writing was beginning to appear on the wall at 26-3.

This quickly became 37-4 when Curtis mis-timed a pull before Danny Cockin restored home hope with a brisk 23. He had look impervious and played some glorious pull strokes before he was unbelievably unlucky to be caught behind down the leg side. One ball later it appeared that Congs’ last rites were being read when Tom Huffinley capped a forgettable day with a first baller.

As the captain marched to the middle, the scoreboard was reading a pretty ugly 64-6 and the cacophony of racket that he received from the opposition was something to behold. Farnley Hill clearly believed they were in the driving seat at this stage and they let both Majid Ali Baig and Allen know this. Barely a ball passed without a new wave of attempted intimidation being thrown at the two Congs players. On top of this, both Beaumont and Eckard were bowling exceptionally well, Beaumont aiming the majority of his deliveries at the batsmen’s bodies. Added to this, the utterly ludicrous rule 24d (which allows an opposition that has been bowled out in less than 45 overs to utilise their best bowlers even more) meant the barrage was not likely to end soon.

Fortunately, Baig was playing all of the bowling exceptionally well, timing at least a boundary an over. This meant that the target was nudging down all the time, despite the Farnley players helpfully reminding Baig that he would have to score all of the runs himself. It took Allen a full 27 deliveries to get off the mark but when he did, it almost coincided with Beaumont ’s 15th and last over. This still meant that Eckard retuned to replace Beaumont but with the slightly easier pickings at the other end, scoring became a little easier. Farnley’s war chants went from being certain of victory, to suggesting they were still favourites, to finally, ‘let’s keep going till the end lads’.

After Baig’s brilliance, Allen decided to take matters into his own hands in what turned out to be the final over bowled by his opposite number, Watson. Allen took great delight in smashing him for 14 in three balls, believing Watson had earlier had rather too much to say for himself, when one took his paltry contribution to the game into account. Baig and Allen embraced in the middle just after the final ball crossed the line, knowing they had come through interminable pressure to put on an unbroken 74 runs to win the game. Baig had looked back to his stroke making best and it has to be noted that Farnley Hill were extremely magnanimous in defeat, offering generous congratulations to their opponents.

So, the best win of the season brings Congs 20 points and sees them leapfrog their up-road neighbours in the table. To put into context just how nerve jangling this victory was, Graham Curtis and Gary Lewsley performed what must have been the slowest lap in Fulneck history, whilst Jamie Allen spent the whole of the final partnership hidden in the dressing room. But the result will provide swathes of confidence that the narrow win at Adel did not. With those up-roaders to come next weekend, Congs will be hoping to gain revenge for their early season mauling.

Pudsey Congs 138-6 (Majid Ali Baig 46 no ; D Allen 34 no ; D Cockin 23)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Farnley Hill (6pts) by 4 wickets


Adel v Pudsey Congs

At Memorial Ground

Saturday July 28th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Congs welcomed their second re-signing in a week when Danny Clifton returned to the ranks and took the new ball in a Pudsey team asked to bowl first. His slingy, Malinga-like action delivered some welcome pace to an already decent attack, although it was a slower ball that produced his first wicket, totally deceiving the Adel captain Rob Wallace.

A 49 run second wicket partnership was ended in spectacular style by Adam Patrick who took the first 3rd team hat trick since his father performed the same feat in 2008. He trapped Galpin LBW before clean bowling Kieran Roberts, with the follow up an absolute peach that took Austin ’s inside edge and it was snaffled brilliantly by Gary Lewsley in his left hand. Unsurprisingly, the hat trick transformed the innings and altered the mindset of the Adel batsmen who, other than the impressive Edwards, opted for survival.

Patrick finished his excellent spell without adding any further scalps but he was wonderfully aided by Jamie Allen at the other end who bowled an immaculate off stump line with no little movement. After having three catches dropped, he decided to take matters into his own hands, clean bowling three batsmen. Clifton ’s return provided a simple catch for Arbaab Hussain and the final Adel total was a triumph for Congs, coming as it did from 72-1.

Adel 113 all out (J Allen 3-16 ; A Patrick 3-26 & hat trick ; D Clifton 2-23)

Congs pursuit of the low total started brightly and without incident, moving quickly to 29 without loss in the seventh over before Gary Lewsley could very realistically describe himself as being mightily unlucky. At the time it appeared an irrelevance but the game has funny way of turning fortunes quickly. Arbaab Hussain again provided a show with the bat before getting carried away and lifting a leg bound ball straight up in the air.

John Patrick was timing the ball as sweetly as ever before he received the ball of the day from Galpin that pitched on leg and hit off stump. When Danny Clifton was brilliantly caught off a mis-timed drive and Graham Curtis afforded the next piece of ill fortune, the game was back in the melting pot. As the skipper also departed without troubling the scorers, it appeared Congs had thrown the game away.

But Tom Huffinley and Zahid Mahmood hauled Congs back, almost to the brink of the much needed win before Huffinley was bowled. Allen junior lasted one ball and when Mahmood, who had batted so well, had an audacious swing and lost his middle stump, most thought the game was up.

Still needing 12 runs to win and with the last pair of Macauley Gaunt and Adam Patrick in the middle, a win looked a tall order. A superbly driven four from Patrick gave the nervous away side some belief and both batsmen picked away at the target. A testing two brought the scores level and ensured that Congs could not lose. Three balls later, Patrick received a gift that he was never going to waste and he beautifully clipped the ball down to fine leg for four. A terrific win was brought about by Gaunt and the hat trick hero Patrick and yet they never should have been placed in such a position. But at this stage, Congs will accept any win and will take confidence into their next game, albeit in two weeks time, due to Rodley’s withdrawal from the competition.

