2013 – Dales Council 1st

Final League Position = 1st, 364 Points

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3rd XI, a season in review (and oh what a season it was…)

After such a memorable season, a few of the participants have requested that I put together a review of the season.

Back in April, had anyone suggested that the 3rd XI would lift two pieces of silverware this season, I reckon most would have struggled to keep a straight face. Having found out only shortly before the first game that Gary Eckard would not in fact be moving over from Farnley Hill, it became clear soon after that I was going to have the devil’s own job convincing my right hand man, Graham Curtis to play at all. The latter was a real hammer blow as GC had topped the batting averages in the previous two seasons and helped me out on the field by keeping the fielders honest!

But every cloud has a silver lining and we learnt (again quite late on) that Saqib Mehmood would be coming back to play. Added to Adam Patrick, Jamie Allen and new signing Steve Bedford, I’d already decided that we would have one of the strongest bowling line ups in Division A. But the batting seemed to be a problem and but for new signing Mohammed Zulfikar, with no GC, it seemed difficult imagine where sufficient runs would emanate from. Zulfi did bring a pair of confident young kids along to nets however and the paucity of existing talent meant that both were thrown in immediately.

To grab a win against Leeds Sikh first up was an unexpected delight! Congs had not beaten Sikh for an awful lot of years and whilst they had clearly weakened with the loss of some superb players, they were still as competitive as ever and we deserved the huge win in the long grass! Qasim got a few in that match but nearly made his first fifty in the second game against Crompark. He was superb that day along with Zulfi in setting up a winning position before we nearly blew it with a middle order collapse. Saqib blew the Crompark batting away to make it two out of two.

Mohammed Zulfikar outlined the reasons we signed him in match three with an imperious century, watched by both Ralph and the President Alan Glover. He hit the ball a long way that day and gave Adel no chance. The wicket was an absolute dream as well, with pace and bounce aplenty and Saqib Mehmood destroyed a competitive Adel batting line up. Unbeknown to the whole team however, an evil beamer had damaged Zulfi’s hand that day and he played on for the rest of the season with a hairline fracture, suffering great pain in the process. What a hero.

Unfortunately, in week four it was my turn when I suffered the infamous blow to the nose caused by Zahid Mahmood! In all seriousness, it was an accident but a nasty one and it meant I spent the majority of the game in Jimmy’s. But I returned to find this wonderful set of blokes on the verge of victory after Bedders and Saqib had bowled out the team that had been teeing off against all and sundry. Qasim, Bedders, Umar, Jacques and finally Paddy got us over the line by three wickets against a very good side and apart from Bedders, what a joy to see that all the others were below the age of 20.

The following week was huge, not that we knew it at the time but a narrow win over Halifax Direct in wet conditions turned out to be vital. Paddy and Jamie scored the final nine runs under intolerable pressure to win us the game. The following week, Paddy blew away Farnley Hill before Zulfi applied the finishing touches with the bat and we went 6-0.

However, it was back down to earth with a bump when we played Savile Stars the next week and we suffered out first defeat. Poignantly as it turned out, Tahir Raza mysteriously transferred the day before from Halifax Direct to Savile and made an unbeaten 38 in a very low scoring match. He had been bowled early doors but the bails failed to drop and therefore it was us that had to pick ourselves up. How we would react to defeat had been on my mind all week but I needn’t have worried about such a great set.

Jamie and Saqib destroyed Baildon for 126 before we slipped to 44-3. But in came a personal little hero of mine, known to many as ‘Ques’ who guided Zulfi to a magnificent 57 not out before contriving his own fifty with the scores tied and needing to hit a boundary. I have rarely been prouder. The following day we made the trip to Baildon to play them again in the cup. Our bowlers blew them away once again with Bedders being the pick. On a bright, warm, sunny day he somehow made the ball hoop around alarmingly and gave Baildon no chance. Ahtsham then played a superb knock from opener before Qasim finished off the victory very impressively by seven wickets.

A highly impressive team performance and particularly from the youngsters Ahtsham, Ferg, Jamie and Jacques saw us past Hepworth (with the help of Zulfi of course) and with many other games going in our favour that day, the lead in the league had increased to 23 points and we were starting to pull away from clubs. This was confirmed the following week with a thrashing of second placed Cookridge, thanks mainly to Qasim’s brilliant 50 on horrifically bouncy wicket although Jacques paid the price with a broken thumb. Saqib then took another six wickets to blow Cookridge away.

An unpleasant atmosphere greeted the lads at Shipley and from 4-2 and 16-3 we recovered to 75-5 thanks to Majid and Mark Ferguson before Steve Bedford played his best innings of the season to get us to 160. If Shipley spent more time playing cricket and less trying to wind up the opposition, they would be a force to be reckoned with. Sadly, they seem to much prefer the latter which made their predicament at 50-7 all the more sweet.

Disappointment followed the next day though when we entertained Bradford Moor. The events stopped Qasim from acquiring the deserved limelight for a quite brilliant innings of 78. He looked like a future first teamer that day there is no doubt. But in the end, a team that were languishing in the bottom half of Division B and had lost their previous four matches managed to beat the top Dales team with remarkable ease and end our ambitions of the double.

So, on a boiling hot day at Bedquilts, our guys had to show some mettle and come back from the disappointment. The incentive of a first double over Leeds Sikh was sufficient for the lads to squeak home by two wickets. Bedders had been brilliant with bat and ball in stifling heat and his partnership with Zulfi was one of exceptional courage. Paddy finished the job off brilliantly when we looked like wobbling at the death.

When we played Crompark for a second time, I think one or two people felt it was going to be easy based on Crompark’s position in the table. But they had strengthened since we had last met and we collapsed to 85-7 in searing heat. A seriously boring but necessary rearguard from yours truly, combined with vital knocks from Paddy and Jamie got us up to 143 and Paddy’s heroic last gasp five wickets with the ball to go with Jamie’s earlier four meant that we squeaked home by just 12 runs and Paddy set off on a lap of Fulneck! The lead was now a huge 41 points.

Incidentally, the above match also combined the famous quotes that Paddy tells of so well when umpires Andrew McLaughlin and Paul Whiteley were completing their match sheets at the end of the game thus:

ANDREW: Any comments, a very enjoyable game, would you agree?

PAUL: Yes

ANDREW: Excellent!

You had to be there!!

A massively competitive game followed against Adel who were also determined to beat the league leaders. And it turned a bit funny as well, particularly when Jamie ran out their star batsman, backing up (under my instructions) having already given him a warning. This led to a fruity chase and plenty of verbals and whilst we were never out of the hunt for 179, we kept losing wickets at vital times. The batting was a real team effort though with four batsmen making over 20 although bizarrely nobody scored more than 26. It was a game that more than any other, cemented our championship credentials because this team would not lie down and just when it looked like we were beaten, someone else would stand up and get us over the line. This meant the lead was still a massive 39 points.

But the confidence ebbed out of us the following week when Farhan Saeed smashed us for an astonishing 202 at Fulneck. Way too good for Dales Council he blitzed the ball to all parts, although he let himself and the game down at the very end of his innings and again during our reply when he just walked off the field and went home. My response to this in hindsight was an error but was borne out of frustration at the lack of respect for the game being shown, really by just one or two individuals and my declaration prevented Bedders and Paddy making deserved 50s. The defeat reduced the lead to a still massive 28 points.

We then travelled to Karmand Centre to play an unrecognisable Halifax Direct team that hopelessly outplayed us. I don’t want to go into specifics but the players that beat us that day were excellent cricketers and it did not look like they were playing anywhere near the best of their ability. HD’s win meant that our huge lead had been frittered away to just 11.

So, shorn of confidence we arrived back at Fulneck and there was a minor issue in the camp. Paddy had not been involved at HD because he’d been exposed to the bright lights of the second team and having won them the game (almost single-handedly) he was irritated that he had come back to the 3rds. But the decision made by the committee turned out to be pure genius. The 2nds that day were finished at 2.30pm and Paddy would have done nothing other than field. Instead, he dug us out of a huge heap of trouble and walloped 79 brilliant runs. In a massive partnership with Qas, he blasted us past 200 against Farnley Hill. Saqib then took the infamous hat trick and four wickets in five balls to kill the game off and return us to winning ways.

The following weekend was a real contrast. On the Saturday we were robbed of 20 points and worse still, had the lead in the league cut to just two points when HD managed to complete their game. But the following day, we lifted our first piece of silverware as we first beat our very own 4th team before a quite brilliant win was secured over Leeds Sikh. It was very much down to Qasim as well as he made 45 not out in the first game and 32 in the second. On such a woeful surface, this was a tremendous achievement. Every single one of the bowlers then chipped in to deliver a stunning third win over Leeds Sikh and the trophy itself. What a night we all enjoyed!

So there were four games remaining and a tiny lead in the league. But it seemed God was on our side after all as we attended Baildon (with only 8 men initially as it happened!) and reduced them to 14-4. Adam Patrick bowled them out almost on his own for 96 and despite early hiccups, Nav Bose and Bedders saw us home for the full 20. With HD and New Wortley falling victim to the weather, our lead was increased back to a healthy 17 points.

In the last game at Fulneck, we managed to celebrate with the highest score of the season, 227-5 thanks to a great opening knock from Liam Stanhope of 41, a magnificent 45 that should have been many more from Nav and a stupendous 72 not out from Graham ‘Aubrey’ Curtis who had not picked up a bat since early July, the bloke defies belief. Qas and Paddy smashed the ball to all parts at the end also. Heppies’ response was a little unusual and we were made to struggle for just 19 of the 20 points. The lead was now 16.

The game at Cookridge seemed like it would be a difficult one but with us having so much to play for and Cookridge seemingly having so little, it seemed unthinkable that we would struggle. This seemed to be borne out when we bowled them out for 104, Saqib taking six and Linnerz grabbing four behind the sticks. But superb bowling on a difficult track set Congs nerves on edge and we unthinkably slipped to 27-6. What a mess but with my own Brigadier Block style to compliment Qasim’s sumptuous ability we moved the score up to 70. Jacques helped Qas get it to 85 and the team suffered so much during the final partnership before seeing Saqib and Qasim emerge triumphant. What an epic victory this was and words cannot do justice to explain what Qasim did for the team that day, the kid deserves a medal.

So, we came to the Brit needing seven points to lift the trophy, a few more than we’d been hoping for but it concentrated minds on a victory. Shipley behaved in much the same way as they had at Salts and this served to fire us up even more. A great opening partnership between Zulfi and Nav was backed up by Linnerz before GC blasted 50 off 48 balls. We scraped over the 175 mark to mean that we needed two points in the field.

A poor start to the bowling kept everyone on edge but finally Paddy and Saqib (fittingly) saw us over the line and the relief was unreal. After a loss of concentration, we went on to secure all 20 points with Bedders taking four wickets and Saqib taking one of the best catches you will ever see.

A season that started with much promise but in no way looked like we would make an assault on the title, ended with 11 single-minded blokes determined to complete a massive job and acquire what they had rightfully earned. It is a massive achievement for the individuals and the club to win this league (and T20 double) and whilst there may well have been better players in the league, we were without a shadow of a doubt the best ‘team’, showing the greater resolve and will to win and I am immensely proud and humbled to have led them.