Pudsey Congs 117-9

Pudsey Congs (17pts) beat Adel (6pts) by 1 wicket


Pudsey Congs v Tong Manor

At Fulneck

Saturday July 21st, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

This game marked the return of Congs legend and former Dales captain Gary Lewsley, signed from Rodley on a short term deal for the remainder of the season. As a natural captain, he afforded Dom Allen the opportunity to stand aside and rest his injured foot, smashed almost to pieces by an illegal missile the previous week. Lewsley lost the toss but would have batted in any case so Dave Rule’s decision to field kept both camps happy. Arbaab Hussain joined Lewsley in the middle and knowing the dangers of Will Raistrick, both ensured Congs got off to a determined and solid start. In fact the pair added 51, seeing Raistrick off at the same time before Hussain caught his pad instead of the ball with his bat. After an hilarious incident where Nav Bose’s bat flew further than the ball, he was also bowled the next ball after the comedy interrupted his concentration.

Lewsley and Graham Curtis added a further 30, both concentrating hard before they were equally unlucky to perish to catches that would be dropped nine times out of ten in this division. The remainder of the order struggled to move the rate along, in the main due to the excellent line and length of the Tong bowling but Danny Cockin and Tom Huffinley broke into the teens to ensure a third batting point for the side.

Pudsey Congs 130 all out (G Lewsley 30 ; A Hussain 28)

Let’s be clear about one thing before the rest of this report. Steve Phillips is way too good to be playing cricket in the Dales Council. Forget about Division A, the Bradford League 2nd Team or any similar standards, this bloke could cut the mustard at the very top of the Aire / Wharfe or Central Yorkshire League and one would not back against him playing Bradford League cricket. Despite being undeniably fortunate to survive his first delivery from Mark Ferguson, he went on to produce his usual masterclass, containing zero slogs, every ball disappearing to the correct part of the ground. Sadly for Ferguson , this invariably involved the adjacent trees and gardens when he pitched short on a few too many occasions. When he was well caught by Danny Cockin off Jamie Allen for 78 he had single-handedly obliterated Congs chances of defending an otherwise competitive total on a tricky pitch.

Earlier Zahid Mahmood had removed the other Congs thorn, Darren Holmes, with a beauty of googly. But with so few for the remaining men to score and Simon Jackson acquitting himself well, the result was inevitable, though not before some late drama. Dave Rule, the Tong skipper, must play a mean game of poker and his suggestion that Tong’s middle order was strong had already raised eyebrows. However, looking at their late match collapse and the number of times this appears to happen to them, one suspects he was being somewhat economical with the actualité. Credit must go to Garfield though for his own mind games which probably acquired a couple of much needed bowling points. The result meant that only Hepworth & Idle are preventing Congs from propping up the table.

Tong Manor 136-5 (G Curtis 2-22 ; J Allen 2-24)

Tong Manor (20pts) beat Pudsey Congs (5pts) by 5 wickets


Apperley Bridge “B” v Pudsey Congs

At Woodhouse Grove

Saturday July 14th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

A dry Saturday with a decent forecast took some getting used to but the wicket for this game bore all the hallmarks of the worst the Dales Council has to offer, totally indistinguishable from the rest of the playing area. Despite this, Dom Allen was never going to put his team through the previous week’s histrionics and opted to bat first on winning the toss. Although John Patrick departed early to a nasty lifting delivery, Zahid Mahmood and Navin Bose put together an excellent 50 partnership, Mahmood getting right into line and Bose looking to attack at every opportunity; not a bad plan on this cabbage patch. Mahmood almost made it to drinks before his patience gave out and he was caught at short cover.

Danny Cockin joined Bose and mainly watched as Nav continued his run spree. He brought up an excellent half century in less than 20 overs and an upset looked to be on the cards because the pitch was so poor, a score of 120 plus would more than likely prove threatening. But his departure for 58 saw an astounding collapse from Congs, with 74-2 becoming 84 all out, almost in the blink of an eye.

Pudsey Congs 84 all out ( N Bose 58)

Jamie Allen immediately got Congs into the hunt with the ball of the day which was initially drifting down leg, only to straighten and take the opening batsman’s off stump. When Majid Ali Baig snaffled a superb one-handed catch in the gully Congs sensed something extraordinary might happen. Haris Mohammed and John Patrick then both took further wickets, Haris bowling an exceptional length at his brother in the opposition ranks. But the elder Mohammed was to have the last laugh, coolly seeing his side home with a great many overs to spare. There was time at the end of the match for Macaulay Gaunt to take an excellent debut wicket which was brilliantly caught by John Patrick just behind square leg. Two balls later however, the game was concluded with Apperley Bridge worthy winners.

Congs now find themselves in a difficult position in the table but some mid season signings should hopefully strengthen the side to ward off the evil spectre of relegation.

Apperley Bridge 88-5 (J Allen 2-9)

Apperley Bridge (18pts) beat Pudsey Congs (3pts) by 5 wickets


Pudsey Congs v Apperley Bridge “B”

At Fulneck

Sunday July 8th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

And still the rain could not stop play commencing at Fulneck for the second day running where conditions were, if anything, better. Dom Allen lost the toss and Apperley Bridge opted to bat on the damp track. Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen bowled with great accuracy once again and after their opening burst of 14 overs, Apperley had reached only 23.