                                                                                                                            Dom Allen, Sept 30th, 2013


Pudsey Congs v Shipley Providence

at the Britannia Ground

Saturday September 14th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Sandwiched between two dreadful weather days, The Britannia looked a picture on Saturday for the final game of the season. Nerves were rife before the game with Congs knowing they required only seven points to lift the title. Dom Allen was delighted to win the toss and elected to make first use of the Yorkshire pitch. Kept dry for two days by the covers, it looked like a ‘drop in’ compared to the damp surrounding strips.

Mohammed Zulfikar opened the batting once again, this time with Navin Bose. Wary of the dreadful batting collapse suffered in the previous game, the pair got Congs off to a cautious beginning, reaching 22-0 off the first 10 overs. Bose then decided to bat with a little more freedom, playing some delightful cuts behind point and at one stage launching a magnificent maximum over long on. Just after the total passed 50, he was unlucky to chop a ball onto his stumps but he’d already made a telling contribution.

James Lindley-Dawe was a great luxury to send in at No 3 and he intelligently took stock of the situation to begin with as Shipley were bowling exceptionally well. Tom Hawksworth’s leg spin in particular was proving to be hard to get away until ‘Linnerz’ blasted an incredibly flat six over long off. Looking like he was just getting going, ‘Linnerz’ was unlucky to depart to a brilliant one handed catch behind point to leave Congs 95-2 in the 31st over.

So on the face of it, Graham Curtis did not appear to be the next cab off the rank, with so many wickets in hand and a pinch hitter seemingly required. But Curtis made a mockery of such thoughts (and the tight bowling) to play a quite brilliant, league-securing innings. Moving the ball around for singles initially whilst he surveyed the scene, Curtis picked up the pace during the last seven overs of the Congs innings, stroking two sixes that were effortlessly timed, one of which hit the sight screen. His knock was a pleasure to witness and considering how rarely Curtis picks up a bat, it was all the more remarkable.

Zulfikar had been at the crease since the start and for the first time, probably slightly overdid the caution but with both his captain’s instructions and the nightmarish memories of the previous week in his mind, nobody could blame him. He made 45 and ensured that nobody was going to blow away the Congs top order two weeks running, finally perishing as he tried to up the rate near the end.

Thus the unusual 5th wicket pairing of Saqib Mehmood and Adam Patrick sent in to muscle Congs over the final batting point landmark meant that poor Qasim Khan didn’t bat, having been the hero of the previous week. To this impressive kid’s eternal credit, he was totally unflustered by the lack of opportunity to showcase his immense talent and in fairness, there was probably insufficient pressure in the game situation for our ‘Qas’!

Pudsey Congs 175-4 (G Curtis 50 ; M Zulfikar 45 ; N Bose 36 ; J Lindley-Dawe 24)

With five points gained from the first half of the game, Congs knew that they required just four Shipley wickets to clinch the title. But Shipley had turned up with their own intentions of securing fourth place in the table and a nervy start from the bowlers led to the scoreboard moving to 33-0. Allen brought on his main strike bowler Saqib Mehmood who instantly engendered fear into the batsmen, with Asam Ali resorting to a host of wild swings at Mehmood, all of which he missed by miles. Then off the fourth ball of his second over, Mehmood secured the breakthrough Congs desperately needed when the timber was disturbed.

And off the second ball of Adam Patrick’s next over he whistled a brilliant Yorker through Carl Ward’s attempted cut and Congs were able to breathe a little easier with just one point to get. Humare Amjad is a fine batsman but he was caught not knowing what to do in the match situation and Shipley’s total remained in the 30s for what seemed like an eternity. Amjad was finally put out of his misery when he walked across his crease for Patrick’s second wicket.

Then, three overs later and most fittingly, Saqib Mehmood trapped Adil Mehmood right in front to end Congs’ long wait for the Division A title. Jubilation followed and the relief for all of the team was palpable. With an understandable loss of focus and the pugnacious approach of the Hawksworth brothers, the scoreboard began to rattle round a little too much for the home team’s liking. Consistently dropping the ball into gaps, it appeared that Congs might have to contemplate merely securing the league.

Finally off the bowling of Steve Bedford, Tom Hawksworth skied a ball to deep extra cover where Mehmood took a comfortable catch having made good ground. Three balls later, his brother departed to the same combination but this was one of the best catches you will ever see, Mehmood running all of 50 yards and diving forwards to take a low beauty. This was still not the end of Shipley however as the 7thwicket added 27 before Bedford and Jamie Allen clean bowled the final three to ensure the season ended in winning style.

Congs celebrated long into the night after securing their first Division A title in 20 years by a margin of 14 points. The fight and spirit shown by this remarkable side during 2013 has been nothing short of mesmerising. Game after game (against many decent sides) was won by relatively small margins after all had looked lost, and a team cannot continually achieve this by fluke. The stubborn refusal to give up any cause has led to this great bunch deservedly acquiring the title of ‘Champions’.

Shipley Providence 149 all out (S Bedford 4-33 ; A Patrick 2-39 ; S Mehmood 2-40)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Shipley Providence (5pts) by 26 runs

A job well done lads


Cookridge “A” v Pudsey Congs

at Smithy Lane Ground

Saturday September 7th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

As stated in last week’s report, Congs went into this tough penultimate fixture requiring a further 24 points to secure the title. Heavy rain on Friday had meant that all grounds will have been saturated and the wicket at Smithy Lane left Dom Allen with little choice other than to insert Cookridge when he won the toss. He had picked, arguably, the strongest Congs side of the season for this vital game, massively strengthened by James Lindley-Dawe who was surplus to title chasing 2nd team requirements.

Jamie Allen acquired a big early breakthrough, having the limpet like Bonnington well caught by ‘Linners’ for just three. A mix up between the batsmen left Rashid stranded for the second time this season versus Congs and another sharp catch from ‘Linners’ saw off the dangerous Oates.

It was time to introduce Saqib Mehmood into the attack. To say that he went through the Cookridge line up like a dose of salts would be an understatement and on an unpleasant sluggish pitch, Mehmood beat several batsmen for pace. The wickets of Ejaz (brilliantly yorked middle stump) and Mashood (falling onto his stumps after a vicious bouncer) were the undoubted highlights. Mehmood had been well backed up by Bedford at the other end who bowled tightly with no luck.

Adam Patrick and Mehmood once again cleaned up the Cookridge tail with not a single batsman below No 7 contributing a run. Having bowled out the home team for a smidgeon over 100, Congs went into the tea rooms in confident mood.

Cookridge 104 all out ( S Mehmood 6-32)

In hindsight, the captain’s decision to send in two dashers to open the innings was an error and the approach of both ‘Linners’ and Mohammed Zulfikar was doomed from the very outset on such a difficult surface, with hostile, accurate bowling. Having already survived a scare on zero, ‘Linners’ was the first back in the hutch, having an expansive drive at a straight ball and first slip did the rest. Zulfikar hit three boundaries but an attempt to make it four dollied straight up to mid on.

Navin Bose looked to take the attack to Cookridge and bravely took a ball that ricocheted into his jaw. Calmly calling for his helmet and determined to fight fire with fire, Nav was sadly unable to take up the challenge because a stop start run meant he failed to make his ground. The unease in the Congs dressing room was not helped when Bedford’s early weakness to in-duckers was callously exposed (along with his middle stump). And then within two balls, the game looked about done and dusted when a ball to Graham Curtis rolled back onto the stumps, followed by a first baller for the in form Patrick.

At 27-6 and a home side that have probably never made more noise, Congs were clearly under the pump. But there is an inner strength in this team and a refusal to roll over that speaks volumes for all of the characters involved. The skipper felt the best way to get through the crisis for the time being would be to bat overs and see off the two main Cookridge protagonists. Both had incidentally been allowed to bowl 14 overs rather than 12 due to the frankly ludicrous Rule 24 (d) which achieves nothing other than to reward a team for being bowled out cheaply.

Now, Qasim Khan had slightly different ideas to those of his captain but there again he does possess infinitely more talent than him also. Still erring on the side of caution but at the rate of at least one boundary an over, Qasim managed to eek the score up and past 50. During this time, he played a straight drive for four that was so aesthetically pleasing, umpire Geoff Tarbatt commented that it was an effort to not stand and applaud! Qasim also connected beautifully with an extra cover drive that went all the way, holding the pose for an age to boot!

Congs were slowly but surely dragging their way back into the game as the dogged determination of their skipper was matched by the sublime talent of the young pretender. Passing 70 it was beginning to appear as if Congs might become favourites but disastrously, Allen became embroiled in a heated and ugly row with the Cookridge fielders after his patience ran out with what he felt was, significant over-appealing. Two balls later he stupidly attempted a big drive and after cannoning off both boot and pad, the ball clipped the off bail.

Jacques Allen joined Qasim and the pair added 15 healthy runs, looking in little trouble before a ball popped from nowhere onto the same glove that broke his thumb in the home fixture and it dollied straight to gully. Leaving the field in agony, Jacques was replaced by his brother but it was sadly not for long.

So, last man Saqib Mehmood joined Qasim with 20 runs still needed for victory. It would be fair to say that confidence levels were not high and they were not increased when a big swing at a ball landed over the head of long on for four. This was followed by a further swing that went for four through point. The pair then took three singles before Qasim crafted a wonderful stroke off his legs and behind square for four and the total to 100.

Inexplicably, Cookridge took away the fielders from behind square and ringed Qasim. A flick at a ball missed his bat but clipped the pad and flew off down to fine leg for four. This meant the scores were level and Congs were guaranteed 12 points. Uninterested in ties, Qasim fashioned another ball superbly off his legs into a gap behind square and the ball ran off for four.

What a remarkable game of cricket and it was won for Congs almost single-handedly by Qasim Khan. No praise can be too high for this lad and the pressure he was under throughout his entire innings cannot be overstated. His teammates showed their appreciation by chairing him from the pitch, as can be seen above. It was his second fifty of the season against Cookridge who must now be sick of the sight of him, though, it will probably have to be written off as one of life’s great mysteries quite why Cookridge were so up for this game and how the result had acquired such mind boggling importance to them.

So Congs move to within seven points of the title as they face Shipley Providence next week at The Brit. Everyone in the side knows that they are within touching distance of the first title in 20 years but similarly will take nothing for granted with the last game always being the hardest to win.

Pudsey Congs 108-9 (Q Khan 53 not out)

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

It is becoming a great habit to write these footnotes but sincere and heartfelt congratulations go to the 2nd XI for securing the title they worked so hard for all season and very much deserved. Well done to all of you from the 3rd XI.


Pudsey Congs v Hepworth Idle

at Fulneck

Saturday August 31st, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

On the first cool day since the early season, Congs entertained Hepworth Idle in what would be the last game of the season on Fulneck. New groundsman David Malpass had served up another road and Dom Allen was therefore astounded when Andy Clinton opted to bowl first on winning the toss. Liam Stanhope was this week’s surprise inclusion to the team and as the personification of serenity, his presence was invaluable.

Stanhope opened the batting with Mohammed Zulfikar and immediately achieved a rare feat by turning a one with the elder statesman into a two! Unfortunately, soon afterwards Zulfikar had to leave the wicket when he was adjudged LBW and Navin Bose joined Stanhope. Both are like lightning between the wickets and neither wasted any opportunity to bolster the score. Bose sent two balls into the nearby gardens and signalled his intent to pick up the scoring rate further with a flurry of fours.

Stanhope was quietly building his innings and showing what can be achieved through crease occupation. The baby-faced assassin is a master at utilising the smallest of deflections, particularly off his hip for ones and twos, all the while demonstrating there is no requirement to bludgeon the ball into submission. Both batsmen put on 78 for the second wicket before Bose was well caught in the gully just short of a deserved half century in the 20th over.