The captain decided to make his league bowling debut against the hard hitting side and the tactic clearly came with a great deal of risk. He picked up his first wicket at the end of an expensive first over but the scene was rather set for his afternoon’s efforts, bowling the ball too slowly and with too little accuracy. Haris Mohammed managed to put the breaks on from the other end and his six over spell was mightily impressive.

But when Haris dropped out of the attack, the combined bowling line up of Allen senior and John Patrick was made to look a little like an edition of Dad’s Army. Both were replaced by their respective sons who once again bowled as tightly as possible against extremely attacking batsmen. The final total represented a long afternoon in the field and it was made a great deal worse by the lack of respect afforded to players, umpires and the game in general by a couple of players.

Apperley Bridge 220-9 (A Patrick 3-46)

Despite a shaky start and losing two early wickets, Congs began to make significant inroads into the target. Arbaab Hussain not only picked up where he had left off the day before, he arguably looked even better. Against hostile, quick bowling the youngster looked solid in defence and drove through point impressively. Graham Curtis looked as solid as a rock at the opposite end in support of the young pretender once again.

Just as elements of frustration began to appear in the fielding side, the light began to decline dramatically and an inevitable downpour followed. The rain relented briefly to offer a glimmer of hope but after further utterly unnecessary antagonism of the officials, a further downpour meant a third consecutive early end to proceedings. This dreadful summer (which shows no sign of abating) is looking increasingly like playing the lead role in the destiny of the promotion and relegation positions.

Pudsey Congs 41-2 (A Hussain 29 no)

Pudsey Congs (8pts) drew with Apperley Bridge (10pts)


Pudsey Congs v Drighlington Whitehall

At Fulneck

Saturday July 7th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Just as we neared the weekend, the rain arrived right on cue with Friday resembling something from a disaster movie. As we have seen in previous weeks however, if it doesn’t rain on the day at Fulneck, the game goes ahead. Dom Allen decided to sit this game out due to an evening engagement and the plethora of squad members available. So in bright sunshine, vice captain John Patrick lost the toss but got exactly what he wanted when Drighlington opted to bowl.

Arbaab Hussain opened the batting with Tom Huffinley, the latter departing in the second over to an ill considered waft across the line. Danny Cockin came in at No 3 and added 36 with Hussain, looking in excellent nick before being caught for 20. Hussain was then joined by Graham Curtis but against all expectation and in a partnership of 75, it was Hussain who played much the dominant role. The 14 year old looked to have the maturity of a player twice his age, nonchalantly flicking balls off his legs or fiercely driving the ball over long off and extra cover. One sensed fairly early, something special might be on the cards and so it proved when Hussain brought up his maiden third team fifty in double quick time.

Curtis decided that enough was enough soon after and attempted to up the tempo feeling that his job was already done. He was caught when a big shot resulted in a skied ball and was replaced by Majid Ali Baig. Unfortunately, Baig looks to be wondering where his next runs are coming from at the moment and his desperate heave at a straight ball was that of a man out of form. John Patrick came in to join Hussain and the pair added 39, JP timing the ball beautifully from ball one. Hussain was finally bowled for a career best 87 and received a rousing reception from all of the onlookers as he reached the boundary. This really was a phenomenal knock from one so young and put many in mind of Ashley Slater’s stunning century two seasons ago. Hussain clearly has a bright future in the game.

With the score on 164-7, an early tea was taken as a heavy shower passed overhead. It is not clear why an attempt was made to restart the match so quickly but in doing so, Drig’s opening bowler Jordon fell to the ground which brought the conditions to the attention of the umpires. The resulting decision to pull up the stumps and afford no chance for the pitch to dry was as perplexing as it was infuriating. Whilst Congs will complain about the situation, the sad fact is that a complete misinterpretation of the rules could cost the club dear come the end of the season.

Pudsey Congs 164-7 (A Hussain 87 ; G Curtis 22 ; J Patrick 22)

Pudsey Congs (8pts) drew with Drighlington (7pts)


Thornbury v Pudsey Congs

At Daleside Road

Saturday June 30th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

On a green pitch under pleasant skies, Dom Allen won the toss and opted to bat but the forecast for later in the day was less than inspiring. So was the Congs line up, with a number of regular players inexplicably letting the side down at the same time. Having borrowed two players from the fourth team, plus scorer Ross Kettlewell, the side still found themselves a man down.

With the side in such a mess it became imperative that the players on the ground scrapped for every run and made the most of every wicket. Imagine then, the captain’s state of mind when Danny Cockin mistimed a pull straight to mid on in the first over. Joe Royce and Majid Ali Baig grafted amiably for 10 or so overs but Baig’s obsession with hoiking across the line got the better of him once again when an ugly heave resulted in the dreaded digit pointing straight at him. After a short first rain break Royce finally lost his patience and departed to leave Congs 23-3.

The captain entered the fray to join Congs’ own version of ‘The Don’, Graham Curtis. Initially looking to bat overs, the pair built a steady partnership before it was interrupted by a comical bout of cramp in Curtis’ legs. Never can a player have gone down so slowly and in such instalments but when his legs locked up, it took Curtis a full 20 seconds to go down (with the Thornbury wicket keeper providing an hilarious running commentary). He went for a lie down in the changing rooms and was replaced by John Patrick. After a glorious boundary Patrick succumbed to a well-flighted piece of spin and Curtis re-emerged, totally re-energised.

After Allen was put out both his and everyone else’s misery, Jamie Allen joined Curtis before a much longer rain delay. When the pair came back to the crease, the game was interestingly poised with Congs on 77-6, knowing that Thornbury would only receive a maximum of 21 overs. They also could not declare because this would gift the remaining bowling points to Thornbury. Both batsmen attacked the home spinners, hitting two sixes each and Allen junior stayed in the middle long enough to see Curtis bring up his third fifty of the season (to go with countless forties). Both batsmen changed the context of the game completely and when Adam Patrick added one further run to take the team to 125, Congs would have been favourites with only 14 overs now available to the home side.

But it was not to be, the final shower proving both torrential and terminal and umpire Jim Ambler confirmed that enough was enough. To take seven points from the game with such a scratch side on show, Congs can be rightfully proud of their over-achievement in this game. Future team selections will have to be made on the basis of reliability first and foremost. The side cannot be going into matches, nervously looking over their shoulders wondering if certain players will show up.

Pudsey Congs 125-7 (G Curtis 62 no ; J Allen 24)

Pudsey Congs (7pts) drew with Thornbury (7pts)


Pudsey Congs v Meanwood

At Fulneck

Saturday June 23rd, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

This was one of very few matches to get underway in the league after two days of constant rain but the amazingly quick-drying nature of Fulneck came to the rescue once again. Sitting on top of an exposed hill works wonders for a cricket pitch and to witness the relative dryness of the wicket after such gargantuan levels of water had fallen in the preceding 48 hours was like an exercise in surrealism.

Dom Allen won the toss and put Meanwood into bat with a heavy heart. The pitch looked identical to the way it had appeared against Cookridge two weeks previously but Allen feared going against protocol on a damp track. After a cautious start from both teams, Chris Doey acquired the first breakthrough when Bowes timed a full toss straight to the grateful hands of Graham Curtis at midwicket. Adam Patrick then picked up a well-earned victim of his own, dismissing Collier with the aid of the excellent glove man, Matthew Humpleby.

A long rain delay meant that both teams took an early tea in order to reduce the number of overs lost. After the break debutant Haris Mohammed completed a healthy looking spell of left arm quick bowling before he was replaced by Keegan Moodley. Moodley wasted no time in ejecting both Guest and Dales Council legend Bob Guthrie. Although conceding the odd boundary, both Moodley and Callum Oliver went on to rip straight through the Meanwood line up, an extremely smart stumping from Humpleby being the highlight. When Doey excellently ran out Ozols off the last ball of the 40th over, Meanwood had been bowled out for what seemed to be a well below par 99. Very sportingly, opposition skipper Guthrie had been planning to declare in any case, in order to ensure the game continued as a full contest, due to the somewhat complicated rain-affected rules.

Meanwood 99 all out (K Moodley 4-24 ; C Oliver 2-25)

Bearing in mind that three frontline second team batsmen were on hand, plus the immovable Graham Curtis, it appeared a target of 100 should be something of a formality. Almost immediately, one sensed that this confidence might be a little misplaced when Oliver having top edged a four, was caught at extra cover. Arbaab Hussain followed him back to the pavilion but Moodley and Ashley Slater steadied the home nerves, especially after a six into the trees from Slater.

But just three balls later Congs were 36-4 after one ball popped up on Slater followed by another keeping low on Moodley. Thus, Curtis was dragged to the crease once again when he had felt it preferable to watch the youngsters knock off the score with a cup tea in his hand. He batted for 10 overs with Matthew Humpleby but in fairness, the glove man never looked comfortable and Bowes snaffled the last of a number of balls that had been hit in the air.

When Curtis, totally out of character, lost patience and was caught behind point, a sense of impending doom seemed to envelop the batting side. Huffinley was bowled off his pads, Doey failed to spot a lurking Bowes at long off and Haris Mohammed was brilliantly caught and bowled by Ozols. Patrick arrived at the crease to a warm reception and after playing a ball off his hip for two runs, he could not resist an audacious swing and lost his middle stump.

In truth, this was about the most disappointing defeat to be involved with in the past four seasons. Against a bowling attack that was by no means toothless but neither was it world beating, a batting side of this calibre must ask some searching questions of themselves. Whether a number of the player’s minds were completely on the job was open to question and it is most likely that the captain will now ban the playing of other sports whilst the game is in progress. Quite how or why a private game of football can be more interesting that watching and supporting your teammates is somewhat bewildering, given the state of the game. Former player Paul Slater appeared to agree at the end of the match, informing the team they should be royally ashamed of their showing. He had few detractors.

Pudsey Congs 74 all out

Meanwood (16pts) beat Pudsey Congs (5pts) by 25 runs


Hepworth and Idle “B” v Pudsey Congs

At Westfield Lane

Saturday June 16th, 2012

Update by Dom Allen

Today’s match was abandoned at 10.45am due to incessant overnight rain. Hepworth / Idle very kindly made an early call to prevent unnecessary travel to their ground.