The partnership had breathed real confidence into the Congs team but this was rather stunted when Steve Bedford received a peach of a delivery that came back a foot, though he didn’t realise it at the time. When Stanhope soon followed for an excellent 41, Congs were at a crossroads on 106-4.

How the skipper longed for the real Graham Curtis to show up in such a situation. The omens were not great when he had an audacious and frankly ugly hack at a ball that brought him two but this moment appeared to be a great turning point. Curtis seemed to decide there and then that this was not the way to go and for the next 10 overs, merely presided over the bowling. He was on only seven from his first 35 balls and with Qasim Khan at the other end, only 25 runs were added in the next 10 overs.

But all of this time, Curtis had been slowly but surely getting his eye in and acquiring time at the crease. It was now time to up the ante. With wickets in hand, both batsmen went for their strokes, Curtis blistering through extra cover and Qasim favouring long on. Once inside the final 10 overs, the pair went for it hell for leather, trying to score at a minimum of one a ball. Curtis brought up a superb fifty but was nowhere near finished.

Qasim perished in the cause of the team to his great credit and was replaced by Adam Patrick. In magnificent form with the bat he took on Mark Saunders and launched the third ball of the penultimate over for a six that would have been a six on every single ground in the world. The biggest hit that most could remember on Fulneck, the ball was still on its way up when it sailed past the second set of trees. The run-fest continued right till the end to bring up Congs’ highest total of the season.

Pudsey Congs 227-5 (G Curtis 72 not out ; N Bose 45 ; L Stanhope 41 ; Q Khan 29 ; A Patrick 21 not out)

It must be said that Heppies’ approach to the target was unusual. It was difficult to discern whether they initially attempted to chase down 228 but tight bowling from Jamie Allen and Adam Patrick had them struggling at less than two an over after the first 15. When Saqib Mehmood joined the party to reduce them further to 43-5, it appeared an early finish was in store.

Andy Clinton and Glen Pinkney had other ideas however and were determined to make Congs wait. It was nearly a full 10 overs before Clinton was run out by Qasim Khan after a mid wicket mix up. Then, a combination of wayward bowling and poor fielding meant that Congs still needed four wickets with seven overs remaining. For unknown reasons, Idle chose this point to launch an attack and whilst they unquestionably rode their luck, it did beg the question as to why they left it till the game had already gone.

Stanhope removed Pinkney for 58 and soon after Saqib bowled Garland for a further point. He also dismantled Heaton’s stumps off the last ball of the game but by this time, the game had gone with neither side able to claim another point. In all honesty, whilst it was frustrating, Congs did not really field well enough to pick up five bowling points.

However, the result from the game was both positive and extremely encouraging with many players coming into form at the perfect time. With a lead at the top of the table of 16 points and only two matches remaining, Congs know everything is in their own hands. A trip to Smithy Lane is next on the agenda and it will not be an easy one. All players are reminded to attend with their ‘A Game’ and perform at their utmost.

Hepworth Idle 163-9 ( S Mehmood 3-44 ; A Patrick 2-24 ; Jm Allen 2-40)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Hepworth Idle (6pts) by 64 runs


Baildon “A” v Pudsey Congs

at Sandal School

Saturday August 24th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Heavy overnight rain and yet more gloomy forecasts suggested this game was in serious doubt of starting, let alone being completed. But as the eight men of Congs arrived at a hive of activity, it was clear (despite the damp) this game would be starting on time. Eight men because due to a malfunctioning sat-nav, three members of the team had inexplicably set off in the direction of Doncaster .

Dom Allen won the toss and on a horrible, green and damp looking track, decided to let Baildon make the running. Adam Patrick opened with Jamie Allen, the tried and tested opening partnership this season and they delivered big style once again. A hard cherry on a damp track was always going to prove difficult to face and Allen bowled out Metcalfe before Patrick ripped through the heart of the Baildon top order, including a great catch from Navin Bose to leave Baildon 10-4.

A mini recovery got Baildon up to 41 before the fifth wicket fell, again to Patrick and this was followed by another magnificent catch from Bose before Patrick produced the classic pea roller to dismiss poor Danny Hunt. This left Patrick on a hat trick for the second time in the game and whilst he didn’t quite get there, his final figures of 6-37 were just reward for his sterling efforts.

Earlier Jacques Allen had bowled a tidy short spell and Saqib Mehmood despite being a little erratic brought up his 50th wicket of the season to close out Baildon’s innings for less than 100. Taking 50 wickets in a full season is a fine achievement in such a competitive division but to do it with three games remaining is the mark of an exceptional bowler that has been the backbone of this side all summer.

Baildon 96 all out (A Patrick 6-37 ; S Mehmood 3-19)

An air of excitement hit the Congs dressing room at tea as news filtered through that all other matches in the division had been abandoned; unthinkable as not a drop of rain had been spotted in Baildon all afternoon. But it clearly left Congs with a chance to increase their lead in the table.

Such aspirations were not helped however when Mohammed Zulfikar was bowled by Metcalfe in the first over, having blasted the first ball for four. And when his opening partner Danny Cockin suffered the same fate with the total on just 11, it was ‘squeaky bum’ time for Congs.

But Steve Bedford strode out to partner Nav Bose and the pair never looked back. It would be extremely unfair on Baildon to claim their innings were faultless but that was never going to be the case on a very difficult surface against decent bowling. What they both did prove however was the adage of fortune favouring the brave. Bose in particular was bold in all of his strokeplay. Some beautiful drives over extra cover were matched with vicious pulls and cuts through square leg and point. Despite Nav’s affinity with the characters in our 4ths, he is way too good a cricketer to not be playing in the top division.

And at the other end, Bedford was unleashing his favourite cut through and behind point with unerring precision. He also drove the ball straight, opting for safety first each time in trying to keep the ball on the floor as much as possible. Irrespective, runs started to flow very freely as both batsmen seemed to start seeing it like a football. Congs still had to be careful as the target neared as they clearly wanted the maximum points they could take out of the game. So those nerves were not in any way eased when Bose was bowled with still 19 required. Bedford continued unabated but lost Qasim Khan with still five needed.

As Adam Patrick strode out, it was with his captain’s instructions ringing in his ears. In order to acquire full batting points, Congs now had to score 100. Patrick achieved the first part almost immediately with a lovely drive that kept the fielder interested but the ball was always going to win the race. This left Bedford on strike with the scores level and after a dropped catch that was more like a fantastic stop, he pulled the next short ball through midwicket to bring up the maximum for Congs.

This was a great day for a team who have had no luck of late. The matches rained off elsewhere went some way toward repaying the appalling misfortune they had received just a week earlier when they were clearly heading for all 20. The third victory of the season over Baildon ensures that Congs now sit 17 points clear at the top. All concentration will now switch to Hepworth Idle next weekend.

Pudsey Congs 100-4 (N Bose 39 ; S Bedford 36 not out)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Baildon (3pts) by 6 wickets

As a footnote, we in the 3rd team would just like to congratulate our 4ths on winning their division. A great achievement by all concerned and no more than all of the lads deserved after a long hard season.


DALES COUNCIL CRICKET LEAGUE T20 FINAL

Pudsey Congs 3rd XI v Leeds Sikh

at Salts CC, Saltaire

Sunday August 18th, 2013

Back row, left to right:  Mick Hirst (Cricket Chairman), Mohammed Zulfikar, Mark Feguson, Steve Bedford, Adam Patrick, Jamie Allen, Jacques Allen, Umar Mohammed

Front row, left to right: Joe Stolarski (scorer & mascot), Liam Stanhope, Qasim Khan, Dom Allen (Capt), Danny Cockin, Saqib Mehmood 

                                                                                 Photo courtesy of Richard Horsfield

Match report by Dom Allen

So Congs moved into the final to play their old friends Leeds Sikh who had already booked their spot by virtue of beating Tong Park Esholt during the morning session. Already 2-0 up against Sikh this season, Congs knew they would need to be at their absolute best to beat Sikh for a totally unprecedented third time. Great friends, Dom Allen and Hari Seehra proudly strode out to toss up. Seehra called incorrectly and Allen had no hesitation in opting to bat on a pitch that he knew would prove difficult to chase upon.

The same opening pair attended the wicket as in the semi final but it was immediately apparent that this was not going to be the same type of game when Adam Patrick was bowled for just a single. Mark Ferguson suffered the same fate trying to go across the line of a straight ball and it left Congs 3-2. Mohammed Zulfikar toiled and toiled in the middle trying to eek an opening for Congs to take charge but the early Sikh bowling was just too good. Both he and Qasim Khan managed to put on 33 for the third wicket but it took them nearly nine overs to do so and it appeared Congs would be defending a paltry target at this stage.

When Zulfikar’s brave knock came to an end, Danny Cockin joined Qasim and both battled through the pain barrier to begin with. But after 13 overs had gone, a sea-change took place. With Parimoo and Malsamy having bowled through and Seehra having just an over left, the batsmen sensed an opening. And Congs had not panicked, holding wickets in hand for the end.

Boundaries were still hard to come by but as the bowling lessened in quality just a touch, a series of twos and threes were taken. Cockin departed for an impressive (in the context of the game) 16 with Steve Bedford, Liam Stanhope and Jamie Allen all chipping with useful contributions. But man of the competition Qasim Khan produced a stunning knock yet again, hitting 32, which was worth, not far short of a hundred.

Congs took the total from 53-3 with only five overs remaining to 99-9 off their allotted 20. This was a big adjustment from, below par to a more than competitive total and Allen was firmly aware he had a greater quota of frontline bowlers.

Pudsey Congs 99-9 (Q Khan 32)

Any victory push would need to be undertaken without the bowling of Steve Bedford whose shoulder was showing signs of strain after a weekend of graft. The skipper therefore juggled his bowling attack and on the basis of the trouble Jamie Allen’s bowling had caused the fourths on this wicket, asked him to open with his brother. Pitting both against the might of Leeds Sikh was a big ask but they did not disappoint. After conceding a four off his second ball, Jamie trapped Manish Parimoo next ball for the first wicket. Parimoo has a habit of feeling he is not out LBW but he also has a habit of walking right across his stumps.

At the other end, Allen most junior kept things tight before picking up the prized scalp of Koduru with a ball which turned back and beat the attempted cut. Both bowlers saw their spells through with great economy and left Sikh significantly behind the rate. Gurdeep Ryatt had given a couple of chances during this period but it appeared it might be his day. Mark Ferguson ensured that it wasn’t with a great catch at mid on off Adam Patrick.

And the benefit of batting first started to show as Sikh struggled to force the pace. With balls popping and others keeping low, it was a minefield of a track on which to chase down a score. The 15th over of Sikh’s innings proved ultimately decisive as Hari Seehra was suicidally run out before Dontula was bowled first ball. Mehmood set off on a lap of honour.

The scoring rate was now heading up toward telephone number figures for Sikh and on such a huge expanse of an outfield, it was difficult to see where they were going to score them. And that was reckoning with ordinary bowlers being introduced to the attack, not of the calibre of Liam Stanhope. The personification of calm, he jogged to the wicket, grunted and put nearly every ball of yorker length. The position was now hopeless for Sikh and it became worse when Raghu Chandrasekaran holed out off Patrick to Mohammed Zulfikar at square leg who fired the ball into the floor in celebration.