Pudsey Congs (5pts) match abandoned with Hepworth / Idle (5pts)


Pudsey Congs v Apperley Bridge

PPM Cup Second Round

At Britannia Ground

Sunday June 10th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Whilst Congs were fighting out their match with Cookridge the previous day, the first team managed only one over on the main ground before the game was called off. It was not altogether surprising then that when the covers were removed, the wicket was only just on the right side of playable. Dom Allen was ambushed for the toss by the umpires and the Apperley Bridge captain (after his late arrival from the Under 15’s game) and before he had even made it to the changing rooms, Congs had been asked to bowl first. This was a bold move from the away side, clearly borne of a great deal of confidence in their own ability but somewhat unconventional; batting in such bowler friendly conditions.

Saqib Mehmood acquired an excellent early breakthrough, removing his namesake with the score on 11 but from thereon in it was all Apperley Bridge. Having made 120 in the league the previous day, Zafar Jadoon Khan made it back to back centuries with a blistering 157 that made a mockery of some decent Congs bowlers. When he was well caught by Robin Kettlewell, it was the first genuine chance he had provided all afternoon and he looks far too good a cricketer to be playing in the Dales Council. His counterpart and the much more awkward looking Mohammed Kurshid, also brought up a half century before he was removed by Graham Curtis with the score on 179.

From Congs’ point of view the only worthy points of note were that the bowlers and fielders never gave up, providing an honest account of themselves and the captain’s return with the ball after a break of two seasons due to injury. Whilst not setting the world on fire in this match, his bowling will hopefully provide some much needed variety in the forthcoming league games.

Apperley Bridge278-5 (S Mehmood 2-60)

Apperley’s opening bowlers looked almost as good as their batsmen and Congs were 2-2 in no time. Majid Ali Baig stopped the rot with Arbaab Hussain, the pair adding 44 for the fourth wicket before both succumbed unnecessarily to straight balls. Graham Curtis then provided what has become his standard batting masterclass and he was ably supported by Saqib Mehmood with the pair adding 87 for the seventh wicket.

Sadly when Mehmood departed, the remainder of the order did not take long to follow him but the team was indebted to the pair for preventing any talk of humiliation. Had Congs pulled off a victory here against the best side in Division A, it could possibly have gone down as their greatest ever upset. As it was, they never got close but they did show plenty of spirit and several players sensibly used the occasion to practice for the far more important contests that are on the horizon.

Pudsey Congs 175 all out (G Curtis 47 no ; S Mehmood 40 ; M Ali Baig 22)

Apperley Bridge beat Pudsey Congs by 103 runs


Pudsey Congs v Cookridge

At Fulneck

Saturday June 9th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Just when you thought we surely can’t get any more rain, it once again pelted it down for the majority of the two days leading up to the game. This provided a supplementary reason for the outfield to be left without a trim and of course, saturated the square still further. Although Dom Allen lost the toss, he was quietly delighted because he did not have the nerve to make the decision himself but knew Congs best option would come from setting a target. It was never going to be easy though on a soaking track with the remainder of the playing area containing more grass than your average cow field.

Danny Cockin and Arbaab Hussain began cautiously, looking to bat for an extended period and keeping wickets intact. Their patience held out for a fair old while until Cockin got a leading edge from his attempted favourite stroke. Then Majid Ali Baig looked the most fluent he had been all season, playing some delightful strokes before needlessly playing back and becoming trapped LBW. Joe Goodchild also started promisingly before unnecessarily running himself out and the innings really could have gone either way.

But Congs started to take a firm grip of the match thanks to a brilliant partnership of almost 70 between Graham Curtis and John Patrick. Curtis plays all conditions equally well and any young player could do a lot worse than study his technique and the way he approaches batting. Never swayed, he plays each ball on its merits and crucially gets rid of the majority of loose deliveries he receives.

Due to outfield, the pair must have physically run the majority of their scores and were clearly exhausted at the end having put in so much effort. Patrick in particular ran a number of twos and threes after the departure of Curtis but the effect was to provide a very challenging total to defend. It was estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of 220, taking into account the number of boundary-destined balls that stopped dead in the long grass.

Pudsey Congs 161-8 (G Curtis 53 ; J Patrick 33 ; M Ali Baig 21)

Saqib Mehmood opened the bowling with Adam Patrick and the pair made life difficult for Cookridge from ball one. With boundaries clearly in short supply, the opening batsmen tried their best to force the pace before the dangerous Neil Bonnington was removed with a beautiful slower delivery from Patrick. The Cookridge batsmen were then kept relatively quiet until the end of the opening spells.

Which brought Chris Doey to the fore and he ran into the crease with great spirit and purpose. Almost immediately he removed Gareth Pegg and went through the remainder of the upper order like a dose of salts, the catch near the boundary by Graham Curtis being a tremendous highlight. Zahid Mahmood bamboozled the majority of the Cookridge batsmen but even though he did take two wickets, one felt he deserved several more, with vital chances being spilled (or even left!!).

With Cookridge looking like they might fancy a comeback and both Doey and Mahmood starting to look very tired, the opening pair arrived back on the scene and it did not take Patrick and Mehmood long to clean up the tail. A comprehensive win then for Congs in very difficult conditions and they do not look a bad outfit on this evidence. Keeping wickets in hand until the end of the innings is always key and any team managing this will win more matches than they lose. Congs now need to kick on from this victory and begin their ascent of the table.