The rate required ballooned up to 17.5 for the final two overs and then a ridiculous 30 for the last (ridiculous, on the assumption the skipper would not bowl it). Stanhope in fact bowled it and picked up a final scalp. Congs kept their emotions in check for the whole over but when the last ball was blocked and the umpire called ‘over’, pandemonium broke out.

The players that had fought through a long hard season deserved a trophy more than anything and it was tremendous to witness the unbridled joy. The fielding during the whole innings had been exceptional, Mark Ferguson being the pick with a quite superb effort on the boundary, preventing a six in the process. The intensity also in the field was breathtaking and certainly smothered Sikh who gave their absolute all but could not break out of the iron grip.

What a pleasure it was for the captain to see the faces of his charges, after they had acquired some reward for their efforts. And it must be said that Leeds Sikh were gracious in defeat, to a man, but then one would expect nothing less from one of the most competitive but also most chivalrous teams to ever play in this league.

Dom Allen was presented with a trophy almost the size of the European Cup (Champions League in new money) and he had the privilege of shouting out the names of all of his players that have served him so well throughout the season. It is time for one last push now with four league games remaining. If the same level of intensity is achieved, this will not be the only trophy in the Congs cabinet come September.

Leeds Sikh 77-7 (A Patrick 2-15 ; Jm Allen 1-10 ; Jq Allen 1-13 ; S Mehmood 1-16 ; L Stanhope 1-19)

Pudsey Congs beat Leeds Sikh by 22 runs


 DALES COUNCIL CRICKET LEAGUE T20 SEMI FINAL

Pudsey Congs 3rd XI v Pudsey Congs 4th XI

at Salts CC, Saltaire

Sunday August 18th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

The club got the perfect draw for the semi final with our teams paired and a chance for various egos and Twitter comments from both teams to be tested. It was a game that was billed as a fun match with a bit of needle but in reality, panned out to be a needle match with a bit of fun. Dom Allen won the toss on a pitch that was not really acceptable for a major competition. He batted first on the basis that the pitch would not get any better and sent Mohammed Zulfikar in with Adam Patrick.

They got off to a crisp start, picking off Zahid Mahmood and blocking the dangerous Haris Mohammed. But James Galvin blew open the barn door in the sixth over when he forced Zulfikar to play on and then had Mark Ferguson well caught at point by Joe Goodchild. Ferguson received a tumultuous send off that would have looked harsh in the middle of Beirut. When Galvin had Patrick caught behind by evergreen David Malpass, the thirds were 36-3 and Galvin had demonstrated what a dangerous bowler he is when he puts it in the right spot.

But in truth that was as good as it got for the fourths. The partnership between Danny Cockin and Qasim Khan put on 37 and at a decent lick. Rarely in trouble (which was a feat in itself on this deck) both batsmen took advantage of the slower bowling. When Cockin was replaced by Steve Bedford, the run rate increased still further. With boundaries hard to come by, the running between the wickets was exemplary. This was continued when Jamie Allen completed the innings but the best knock had undoubtedly been played by Qasim; not bad for a lad that thought he was terminally out of form the previous day. The final total was huge bearing in mind the gigantic playing area and difficult wicket.

Pudsey Congs 3rd XI 130-5 (Q Khan 45 not out ; S Bedford 20 ; A Patrick 20 ; J Galvin 3-21)

Joe Goodchild and Zahid Mahmood strode out to face Adam Patrick and Jacques Allen. It was all smiles to begin with, though these were possibly through gritted teeth. Both struck a four each but Zahid’s keenness to avoid giving his wicket away rather stifled his scoring. Goodchild was the first to go however when Patrick got one under his defences and when Malpass showed he was not hanging around only to be well caught by Ferguson, the fourths had lost two main batters.

Scoring became a very difficult proposition and was not helped when Mahmood holed out having used up so many balls. With Stuart Jolly, Joe Royce and Alistair Goodchild all providing stiff resistance, there was a glimmer of hope for the fourths. But this was remorselessly snuffed out when the six foot eight giant, Jamie Allen came into the attack. It was clear there was some nervousness at the prospect of facing a bowler that gets extra bounce from normal pitches. Sure enough, this rolled block of mud meant that the ball was rearing up quite unpleasantly at the batsmen.

In Allen’s first over he took the wicket of Stuart Jolly, caught by Adam Patrick at cover. Alistair Goodchild was then run out before Joe Royce was bowled off the last ball of the over. At the start of Allen’s next, he caught and bowled Macca Gaunt off a further rising delivery and as the field moved in got to bowl at his young protégé and undoubted madman Haris Mohammed for the hat trick ball. Unbelievably, this ball also popped and Haris could only defend the ball straight to the skipper at silly point. It raised the question of when the last time a hat trick had been achieved by a catch from the bowler’s father.

Some friendly banter was enjoyed with James Galvin who just had to be reminded of his over confident Twitter predictions and in truth he was probably the fourths best batsman. Certainly the four through mid on was an absolute belter. But when Ahtsham Ahmed skewed to backward point, the game was almost up. Pete Huffinley arrived for the last rites in a somewhat boisterous mood and it appeared he’d spent the entire innings drinking strong black coffee. After an hilarious triple hit, Huffinley nicked one through to Cockin and the match was over.

This game had been a tremendous exercise and possibly should be revisited on an annual basis. It served as a great warm up for the thirds and the inter club rivalry was just what was needed to concentrate a few minds. The fourths will probably feel that they underachieved and it would be fair to say so, though this was in part due to getting their batting order off beam. But the thirds were delighted to win and quieten their noisy neighbours and the victory was probably achieved by a conscious effort to not take them lightly.

Pudsey Congs 4th XI 62 all out (J Allen 5-8 ; A Patrick 3-11)

Pudsey Congs 3rd XI beat Pudsey Congs 4th XI by 68 runs  


Savile Stars “A” v Pudsey Congs

at Sands Lane

Saturday August 17th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

A trip to Savile was just what any self-respecting doctor would not order but as the game appears on the official fixture list, our thirds had to gulp hard and make the unenviable journey. And once that voyage across Kirklees is complete, that perennial question is always asked, why oh why does our league not have minimum standards for cricket pitches. The question is never answered.

Dom Allen won the toss and opted to put Savile in to bat with rain promised and a pitch that looked similar to the Britannia outfield. Adam Patrick bowled a tight first over which produced a run out off the last ball. Jacques Allen initially mis-fielded but recovered and fired the ball to Nav Bose who whipped off the bails. This quickly became 4-2 when Joe Goodchild took a peach of a catch above his head at deep extra cover.

In the context of the game, a partnership of 43 for the 4th wicket was big but Steve Bedford swung the match firmly in Congs’ favour by removing both partners in the same over, one of which was the victim of an excellent slip catch from Patrick. Despite a couple of further partnerships, Savile were bundled out in good time by a returning Adam Patrick who bowled an immaculately tight line and Steve Bedford who completed a much deserved five wicket haul when Haris Mohammed caught the last batter at third man.

Savile Stars 127 all out ( S Bedford 5-36 ; A Patrick 3-39)

Congs’ chase of 128 got off to a calamitous start when Nav Bose, Joe Goodchild and Adam Patrick were all back in the hutch before double figures had been reached. The captain took the responsibility for this, setting a wholly inappropriate batting order for the pitch conditions.

Steve Bedford came in and instantly steadied the ship. Together with Mohammed Zulfikar, the pair grew in confidence and slowly but surely gained a foothold in the match. The partnership was not without incident. Zulfikar was hit twice on the helmet and took numerous blows to his chest as the pitch played its dirty tricks, aided by the hardness of a new ball.

But taking a backward step is not a phrase Zulfikar knows the meaning of and he belligerently latched onto each loose offering that came along. Bedford was playing equally well at the other end and Congs looked firm favourites at 58-3. Sadly at this stage, the rain started to fall and caused a delay of just over an hour. Just when it looked like the match would be washed out, the rain ceased and allowed a continuation but Congs only had 12 overs remaining.

Watchful to begin with and very much waiting to see how things would pan out, the pair took Congs past 75 for an extra point. Congs might just have had a dart at the total with wickets in hand but having put on 80 with Zulfikar, Bedford was bowled. When Qasim Khan was out quickly, Congs had to shut up shop. Jacques Allen was trapped in front also and this left the skipper to negotiate the final three overs. Zulfikar did bring up a richly deserved half century but due to some diabolical communication from the sidelines, the opportunity for a further point was squandered as the batsmen felt they only needed a single.

A disappointing day for Congs when it appeared they were coasting to victory, requiring only 70 runs from 33 overs before the rain came. But they remain in charge of their own destiny and for a day at least, get to take their minds off the league and concentrate on the T20 they did so well to qualify for.

Pudsey Congs 99-6 (M Zulfikar 57 not out ; S Bedford 23)

Pudsey Congs (10pts) drew with Savile Stars (10pts)


Pudsey Congs v Farnley Hill

at Fulneck

Saturday August 10th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Congs came into this fixture under pressure having had their lead in the table cut drastically to only 11 points. So they will have been relieved to see Farnley Hill arrive without two key players in Gary Eckard and Chris Sowden. Dom Allen won the toss and opted to bat on a green but flat looking pitch.

The same opening pairing of Mohammed Zulfikar and Umar Mohammed got Congs off to the best possible start when Zulfikar blasted the first ball of the game through the covers for four. Shortly after however, Umar became the first of four LBW victims and it must be said that none of them looked remotely convincing.

Steve Bedford and Zulfikar steadied the ship demonstrating great patience but runs were hard to come by on a sluggish surface and the highly impressive James Munro made batting exceptionally difficult for Congs. When Zulfikar became the recipient of one of the aforementioned LBW decisions, he was quickly followed by Bedford, Danny Cockin and Jacques Allen. At 75-5, Congs were feeling pretty perturbed and that the world was against them.

Enter Adam Patrick fresh from his foray into the 2nd team and his confidence has clearly gone through the roof of late. He started out watchfully and despite hitting a four and a six, scored only those 10 runs in his first 20 balls. But then things started to gather apace. Together with Qasim Khan, the pair intelligently saw off Munro before picking off the easier bowling of Leighton and Breakwell.

Bearing in mind that the surface was no easier to bat on with its slow nature, Patrick went berserk, at one point hitting 22 off just seven balls and leaving the bowlers feeling that it didn’t matter where they put the ball, it would still be launched. Having looked earlier like it would be a struggle to acquire three batting points, the total surged past 150 with overs still in the bag.

Patrick brought up his maiden 50 in next to no time to great applause from the sidelines. Qasim departed for an excellent and very supportive 24 but a partnership of 90 had blown the game wide open and Patrick’s clean hitting had seen a confident Farnley team reduced to quiet mice. It really was a special innings that spectators and Congs players alike felt privileged to witness.

But there was still more to come. Patrick continued where he had left off, this time supported by Jamie Allen and the two of them put on another 30 runs. Finally, attempting one further blow that would have taken the total past 200, Patrick was caught on the boundary but he received a genuine and richly deserved standing ovation on his return to the pavilion, having transformed the innings out of sight.

Pudsey Congs 202-9 (A Patrick 79 ; M Zulfikar 27 ; Q Khan 24)

With Munro and Tony Leighton opening the batting for Hill, the away team were not short of confidence. But Congs instantly felt they would be in with a chance as Munro made it clear he was going to play a shot a ball. Lucky to survive his first delivery which landed in no man’s land, he skewed a high, fly ball down to third man where Patrick ran round to take an excellent catch. When Macualey Gaunt brilliantly caught ‘Legs’ Lister, diving forward from gully, Congs were in charge at 23-2.