Cookridge 110 all out (C Doey 4-32 ; A Patrick 3-19 ; Z Mahmood 2-40)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Cookridge (6pts) by 51 runs


Pudsey Congs v Pudsey St Lawrence

At Fulneck

Saturday June 2nd, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Both teams arrived early at Fulneck only to encounter a school match overrunning to such an extent, the start time had to be put back almost half an hour. Graham Curtis charged around preparing the wicket as best he could but the circumstances were a less than ideal start to proceedings. Congs welcomed Josh Purser to the team due to the wealth of bowling available to second team captain Callum Oliver. Purser took the new ball with Adam Patrick but after a promising opening five overs for the pair, the floodgates started to open and they were never really closed for the remainder of the innings.

It would be easy to say that the bowling attack had a collective bad day and this is undoubtedly true but on reflection, Congs were probably a little unlucky to come up against two extremely idiosyncratic batsmen scoring so heavily. Whilst young Will Sharp clearly plays with a straight bat, he does tend to hit the ball in the air almost every ball and into positions that could not be described as orthodox. At the other end, Shahid Bhatti plundered the Congs attack, almost exclusively over the cow corner boundary and his stunning eye for the ball more than makes up for his complete lack of technique. Ball after perfectly good ball disappeared into the Fulneck trees and Congs’ frustration grew and grew but there are no rewards in cricket for aesthetics and Bhatti’s 69 was every bit as damaging as an imperious innings played in the ‘v’.

Saqib Mehmood was once again the pick of the Congs bowlers and but for a couple of ill-judged short deliveries, would have had an even better day on a belter of a batting surface, his 4-40 barely doing him justice. For the rest, it was a long afternoon and whilst it is easy to be critical, it is nevertheless very difficult to find a solution to the type of batting by numbers on display here. The final total was possibly 60 runs greater than a competitive score and Congs were all but out of the game at tea.

Pudsey St Lawrence 268-9 ( S Mehmood 4-40 ; A Patrick 2-78)

Saqib Mehmood opened the batting due to work commitments but when he went in the first over without troubling the scorers, a bad day looked as if it might turn nasty. But ably assisted, first by Nav Bose, and later by Graham Curtis, Danny Cockin restored plenty of pride with some wonderful strokeplay. None of the St Lawrence bowlers appeared to have an answer to Cockin but just as he neared 50, a pull over square leg was parried by Ben Hartley and caught at the second attempt.

At 80-5 and the innings going nowhere in particular, the skipper entered the fray to join the solid Curtis. With 18 overs remaining, both vowed to at least attempt to get the team close to maximum batting points. Curtis was batting superbly yet again when he fell to what was the only misbehaving ball all day and Allen was joined by Josh Purser. They managed to put on 49 before Purser sadly played on to the wiles of Ian Brear.

Allen did manage to launch several deliveries down toward the garage but was fuming with himself when he was well caught, again by Hartley, with still 14 needed for the fifth point. He needn’t have worried. Jamie Allen and Adam Patrick plundered 24 off the last two overs to comfortably see Congs to their own private target which may well prove crucial at the end of the season.

It is always disappointing to lose and even more so by a large margin when you have taken something of a hiding in the field and St Lawrence thoroughly deserved their victory. But the team had not rolled over and capitulated to an embarrassing defeat and in the end, they restored a large amount of self belief. Several neutral observers commented after the game that few Division A sides have as good a bowling attack as Congs and they cannot be judged against such unconventional batting as was witnessed today. They will no doubt wish to get straight back in the saddle and with a double weekend imminent, the opportunity will arrive soon enough.

Pudsey Congs 185-8 (D Allen 50 ; G Curtis 44 ; D Cockin 42)

Pudsey St Lawrence (19pts) beat Pudsey Congs (9pts) by 83 runs


Drighlington Whitehall v Pudsey Congs

At Station Road

Sunday May 27th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

This match was originally scheduled to be the first game of the season but was postponed due to the April deluge. And what a ringing endorsement it was for the league’s decision to rearrange the fixtures, as bright blue sky adorned, what has to be said is now a pretty impressive looking Drighlington ground. An awful lot of work has clearly been put in behind the scenes and the place is almost back to its Bradford League best of yesteryear.

Dom Allen won his second toss of the weekend and the look on Mick Wood’s face was a picture as he was told he must field. Hoping for an afternoon run-fest, Allen trusted his words of the previous evening would be adhered to and a solid innings constructed. But would you believe it? Congs slipped from 34-1 to 66-5 and it was infuriating to see the same old carefree attempts to hit every other ball to the boundary in operation.

John Patrick helped to steady the ship before succumbing to a nip-backer from wily old Simon Mace but of course who should have been leant on his bat watching the impending insanity but Graham Curtis. Once again, Curtis was struggling to comprehend how it could be that the same thing could happen twice in as many days. Fearing the brunt of a Curtis verbal volley, the captain felt he had no option other than to guard his wicket with his life! The pair managed to add a further 33 before Curtis was unfortunate to depart just before what would have been a thoroughly deserved 50.

Allen was joined by his elder son and the pair were still concerned with seeing through the remaining overs but after providing him with free licence in the final over, Jamie blasted 19 from a disgruntled Alan Mitchell, including a six onto the roof of the changing rooms. The final total was not great but it was lesson as to what can be achieved with elements of determination and patience.