But things are never so simple and despite Leighton surviving a caught behind appeal that appeared to have broken his hand, he continued to put on 39 with Dale Breakwell. However, when he was out with the score on 62 (well caught by Jamie Allen at mid off, off the bowling of Bedford) few could have foreseen what the next 10 minutes would bring.

Umar Mohammed had to leave the field due to a nasty finger dislocation but as luck would have it, Andre Stolarski was on hand to perform 12th man duties. As he looked on from cover, no less than seven wickets fell for only four runs and a game that had looked to be heading for a tight finish was all but over.

Amongst the seven was a hat trick from Saqib Mehmood and it was not just any old hat trick. All three victims were bowled and all three looked to be seriously beaten for pace. It was a devastating over that had also seen the back of Breakwell, two balls earlier and after completing his feat, he was mobbed by his team mates mid pitch.

The first ball of the next over produced a brilliant slip catch from Patrick who refused to be kept out of the game and the chaotic atmosphere must have led to the confusion when Qasim Khan superbly ran out Tom Breakwell. The final pairing for Farnley somehow put on 35, against all the odds after what had happened. Even this partnership nearly failed when Stolarski came within millimetres of clinging onto a catch that would have gone down in Fulneck folklore.

Jacques Allen finally acquired the last wicket for Congs with his off spin to wrap up a huge win for the home side. Importantly, they had not only bounced back from two poor performances but reacquired the confidence which had seen them top the table for so long this season. They will want to build on this showing to force a strong finish to the season.

Farnley Hill 101 all out (S Mehmood 4-25 ; S Bedford 2-11)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Farnley Hill (6pts) by 101 runs


 Halifax Direct v Pudsey Congs

at Karmand Centre

Saturday August 3rd, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

It was the clash of the season in Bradford as Congs travelled to the impressive looking Karmand Centre. A close examination of the square showed that it is still very much a work in progress. And so it proved as Naz Khan opted to insert a Congs team that never got going all afternoon despite a more than heroic knock from Mohammed Zulfikar.

Halifax ’s knowledge of the very specific playing conditions, matched with extremely tight bowling stifled Congs almost into submission. It was one thing to stay in on this pitch but with a skiddy low bounce to most deliveries, it was an entirely different thing to score significant runs.

Earlier, Umar Mohammed had looked mightily impressive in his new berth as opener with Zulfikar and the pair put together a solid 38 before Umar was unlucky to play on. Jacques Allen and Steve Bedford both departed to leave Congs in trouble at 48-3 but Qasim Khan almost doubled the score with Zulfikar, before he was deceived by a slower ball to leave Congs 82-4.

Zulfikar worked and worked his socks off and toward the end of the Congs innings brought up a hugely deserved 50. But after he departed there were to be no more partnerships of substance and Congs were bowled out in the penultimate over.

Pudsey Congs 115 all out (M Zulfikar 50 ; Q Khan 20)

Congs were still confident at half time, knowing that Halifax Direct were lacking at least two batsmen and that the pitch was so difficult to score on. And that confidence increased when Haris Mohammed had Arfan Shah caught at the wicket for a duck to leave HD 2-1. Haris is way too good to be playing cricket in Division C and it was a pleasure watching him operate against top quality batsmen (and for the most part, causing them serious problems).

But if anybody needed convincing that it was not Congs’ day, they need only have watched Naz Khan’s innings. Enjoying more lives than a 200 year old cat, he proceeded to edge and chop his way to 27 off 57 balls and it would not be an exaggeration to say he could have been out 10 times.

When he did depart he was replaced by Tahir Raza who together with Adnan Mehmood, took the game right away from Congs. With a number of further new signings still waiting to come in, Congs were massively up against it in this game and HD cruised past the target with overs to spare. It’s difficult to see HD slipping up with players of this calibre but it’s equally difficult to see what the bussing in of so many new cricketers from far higher standards actually proves.

Congs have to bounce back quickly now, starting next week when they entertain Farnley Hill. A strengthening of the batting line up will be required, together with a change in attitude of the captain, bowlers, batsmen and fielders.

Halifax Direct 120-2 (H Mohammed 1-9 ; S Bedford 1-18)

Halifax Direct (20pts) beat Pudsey Congs (3pts) by 8 wickets


Pudsey Congs v New Wortley

at Fulneck

Saturday July 20th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

A warm and humid afternoon was on the cards for this top of the table clash but a heavy storm just before the start delayed proceedings by 15 minutes. Usman Rasool won the toss and elected to bat first on a placid looking surface and opening batsman Farhan Saeed sure made it look placid. Having a scored a gargantuan number of runs already this season, Congs were hoping he would nick one early. Well, this wasn’t to be and despite a brilliant running catch from Mohammed Zulfikar to remove the dangerous Safiullah, Farhan batted for 44.1 of the 45 overs.

Congs toiled manfully but a strangely out of sorts Jamie Allen combined with a seriously flat surface and the best batsman in the league, meant a massive score was imminent. Not helped by sloppy fielding which involved eight of the eleven players dropping catches, Congs endured a long afternoon of misery in the oppressive heat.

Farhan’s innings was amazing to behold in that he managed to keep his energy intact to the final over. Whilst this was in no small part due to the number of boundaries he hit, his durability was something to marvel at. It was disappointing to witness however that, having made a double hundred and smashed the bowlers to all parts of Fulneck, the batsman should attempt to stand his ground and berate the umpire about the possibility of the delivery being above waist height. Some things you just wish you didn’t see and this dreadful lack of respect and sportsmanship was certainly one of them.

New Wortley 329-9 ( S Mehmood 3-46 ; Jm Allen 3-79 ; S Bedford 2-62)

In typically ebullient mood, Mohammed Zulfikar was not going to accept the more modest target of 175 to acquire maximum batting points, preferring to keep open the opportunity of a full blown win. But when he went for a quickfire 22, a sadly too typical Congs collapse ensued that left them floundering at 50-4. Danny Cockin and Steve Bedford performed some rebuilding but when Cockin was quickly followed by two further wickets, Congs looked to be sliding to an embarrassing annihilation.

But with the disappearance of Farhan (who just walked off the field and went home), Bedford began to make hay with Adam Patrick. As the bowling tired, so the confidence of the batsmen increased and they put together a sensational partnership of 86 to allow the home team to declare on 176-7 having no hope of scoring the remaining runs in six overs. Whilst it has been suggested this may have been a little too close to infringing the spirit of the game, that spirit had been sadly missing from the match.

On paper this looked like a catastrophic defeat but when one takes into account that Congs were in essence beaten by one man, the margin is slightly easier to absorb. Farhan is way too good to be playing Dales Council and New Wortley appear to be wholly reliant upon his ability. Certainly, the rest of the team were thumped in this fixture.

The lead at the top is now 28 points and Congs will get to see all of Halifax Direct’s comings and goings in the transfer market next week in what looks like being the game of the season.

Pudsey Congs 176-7 dec (A Patrick 44 not out ; S Bedford 42 not out)

New Wortley (18pts) beat Pudsey Congs (9pts) by 153 runs


Adel v Pudsey Congs

at Memorial Ground

Saturday July 20th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

An extremely welcome blast of cooler air enveloped Yorkshire on Saturday meaning that this match could take place in normal conditions. On a very flat looking pitch, Rob Wallace won the toss for Adel and elected to bat first, their opening pairing opting for solidity over speed. And possibly a little too giddy after a glorious straight drive, Wallace lofted the ball into the grateful hands of his opposite number to gift Adam Patrick his first scalp.

Both Patrick and Jamie Allen bowled tight opening spells but it was clear that the wicket was one on which the batsmen could stay in, if they set their minds to it. Steve Bedford and Saqib Mehmood replaced the two young openers and continued where they had left off with Bedford picking up a freak wicket in his first over, Galpin lobbing the ball back to the bowler off his boot. New signing Sri Govind demonstrated his exceptional ability to drive over mid off and extra cover but seemed to have precious few other shots. Bedford trapped him plum in front to leave Adel 55-3 at drinks.

James Wadkins entered proceedings and at first he appeared to play and miss more than he hit the ball. But after a while he found his feet and spurred on by a number of altercations with the bowlers, demonstrated powerful strokeplay. There was however, an undercurrent to his innings that suggested he was riding his luck. Dropped on a number of occasions he also seemed to land the ball in no man’s land way too often.

Saqib Mehmood completed a 10 over spell of sheer graft but no luck and was replaced by Jamie Allen who warned Wadkins for trying to steal yards at the non striker’s end. At the time, he was around five yards out of his crease before the bowler had even commenced his delivery stride. Both the bowler and captain made it abundantly clear to the batsman that he was out of order and this was his final warning and the whole event was acknowledged by both umpires.

It was not clear whether Wadkins’ confidence had spilled over into arrogance or he had simply suffered a mental block but he attempted the same thing next over and Allen whipped off the bails and appealed. Pandemonium broke out on the sidelines as a number of Adel players and supporters appeared to think there was an issue with the spirit of the game here. This writer can confirm that there absolutely was not and that, having failed to heed the warning, Congs were almost duty bound to run out Wadkins second time around.

The whole affair seemed to spice up the match, though one did rather get the impression that deep down Adel didn’t really feel they had a case and that it might just be an attempt to motivate their team into action. Steve Grey completed a pretty ugly but extremely gutsy 50 for his team before being bowled by Patrick and some late order hitting from Ross Booth bolstered the Adel score above maximum batting points.

Adel 178-7 (A Patrick 3-44 ; S Bedford 2-45)

Whilst they enjoyed the best teas in the Dales Council, Dom Allen impressed upon his chargers that 178 was only around par on the Memorial Ground with such an excellent track and fast outfield. Mohammed Zulfikar and Ahtsham Ahmed opened the batting and until the last ball of the 10th over, Congs were off to a belter. Unfortunately, Ahmed scooped that final ball to cover point to leave Congs 40-1 but this was the type of partnership that would see Congs home comfortably.

Unfortunately, a succession of poor strokes left Congs in hole at 66-4, virtually every one being an attempt to play the ball across the line. Zulfikar had been the highlight thus far, some delightful strokes suggesting he was destined to plunder Adel once again but Danny Ridgway ensured it was not to be.

The rebuilding started when Jacques Allen and Steve Bedford put on 41 for the fifth wicket with both batsmen playing some exquisite strokes and Allen hitting his old mate Ridgway out of the attack.Bedford carried on regardless after Allen played right across a Galpin delivery but when he was caught at third slip in the 32nd over no less, it appeared it was just not Congs’ day with 55 still needed and only four wickets in hand.

Dom Allen joined Umar Mohammed and despite picking up a boundary apiece, their main task was to see off Sri Govind. Umar could not quite achieve this and Allen was joined by The Finisher. Although he scored 12 in a partnership of 18, Patrick was in fact not to finish the game this week and departed to leave Congs 150-8. Adel were cock-a-hoop at this stage and clearly felt the game was now in the bag. But Jamie Allen was determined to help his old man over the finishing line and despite hiccups along the way, they moved Congs to 175-8 with two overs remaining.

Off the very first ball of the penultimate over Allen junior had a brain explosion and attempted to hoik a straight ball through the onside. The ball brushed the bails and Saqib Mehmood was forced to come out as last man with four needed for victory. A wide, followed by a single off the last ball left Saqib on strike for the final over with two required. Two dots were followed by a pushed single to bring the scores level and the captain needed just the one from three. He marched down the pitch to gain momentum for the run as much as anything and as the ball cannoned off his leg to mid wicket, the pair completed the single to sounds of euphoria from the sidelines.

Whilst the game had been an ill tempered affair for the most part, both sets of players embraced at the end of what was an absorbing, exhausting and most of all, brilliant day’s cricket. Congs have played Adel twice now and the reasons for them being bottom of the league are not obvious.

Congs can be very proud to have scraped home once again in the type of game which you must win if you harbour ambitions to win the league. Congs’ lead at the top has now been cut slightly to 39 points but their sheer bloody-mindedness to get the job finished in the last three weeks is of great credit to them. New Wortley are in town next week and will be looking to kick start their title campaign.

Pudsey Congs 179-9 (M Zulfikar 26 ; D Allen 24 no ; Jq Allen 23 ; S Bedford 21)

Pudsey Congs (18pts) beat Adel (9pts) by 1 wicket


Pudsey Congs v Crompark “A”

at Fulneck

Saturday July 13th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Soaring temperatures greeted the players as they arrived at Fulneck with this heat wave showing no signs of abating. With members of both sides fasting due to Ramadan also, it was likely there would be some weary people by the end of the day. On a beautiful looking (almost white) pitch, Dom Allen won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat. Jacques Allen made his return from the thumb injury which had kept him sidelined for the past three weeks and joined Mohammed Zulfikar as opener.

Both batsmen started convincingly and Zulfikar in particular looked set for a big score. After six overs however, Tom Bridge got one to lift at Allen who got a thick edge through to the keeper. Zulfikar continued unperturbed for a further five runs before he was desperately unlucky to be given out LBW. From the sidelines he appeared to have got a huge stride down the pitch but the most disappointing aspect was the lack of any conviction in the appeal, followed by the surprised elation of the fielding team. Congs are not batting so well that they can afford to lose a key batsman in this way and it was a massive moment in the match.

For a while, Graham Curtis and Qasim Khan looked all set to steady the ship but after Curtis hit a six into the trees, he (very un-Curtis-like) attempted it again next ball. This was swiftly followed by Steve Bedford and Qasim Khan also departing to injudicious strokes and Congs were in a right mess at 54-5. Umar Mohammed and David Malpass attempted to regroup and focus, Umar fighting a constant battle to stop himself swinging the bat. He played the shot of the day along the carpet, through extra cover for four and became top scorer. But he had to go with the score on 83 and when Malpass followed two runs later, Congs were looking like cascading to an embarrassing defeat to a side that had won only once all season.

Enter the skipper with his unique and quite staggeringly boring approach to batting and he was joined by Adam Patrick. For the second time this season against Crompark, this pairing was stuck with way too many overs remaining for the paucity of wickets intact. They attempted to simply bat overs and acquire whatever they could get. But Amit Khullar was bowling with metronomic accuracy and their rewards were few and far between. Patrick stuck around for a significant period and crashed a couple of much needed boundaries. He was replaced by Jamie Allen who did likewise; a massive six past the adjacent trees and landing 30 yards back being the highlight.

Saqib Mehmood helped his captain scramble a few more from the final over to ensure that Congs not only used up their allotted overs but posted what seemed to be a competitive score on a slightly inconsistent pitch. But the score was still on the low side because by not keeping wickets in hand, Congs had wasted precious overs in robust defence.

Pudsey Congs 143-9 (U Mohammed 22 ; M Zulfikar 21)

Congs came into the field confidently but were already beginning to feel the weariness of a stiflingly hot day. And their tetchy mood was not helped by the refusal of Crompark opener Halliday to walk off the pitch after being caught at cover, claiming a bump ball. No criticism of the umpire whatsoever is inferred and the error was understandable but it was quite clear Halliday was into his second life. Not content with this he blasted the rest of Patrick’s over for 14 to rub industrial levels of salt into the wound.

Fortunately for Congs, Jamie Allen was on fire at the other end and every batsman appeared to be intimidated by the pace and bounce of the seven foot giant. There was a Chris Read moment when Crompark’s skipper attempted to duck a yorker that flattened his stumps and just a few balls later, Allen caught and bowled Mann one handed. Steve Thompson then attempted to play Allen from square leg, only to lose his middle stump and the prized scalp of Halliday was acquired when he was brilliantly caught at slip by Bedford , again off Allen. Predictably, he received a right royal send off, having stood his ground earlier.

But with Allen’s enforced break and a completely out of sorts Bedford and Mehmood, Crompark climbed their way back into the game to establish themselves as firm favourites after 20 overs with the scoreboard reading 90-5. Dom Allen returned to Patrick who had requested a second opportunity and he delivered in the most emphatic style. He had Dickens well caught by Umar Mohammed and followed this with the scalp of Bridge caught by Saqib Mehmood at mid on.

But the best of all, which gave Congs a serious chance, came when he supremely caught and bowled Amit Khullar who had been a real thorn in the home side all day. The ball was hit that hard back at the bowler, both long on and long off felt for a fleeting moment that, the catch might be theirs. But he clung on and threw the ball miles into the air in celebration.

Vineet Verma looked almost as dangerous and seemed to be taking the Menston side home but with 13 still needed for victory, he inexplicably walked across his stumps, failing to play any shot. It appeared his bat may have been caught in his clothing or he just possibly misjudged the delivery but umpire McLaughlan confirmed it was one of his easiest decisions. When Nitin Agar came out to bat in black trainers, Allen moved six men around the bat, confident that he would not have the durability of his Test Match namesake.

And so it proved, as a valiant attempt at defence still resulted in the castling of his stumps first ball and Patrick set off on a lap of the Fulneck pitch. Caught in the top corner by Zulfikar, about six players joined and piled on top of the young pretender as he once again lived up to his ‘Finisher’ billing.

In terms of the overall match summary, this was a poor performance by Congs. Whether subconsciously or otherwise, they had failed to pay Crompark the level of respect every opposition should be afforded. They had also allowed the excessive temperature to interfere with their game in a negative way. The early batting had been careless, the fielding was quite frankly appalling and some of the bowling (though by no means all) had been slipshod. In view of which, Congs will be meeting at 12.15pm next Saturday at Adel for a discussion and practice that will hopefully ensure the performance is closer to the level expected of this great club.

Congs did later receive the heart-warming news that New Wortley had suffered a setback which meant Congs’ lead at the top of Division A has been extended to 41 points.

Crompark 131 all out (A Patrick 5-43 ; Jm Allen 4-32)

Pudsey Congs (18pts) beat Crompark (7pts) by 12 runs


Leeds Sikh “A” v Pudsey Congs

at Bedquilts, Adel

Saturday July 6th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

On a blisteringly hot day at the start of a promised heat wave, Congs attended the infamous Bedquilts with a fair degree of trepidation. It is less than fitting that the champions of the past two seasons have played on a wicket that is barely appropriate for an Under 7s game. However, despite the concerns, the wicket played an awful lot better than feared, although the scores were comfortably the lowest in the league on such a hot day.

Leeds Sikh won a very early toss and opted to bat first in the baking sun. Manish Parimoo partnered Dales Council legend Gurdeep Ryatt and the pair got Sikh away to a solid start. Pudsey’s usual starting combo of Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen kept the batsmen honest and whilst an opening stand of 67 sounds impressive, it came off half the total overs and the batsmen never got away from Congs. And the old adage of one brings two worked wonders for Congs with Patrick removing both Parimoo and danger man Raghunath Chandrasekaran in the final over of a great spell.

After such a solid start, Sikh’s innings fell away somewhat which may have had something to do with the introduction of Steve Bedford. With conditions barely akin to away swing bowling, Bedford (the undoubted pick of the bowlers) tormented the batsmen for the most part and but for two predetermined slogs, tied the Sikh players in knots. He was ably supported by Saqib Mehmood at the other end until he unsurprisingly tired toward the end of his spell to allow Allen back into the attack who picked up two late wickets.

For the first time this season the wickets were distributed evenly amongst the bowlers and when Sikh closed on 130-9, the whole Congs unit could reflect on a difficult job executed very professionally. Sikh never got away from Congs and the away side stuck to their task manfully in such heat. One player was deserving of special praise however; wicket keeper David Malpass putting on an exceptional display behind the sticks. Taking three good catches and letting through not a single bye, Malpass more than repaid the skipper’s faith in him.

Leeds Sikh 130-9 (S Bedford 3-16 ; A Patrick 2-31 ; S Mehmood 2-39 ; J Allen 2-40)

Congs got off to a poor start, losing Ahtsham Ahmed and in form Qasim Khan to leave them 11-2. Graham Curtis was back this week however and he steadied the ship with Mohammed Zulfikar, adding 25 for the third wicket. Curtis clipped a wonderful ball off his hip for the only six of the game at one point before he was dreadfully unlucky to receive a brute of a ball from Harcharan Seehra that took the glove.

But this brought together the partnership of the entire game between Zulfikar and Steve Bedford. Both strained their every sinew to repel spinners Seehra and Pritpal Saggu. The slow bowlers were making batting an arduous task but with bags of patience, the pair managed to bat Pudsey into a position of strength. Zulfikar would be the first to admit that his innings was significantly outside of his comfort zone but boy, did he stick to his task. Batting for 142 minutes and facing 126 balls, Zulfikar took Congs to the brink of victory before he was dreadfully unlucky to receive a pea roller from Seehra.

Bedford at the other end had equally given everything in his unquestioned MOM performance but with the finishing line in sight he smashed a ball straight at extra cover. Sandwiched as it was by the wickets of Joe Royce and Dave Malpass, Congs looked to be in danger of throwing the game away when Saqib Mehmood holed out.

But as has so often happened this season, Adam Patrick, aka, ‘The Finisher’ strode to the middle, seemingly under no pressure whatsoever. He was joined by his captain and the equation was simple, 11 runs from 12 balls. Singles were taken from the first three before Patrick smashed the fourth back over the bowler’s head and when the ball was mis-fielded, it flew over the line. Patrick missed the next two balls and therefore Congs needed four off the last over.

A scrambled leg bye meant the equation was three off four balls and after an eternity of field rearranging, Chandrasekaran finally bowled the third ball which Patrick swept viciously to the square leg boundary. He had kept his head at the end of a game, yet again and the boy wonder can be very proud to have played such a massive role in Congs’ title challenge thus far.

To do the double over any team in Division A is a feat in itself but to complete it over Leeds Sikh will live long in the memory of those involved. This was a monumental team effort to win against a side enjoying something of a renaissance, in far from ideal conditions. And whilst people talk about the youth policy of Congs, the fact is that the youngsters in this team just happen to be more than good enough, playing massive roles in the team’s success. With ten matches still to be played, Congs maintain their lead at the top.

Pudsey Congs 132-8 (S Bedford 43 ; M Zulfikar 39)

Pudsey Congs (18pts) beat Leeds Sikh (7pts) by 2 wickets


Pudsey Congs v Bradford Moor

PPM Cup Semi Final

at Fulneck

Sunday June 30th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Congs lost, match report to follow.


Shipley Providence v Pudsey Congs

at Salts CC

Saturday June 29th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Congs headed into the final game of the first round of fixtures in confident mood but knowing they would receive a frosty reception in Saltaire. Dom Allen won the toss and opted to bat on a wicket that could kindly be described as having inconsistent grass growth. And the pitch played about as poorly as one might have expected with league bowler Ricky Taylor reducing Congs to 16-3 with Mohammed Zulfikar, Ahtsham Ahmed and Qasim Khan all back in the hutch.