Pudsey Congs 173-8 (G Curtis 47 ; J Allen 25 no ; D Allen 22 no ; I Zaman 22)

After a fabulous Drighlington tea, the more established opening bowling partnership of recent weeks resumed their role and once again, did not let anybody down. Although no wickets had fallen, Drig became increasingly bogged down, scoring at just two runs per over. When introduced into the attack, Saqib Mehmood got straight in on the act with a wicket in his first over after Shackleton appeared to almost tremble with fear at the sight of the fast bowler.

A period of cat and mouse followed with Congs and then Drig appearing to gain the upper hand as both wickets and runs seemed hard to come by. A slightly under the weather John Patrick coupled with a tiring Saqib meant that Drighlington still had more than a sniff with 10 overs remaining.

But when the opening bowlers returned it was a different story almost immediately, Jamie Allen removing Gilpin and Dunne before Adam Patrick came back brilliantly from being hit for six to take three wickets in his last eight balls. Other bowlers might have crumbled but he never moved his radar from the stumps and deserved his late rewards. It was to all of the bowlers’ credit also that they had increased the required rate so high, that Allen was afforded the luxury of placing nearly every fielder on the boundary.

This was a victory that showed what can be achieved with patience, grit, determination and a lot of fight. The game could very easily have slipped away from Congs at several points but they fought tooth and nail for the points they desperately needed. In truth, this was also a game that should have been won shortly after the coin toss, and would have been, but for the lackadaisical approach of the upper order (Curtis excluded). With a number of players likely to be surplus to the second team’s requirements, it is in everyone’s interests that each player performs to their best.

Drighlington 150 all out (A Patrick 4-28 ; J Allen 2-33 ; S Mehmood 2-34)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Drighlington (8pts) by 23 runs


Farnley Hill v Pudsey Congs

At Tong Village

Saturday May 26th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

After a week of almost unbroken sunshine, the conditions at Tong could not have been more different than during Congs previous visit just three weeks ago. If only the result could have been as different but Dom Allen’s winning of the toss was just about the only positive element to come out of a truly terrible day.

Early wickets caused by extremely variable (and frankly unacceptable) bounce meant that at no stage could Congs gain a foothold in the match. On paper the batting order looked to be immensely strong but on the pitch it proved to be paper thin. Graham Curtis demonstrated that with a lot of concentration and no little application, it was possible to retain one’s wicket and when John Patrick mimicked the wise old man of the third team, a recovery looked possible.

But a feather through to the keeper put paid to such fanciful thoughts and the rest of Congs batting collapsed like the proverbial pack of cards. It was deeply disappointing to witness such a lack of patience and unfair on Curtis and Patrick after they had put in so much effort.

Pudsey Congs 111 all out (G Curtis 36 ; J Patrick 21)

Allen departed from his usual opening bowling partnership, rolling the dice in favour of Saqib Mehmood to partner Adam Patrick. Whether the captain did not sufficiently rouse his troops, whether the team believed 111 was nowhere near enough or whether the bowlers simply did not deliver the standards to which we have become accustomed is up for debate. What is not, is that the game was over as a contest within the blink of an eye and Farnley Hill knocked off the total in less than 20 overs.

We will never know whether Farnley Hill did have the suspected soft underbelly after their excellent top four because only three of them were required to perform the job. Whilst in no way criticising the officials (or making excuses) five LBWs in one innings does seem just a wee bit extreme, especially when compared to the figure of zero after tea. But at the end of the game Allen asked his side to put the bad day behind them and focus on putting things right the next day at Drighlington.

Farnley Hill 112-1

Farnley Hill (20pts) beat Pudsey Congs (2pts) by 9 wickets


Rodley “B” v Pudsey Congs

At Canal Bank

Saturday May 19th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

This was the first fixture between the teams since the tragic passing of Rodley stalwart, and all round great bloke, Mark Dufton and Congs wore black armbands as a mark of respect for the great man. The day had got off to an awful start with heavy overnight rain followed by the captain inexplicably not packing his boots. In order to avoid playing in the famous brown shoes, John Patrick tossed up whilst a red-faced Allen returned home for his remaining gear. Patrick showed no better skills at the coin toss however and Rodley unsurprisingly opted to bowl first on a wet but still very firm wicket.

Congs slipped very quickly to 16-3 with Patrick, Majid Ali Baig and Naveen Bose (promoted to replace Matty Humpleby on second team duties), all back in the hutch. Both the game and pitch conditions could not have been trickier when debutant Paul Goodwin joined Graham Curtis in the middle but both very quickly acquired an assured aura of calmness that complimented their defensive solidity. Waiting patiently for any loose offerings and putting the majority of them away, the pair took Congs from a perilous position to one of strength, adding 77 runs. Despite giving a couple of very difficult chances, Goodwin looked to be just what Congs need in the middle order.

After Goodwin departed for an excellent 43, Curtis was joined by his captain and the two put on a further 51 runs, Curtis looking classier almost with every shot. Toward the end of his knock, just about every ball hit the middle of his new bat (acquired from our very own James Middlebrook) and not for the first time, he looked too good for the standard. It was particularly pleasing to see Congs fight and scrap their way out of a horrible position and post a score they knew would take some beating.

Pudsey Congs 162-7 (G Curtis 72 not out ; P Goodwin 43)

The same opening bowling combination of Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen kicked off the Rodley innings and, if anything, bowled better than the previous week. Consistently bowling off stump channels, they allowed the skipper to place the majority of his fielders on the off side and strangle the life out of the Rodley batsmen. Patrick picked up two excellent scalps during this period and it was clear the batting side were hanging on for grim life, waiting till the opening spells ended.

What followed must have been galling for the home side because, having got through such a tricky period, Saqib Mehmood started to mark out his run up. It took about three balls for Dales Council legend Dave Fenton to recognise that nothing easy was coming any time soon and he charged down the pitch, edging through to Bose who took a superb catch. Mehmood went on to rip the heart out of the Rodley innings, beating a number of quality batsmen for sheer pace. He picked up what will surely be the first of many five wicket hauls and even the runs column was slightly misleading because three pre-determined slogs all went for four.

Wily old fox John Patrick completed the show at the other end, picking up three wickets, two of which were pure flight and guile, the other magnificently caught by Macaulay Gaunt. Opposition captain Dave Sewards was typically generous in his praise of Congs after the game, describing the bowling attack as ‘the best in the division’. Certainly, if they are able to reproduce this level of performance, consistently over the remainder of the season, he may well be proved correct and Congs can hope to rise up the table.

Rodley 61 all out ( S Mehmood 5-24 ; J Patrick 3-12 ; A Patrick 2-8)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Rodley (3pts) by 101 runs


Pudsey Congs v Adel

At Fulneck

Saturday May 12th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Groundsman Graham Curtis had worked nothing short of a miracle to get the pitch playable on time after yet more rain fell on Thursday and Friday. The wicket looked an absolute picture at the start of play but fearing there was much juice below the surface, Dom Allen opted to insert Adel. His bold decision looked to have paid off as the combative junior opening pair of Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen made mincemeat of the Adel upper order and reduced them to 20-5. The two look an excellent opening partnership despite coming about as a result of the crazy over limitations placed on young bowlers.

But a magnificently patient partnership between Steve Grey and Alex Jones gave Adel a sniff as they dug in on a pitch that sadly played nowhere near as well as it looked. During this period, Saqib Mehmood was unbelievably miserly, conceding just eight runs from his 12 overs, a superb spell of line and length bowling. Although, it was possibly a little disappointing not bowl out Adel, Congs must have been delighted to prevent them getting into triple figures (although the ridiculously long outfield probably saved them 40 runs). Along with the excellent bowling, the fielding was of a very high standard but two players worthy of special praise were Dale Spink and Macaulay Gaunt (on debut).

Adel 98-8 (A.Patrick 3-25 ; S.Mehmood 2-8 ; J.Allen 2-22)

Patience was also the key for the Congs reply and they started well with Curtis and Arbaab Hussain steadfastly ticking off the first 20 runs. Unfortunately, Curtis became the first of three caught & bowled victims as the ball started to seriously stick in the wicket. Within minutes they were 20-3 and what might have appeared a comfortable chase, now proved to be anything but.

Briefly, Matty Humpleby and Dom Allen rekindled Congs’ hopes but run scoring was incredibly difficult on the slow pitch. When both departed Congs’ remaining hopes were, in effect pinned on Saqib but after a wonderful six over long on, he too fell victim to the conditions. Zahid Mahmood, Jamie Allen and Macaulay Gaunt never gave up but the writing was on the wall and Congs slipped to a 19 run defeat.

This margin of victory was probably a little wider than it sounded because every run was worth almost double in this match due to the conditions. It was particularly disappointing to lose to, what has to be said, was not the strongest Adel team and with no easy fixtures in Division B, Pudsey will need to find their feet pretty quickly in order to get the show on the road.

Pudsey Congs 79 all out

Adel (16pts) beat Pudsey Congs (5pts) by 19 runs


Tong Manor v Pudsey Congs

At Tong Village

Saturday May 5th, 2012

Match report by Dom Allen

Originally scheduled to the be third fixture of the season, Congs’ visit to the Greyhound Pub became the campaign opener due to the deluge that has been inflicted on the country over the past few weeks. It was immediately evident that Tong’s pitch had not coped too well with the sheer volume of water that has fallen and a less hospitable looking wicket was difficult to imagine. Dom Allen lost the toss, although even if he had won it, he would still not have been able to effect his most preferred option – that of not batting at all on this hideous looking, saturated, cabbage patch of a pitch.

After a bright start of 15 runs in two overs, the inevitable wickets started to tumble and Congs very quickly found themselves 26-7. But for the brilliant Saqib Mehmood, supported by both junior Allens and Zahid Mahmood, Congs would have slipped to an embarrassing defeat but Saqib’s shot selection was exemplary in such difficult circumstances and he hit three wonderful sixes in his fantastic knock of 47.

Pudsey Congs 92 all out (S.Mehmood 47)

Despite the bitter cold, Allen was quietly confident at the break, imagining that Tong might struggle to score every bit as much as his own team. Whilst great credit must go to Tong Manor (and Steve Phillips in particular) for demonstrating it is possible to score in such conditions, the Congs bowlers gave themselves little chance of a fight back. Bowling far too full in the main and not giving the ball the chance to behave erratically off the pitch, the batsmen gained the upper hand very quickly.

Zahid Mahmood did stem the tide and picked up a sharp caught & bowled to go along with a run out that should have been caught at slip moments earlier. But the writing was most certainly already on the wall and Tong reached their target just two wickets down.

A number of players will return to strengthen the team next week and Congs will be desperately hoping they bring with them some drier, warmer weather because playing cricket in these conditions is no fun whatsoever.

Tong Manor 93-2

Tong Manor (19pts) beat Pudsey Congs (2pts) by eight wickets