Mark Ferguson batting at No 4 decided to take on Taylor and beat him hands down, savagely pulling his attempts to bounce out the youngster. He and Majid Ali Baig moved Congs almost to a position of strength with Baig combining some deft cuts through third man with clips down to long leg. An excellent partnership of 55 was ended when Baig was trapped on the back foot by Jonny Thompson and whenFerguson quickly followed after a rare misjudgement, Congs were once again in the mire at 72-5.

Steve Bedford was joined by Dom Allen and the pair battled to add a further 28 runs in tetchy mood due to the unpleasant comments emanating from certain Shipley fielders. Allen in particular played a gruesomely ugly knock but one which was vital for the conditions. Bedford continued on after Allen was replaced by Umar Mohammed and both looked to take more overs out of the game, eking out whatever runs they could in the process. Umar smashed several tasty blows and was backed up by Adam Patrick who clobbered a six into the River Aire.

Saqib Mehmood and Jamie Allen toiled at the end but Mehmood could just not hold out to prevent Prov receiving an extra over. The real plaudits in this innings went to Ferguson and in particular Bedford who not only held everything together but scored 34 runs that were worth more than double on any other track. At tea Congs would have felt confident with 50 runs less than they had scored.

Pudsey Congs 160 all out (S Bedford 34 ; M Ferguson 31)

Tight opening spells yet again from Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen led the way for Pudsey Congs to take a stranglehold on the game. Allen brilliantly caught and bowled Carl Ward for just 7 and when danger man Humare Amjad was perhaps slightly unlucky to be given out caught down the leg side, Congs were on a roll. Raza Ali became ridiculously embroiled in challenge from Patrick to smash him into theLeeds Liverpool Canal and when he skewed it straight up in the air, Majid Ali Baig ran around from backward point to take a great catch.

Patrick then shot a ball through Thompson to leave Prov 49-4 before a fast bowling master class from Saqib Mehmood reduced them to 57-7 and almost out of the game. This haul also included the catch of the decade from Baig at backward point, diving full length to his left and grasping the ball one handed, only for the umpire to call no ball. Amazingly, the batsman smashed the next ball at Qasim Khan and this time Mehmood did not overstep.

Mehmood took his final wicket with a peach of a fast away swinger, well snaffled by Umar Mohammed after which Congs inadvertently took their foot off the gas. Jamie Allen was reintroduced into the attack and he removed Taylor with a yorker that knocked middle stump out of the ground. Adam Patrick finalised proceedings with a straight ball that Dunne attempted to steer down to third man.

The final margin made a mockery of the gulf between the two teams and in reality, Shipley were flattered to the tune of around 60 runs. There was a huge degree of arm chancing in the majority of Shipley’s runs and more than half of their total was scored by their last three batters.

So this completes the full round of fixtures and Congs can be very proud to sit at the summit of Division A, 36 points clear of their nearest rivals, having played every team once. Their attention now turns briefly to the semi final of the cup tomorrow before we play everybody all over again.

Shipley Providence 118 all out (S Mehmood 4-20 ; A Patrick 4-37 ; Jm Allen 2-20)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Shipley Providence (7pts) by 42 runs


Pudsey Congs v Cookridge “A”

At Fulneck

Saturday June 22nd, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Congs have learnt to ignore gloomy weather predictions and despite the rain around lunchtime, this game commenced just about on the dot after the covers were removed to reveal a hard track with just a couple of damp patches. Dom Allen won the toss and despite the conditions had no hesitation in electing to bat. But what a surprise to see the amount of bounce in the wicket. Every ball in the opening over bowled by Jhangir Gulzar carried through to the keeper at virtually head height and set the tone for the day. Congs lost Ahtsham Ahmed in the fourth over for just two and spectators would have been forgiven for thinking this would be a very low scoring affair.

But this would have been to reckon without the talent and application of Qasim Khan who proved once and for all in this match that he is going to be a real force for this club for many years to come. In a score of 54, Qasim was one of only two batsmen that seemed to revel in the bouncy conditions. Confidently and intelligently he saw off the main danger man Gulzar, whilst picking off boundaries at will from the other end. Exquisite timing seems to be a feature of Congs’ youngsters these days but rarely can anyone have timed it better than the former Leeds Sikh junior in this innings. It should be noted that he was devastated to get out shortly after raising his bat and this demonstrates a healthy greed for runs that will serve him well.

One victim of the lively wicket was Jacques Allen who had to retire hurt after taking a nasty blow on the thumb. At the time of writing, this had not been scanned but it does not look good and a fracture would rule him out for several weeks. A healthy partnership of 33 between Majid Ali Baig and Navin Bose moved the Congs total past 100, despite the running between the pair appearing unnecessarily fraught at times. Bose then continued in a further partnership with Umar Mohammed to increase the tempo and was the only other player to enjoy the conditions. Scoring 38 from just 40 balls, including two huge and effortless sixes, Bose looked in imperious nick.

Adam Patrick played arguably his most intelligent innings at the end, making 17 not out and what was an already excellent cricket brain, is developing week on week. He was fully aware of the bonus point system throughout his innings, including telling Saqib Mehmood not to swing at the last delivery because this might gift another point to our rivals. Not that he listened to a word of it! But the final pairing had combined superbly to take Congs up to what seemed a mammoth score on such a track.

Pudsey Congs 164-7 (Q Khan 54 ; N Bose 38)

During the tea break, a dirty black cloud enveloped the ground which necessitated the covers to be dragged on. When the rain had diminished, Cookridge asked for the roller to be applied which seemed an unusual request based on the way the wicket had played in the first innings and seemed certain to increase the bounce. Sure enough, the first ball hit Cookridge captain Neil Bonnington in the midriff and set the tone for the innings.

Adam Patrick opened with Jamie Allen and the pair stifled the life out of the Cookridge batsmen. Allen had ‘opener’ Zaheer Ahmed caught after two wild slogs but Bonnington and Dom Wyatt dug in to such an extent that the scoreboard began to seize up. With Patrick bowling wicket to wicket and Allen lifting the ball alarmingly from just back of a length, a mid wicket conference ensued in which Bonnington was heard to express exasperation at the inability to score any runs. An attempt to bat more positively was always going to end in tears and within an over Patrick uprooted Wyatt’s middle stump, one of the great sights at any level of the game.

When Qasim Khan dropped Bonnington, he stayed alert to fire the ball at Patrick who raced Haroon Rashid to the stumps, winning the contest easily to leave Cookridge teetering on 22-3. Bonnington tried manfully to advance the total but after a number of attempts, holed out to Ahtsham Ahmed at extra cover, who it has to be said fielded brilliantly all afternoon and how he didn’t win the fielding point is one of life’s great mysteries.

Knowing that Cookridge were already struggling to come to terms with their inability to score runs, Allen brought on Saqib Mehmood to twist the knife. In his most impressive display so far this year, Mehmood bowled a magnificent combination of short pitched balls (which reared at the batsmen) with pitched up deliveries. The removal of the off stump of Rob Ford was the undoubted highlight of a superb spell that saw Mehmood finish with six wickets and all achieved bowling in trainers would you believe! At the other end, Majid Ali Baig contributed with the ball also, picking up a wicket late on and his Brett Lee style fist pump had the home fielders in tears (of laughter).

So probably the most complete performance of the season saw Congs demolish second placed Cookridge by a very large margin and issue a warning to other teams at the same time. With Steve Bedford, Graham Curtis and at least one second teamer to still fit into this team, Congs strength will be improved even further as they aim to increase the gap at the top which now stands at 26 points.

Cookridge 72 all out (S Mehmood 6-23)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Cookridge (3pts) by 92 runs


Hepworth and Idle v Pudsey Congs

at Westfield Lane, Idle

Saturday June 15th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Are weather forecasters so terrified of litigation nowadays that they predict doomsday at the merest hint of rain, just to cover themselves? According to the predictions, every game in the league was to be washed out this weekend. And in reality, every game in all three divisions was played to a conclusion.

This game in particular was contested on a rock hard, dry surface and but for the game commencing 10 minutes late and the taking of an early tea, it was unaffected by the prophecies of doom. Dom Allen won the toss and decided to bat on the bouncy surface. Mohammed Zulfkar and Ahtsham Ahmed opened up and as per their usual brief, looked to bat overs. This they achieved to great effect, scoring at a perfectly reasonable rate in the process. Both played some fine strokes and enjoyed the lightning fast outfield they have not experienced at home thus far.

In fact, the pair went on to notch their second consecutive 50 partnership in the 16th over before Ahmed leading edged a ball (again) to depart for 25. If he can cut that one deficiency out, it is difficult to see how anyone will get this kid out and he has a magnificent temperament to boot. Qasim Khan had scored nearly 150 runs in his last three innings, including junior games but a touch of over confidence may have crept into his play when he drove firmly at Mark Saunders and was caught by stalwart Dave Matthews at gully.

Jacques Allen joined Zulfikar and the pair picked up where they left off last week. They clearly bat well together, Zulfikar providing much needed maturity to the young upstart. Just as yet another half century beckoned for Zulfikar, he managed to smash a caught and bowled chance back at Bradley that was not going to be dropped. After putting on 34 with Zulfikar, Allen put on a further 21 with double centurion Mark Ferguson before he too was a victim of another excellent Bradley caught and bowled.

Ferguson did not look overawed by his introduction into Division A as a batsman and played a number of classy looking strokes. After his departure the innings rather tapered away. Umar Mohammed did hit one huge six but a target score of 210 had been massively downgraded to 160ish at the early tea.

This was before Saqib Mehmood went quickly from hero to villain. Into the penultimate over, Mehmood was given licence to hit the ball and connected beautifully with a six and four. He then hit the first ball of the final over for four, meaning the team needed four runs from five balls to claim maximum batting points.

Quite unbelievably dear reader, this didn’t happen because as result of five wild swings (egged on by people on the side that should have appreciated the game situation), only two runs arose. Allen read the absolute riot act at the mid interval break, pointing out that the mentality of several players must change. Going forward the use of the name Shahid Afridi or the term ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ is now banned within and around the third team.

Pudsey Congs 173-9 (M Zulfikar 45 ; Jq Allen 26 ; A Ahmed 25 ; M Ferguson 23)

Kiwi Andy Clinton opened the batting for Idle but lasted just the one ball, thanks to Zulfikar’s stunning catch running around from square to take a real steepler. The team went wild at such a massive start and never looked back. Whilst Deegan may have been unlucky to be given caught behind, he had already received a huge pile of fortune when he was given a first ball reprieve. Next was the turn of Adam Patrick, when the ball was driven like a tracer bullet to short extra cover. But when that fielder is Umar Mohammed, the batsman tends to be in bother. He not only clung on but repeated the feat off the very next ball from Jamie Allen and the away side were given to wonder whether a fielder had ever taken a hat trick.

From 11-4, Hepworth Idle’s chase was just about over before it began. Sean McEvoy came out in a typically pugnacious mood but his stoke play seemed to suggest that this was due to a lack of confidence rather than the opposite. It did not take long for him to attempt an audacious swing at an Allen delivery and the excessive bounce created by the giant produced a thick edge. McEvoy’s ludicrous attempt to bluff that he hadn’t hit the cover off the ball fooled no-one and Idle were 22-5.

Glen Pinkney joined Mark Saunders and the pair put on an impressive 37, frustrating the Congs bowlers in the process. In the end it was the drinks break that did for Pinkney who was castled by Saqib Mehmood first ball back. Saunders continued in his valiant attempt to bring respectability to the Idle total and made a number of clean strikes during his 39 before Jamie Allen got back in on the act to catch him out at long on for 39. Late order slogging from Dave Matthews was to no avail as the final two Hepworth wickets fell to Mark Ferguson and Mehmood respectively with the only downside being Jamie Allen not getting the chance for a much deserved five wicket haul.

Despite the captain’s annoyance at tea, it cannot be denied that this was a pretty impressive and conclusive victory by a talented young team. Umpire Derek Best commented at the conclusion of the game that not only have Congs put together an impressive side, they play the game in the right way and in the right spirit. Allen was then complimented further by Glen Pinkney at the handshakes who reiterated Best’s comments and stated how impressive the youngsters in the team are.

It is fantastic to receive such accolades and in particular for them to come from respected parties outside of the Congs set up but as legend John Patrick would always counsel, “We’ve done nothing yet lads!” And he would be right. But for the time being, the team should celebrate extending their lead at the top of Division A to 23 points with the mouth watering clash of first versus second to come next week.

Hepworth Idle 92 all out (Jm Allen 4-11 ; M Ferguson 2-18 ; S Mehmood 2-33)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat Hepworth Idle (5pts) by 81 runs


 Baildon v Pudsey Congs

PPM Cup Second Round

at Jenny Lane

Sunday June 9th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

A warm and pleasant day greeted this cup tie after early morning drizzle had burnt away. Whilst Congs made only one change from the previous day with Steve Bedford coming back from chess duties, Baildon arrived at their main ground with an unrecognisable team containing seven changes, most of which had played Bradford League 2nd Team, 1st Division 24 hours earlier.

The Baildon captain Ashley Free must be superb at poker because he made a bewildering request of Dom Allen at the toss that seemed to be a joke but somehow he managed carry it off with a straight face.

He wondered whether Baildon’s best player, Brad Hinchcliffe, could be replaced by a substitute fielder (that substitute incidentally being a first team player) when he had to leave at 5.30pm . The Congs skipper considered Free’s request for a full millisecond before politely providing his opposite number with short shrift.

Despite the request, Free still decided to bat on winning the toss, meaning that Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen opened the bowling two days running. Both bowled four very tight overs and at the end of his last over, Patrick induced the Baildon captain into hitting his own wicket. Next into the attack, Qasim Khan and Umar Mohammed both fulfilled the role of the ‘fifth’ bowler. Whilst not quite as tight, they each managed to pick up huge scalps to put Baildon on the back foot. Star batsman Brad Hinchcliffe played on off a short fast delivery from Khan, having looked dangerous with anything pitched up. Then Tawquir Ahmed also played on off Mohammed to leave Baildon wobbling at 66-3.

At the other end Majid Hussain had been playing some extraordinary shots that don’t appear in any opening batsman’s coaching manual but his fortune came to an abrupt end when he was run out at the non-striker’s end. Steve Bedford (introduced into the attack) got his fingers to a straight drive from James Butterfield and Hussain had to go. And it was all downhill for Baildon as Bedford ran through the home line up with alarming ease. If the home team had ever seen away swing bowling previously, they seemed to have great difficulty in recalling it as batsman after batsman came and went with puzzled expressions on their faces.

Saqib Mehmood was his usual tormenting self from the other end and it is clear that his reputation now precedes him in the Dales Council. Twice he whistled balls through batters that were simply too quick. Fittingly, the innings was polished off by Bedford with another away swinger and Baildon had been bundled out for just 114. The captain stated at tea that he would have settled for 60 or 70 more than that at the toss.

Baildon 114 all out ( S Bedford 4-17 ; S Mehmood 2-20)

The same opening pair from the previous day took to the middle and instantly looked at home in the warm sun and decent setting. In no rush whatsoever with such a low total on the board, Ahtsham Ahmed placed a number of deft cuts through third man to get Congs’ chase underway. And it wasn’t long before Mohammed Zulfikar got on the move with a text book collection of drives and cuts.

The innings was positively purring along; both batsmen mixing solid defence with exquisite timing. Just as the score neared 50, Zulfikar launched second team off spinner Tawquir Ahmed over long off for six, although he was aided by some poor fielding. Unfortunately, this was his last scoring shot and with the total standing at 56, Zulfi spooned up a catch to young Danny Hunt.

Umar Mohammed was next in and looked in decent nick before Farid Shah managed to slip one through his defences. Ahtsham continued on his merry way and looked to be taking the game home before a leading edge ended his fine innings. Mature and composed, he had broken the back of the small target.

With 30 still needed, one of the stars of the previous day’s match, Jacques Allen, joined Qasim Khan. On this occasion however, Allen was to play second fiddle because Khan put together a quite superb knock. Scoring only one run off his first dozen or so balls, Qasim was in no mood to give anything away. Once he was confident his eye was in and he had seen off the Baildon off spinner, he loosened up and began to play his shots. This was possibly his best innings so far because it was cleverly constructed and for a lad so young, he has a great understanding of the game.

The last few runs came in a flurry and the target was successfully surpassed with 7.2 overs to spare. This was another excellent result for the team, against a side that, on paper, should have been a lot more dangerous. The combination of young and old works wonders for Congs and on top of this, they have bags of team spirit. So, a third semi final appearance in four years for the team but this time around, Congs are a much stronger force than in 2010 & 2011.

Pudsey Congs 118-3 (A Ahmed 38 ; Q Khan 35 not out ; M Zulfikar 25)

Pudsey Congs beat Baildon by 7 wickets


Pudsey Congs v Baildon “A”

At Fulneck

Saturday June 8th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

The first of two games in two days versus Baildon was always likely to be something of a phoney war. Due in part to a mass walk out of their first team but also to the redeployment of some lower league players to ensure Cawthorne Cup qualification, the away team were a little weaker than usual. Dom Allen lost the toss and Danny Metcalfe opted to make use of a belting looking strip.

A father and son, Butterfield combination opened for Baildon with Don rolling back the years and looking as youthful as ever. After driving his first ball confidently down the ground, James appeared to disappear into his shell as the regular Pudsey openers, Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen calculated that he might not be as clever, short of a length. Sure enough, Allen bowled a beautiful leg cutter that glanced Butterfield junior’s bat and Majid Ali Baig did the rest. To his immense credit, James did not hang around for an instant, a true sportsman like his father.

Unfortunately for Don though, he miscalculated that a fast in-swinger from first change Saqib Mehmood was going to miss off stump. In fact it hit it pretty hard and Baildon were 14-2. When Atif Mehmood was also undone by his namesake, Baildon were in real trouble at 18-3. In the very next over, Adam Patrick whistled the ball of the season past the nose of Simon Bullock, a complete rip-snorter that Bullock did exceptionally well to get out of the way of. Rattled, he edged the next ball low to the skipper at slip but alas, his bucket hands had deserted him on this occasion (as they often do when poor Paddy is bowling).

It appeared that the clanger may have been massive turning point as Bullock started to dominate the bowling. Fortunately however, wickets were still falling at the other end. Saqib Mehmood bowled Farid Shah to break the vital partnership and the wickets continued to tumble as debutant bowlers Qasim Khan and Ahtsham Ahmed picked up one apiece during tidy spells. Jamie Allen came back to run through the tail and polished off the innings with the bonus scalp of Bullock (who had batted quite superbly for 59), caught at long on, one handed by Qasim Khan, a brilliant catch that was somehow not worthy of the fielding point.

Baildon 126 all out (Jm Allen 4-21 ; S Mehmood 4-37)

Congs got off to a solid start in the form of Mohammed Zulfikar and Ahtsham Ahmed. The pair managed to put on an impressive and chanceless 26 before Ahmed had to go, trapped in front by a ball that kept a trifle low. Umar Mohammed was late on his very first ball and Congs were in a spot of bother at 26-2. When Qasim Khan had a disappointing drive at a regulation block ball, Congs were getting just a little twitchy at 44-3.

But in Jacques Allen, they have a seriously cool customer who appears completely unflappable in pressure situations, not unusual in itself until one recognises that the lad is only 14. With the evergreen run machine and staunch youth advocate Zulfikar at the other end, the pair combined superbly to chip away at the target. Zulfikar provided his usual dominance over the bowling and when his aggression got the better of him, Jacques marched down the pitch to tell him to cool it! Zulfikar brought up a well deserved 50 in just 57 balls as the home total passed 100.

With the game looking relatively safe and Allen into the 40s, the talk on the boundary was of whether he would have time to reach 50 before the target had been overcome. Stuck on 47 with the scores level it appeared not to be but as ever, Zulfi was wise to events and determined to give the youngster the opportunity at least, blocking the remainder of the over to leave Jacques on strike. He drove the first ball firmly to long off but declined the run and blocked the next. But seizing on a full ball next up, he shovelled it through mid wicket for both the winning runs and a much deserved maiden senior 50. The shot also capped a magnificent and unbroken 86 run partnership between the two.

Despite the drama, the most important issue to arise was that Congs took the maximum 20 points from the game to keep their title challenge in full flow after the previous week’s disappointing loss. They had come back strongly this week, even without one of their bowling lynchpins, Steve Bedford. The game had been played in a great spirit it must be said and Simon Bullock in particular was a pleasure to do battle with. The result therefore engendered much confidence to take into the next 24 hours and an extension of the lead in the table to nine points.

Pudsey Congs 130-3 (M Zulfikar 57 not out ; Jq Allen 51 not out)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Baildon (4pts) by 7 wickets


Pudsey Congs v Savile Stars “A”

At Fulneck

Saturday June 1st, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Yet again, the players arrived at Fulneck to find the best looking square in the Dales Council ruined by an outfield uncut and unacceptably long for a serious game of cricket. It is heartbreaking to see all of the amazing work carried out by groundsman Graham Curtis spoilt in this way. With a broken roller to boot, the 3rds and 4ths are doing it tough this year. On a more positive note, it was brilliant for everyone to see Curtis back in his whites for the game itself, adding some steel and maturity to the batting line up.

Savile Stars won the toss and could not decide what to do. After about 30 seconds and hurried consultations they opted to bowl first, wary of the low number of batting points they have acquired this year. After looking initially comfortable, both Qasim Khan and Ahtsham Ahmed departed with the score on four and with Majid Ali Baig in total self destruct mode, Congs were in trouble at 12-3. Fortunate to survive a confident appeal for caught behind, Umar Mohammed started to loosen his shoulders, albeit a little too freely for the captain’s liking at times.

With Curtis looking as solid as ever at the other end, the pair managed to take the score up to 46 before Umar departed, a little unluckily. Due to the exceptionally tight Savile bowling, the overs were ticking by and when Curtis was yorked by an Azhar delivery, Congs were once again in a hole at 47-5. Trying to bat time more than anything, the skipper and Steve Bedford scored 10 more runs in as many overs but every time a Congs batsman attempted to up the scoring rate, a wicket fell.

Saqib Mehmood, Zahid Mahmood and Jamie Allen managed to squeeze the final total to 90 off 44.2 overs but a pitch that has barely been rolled in four weeks, an outfield that resembled a long meadow and some very accurate Savile bowling were all mitigating factors in the low total.

Pudsey Congs 90 all out (U Mohammed 28)

Jamie Allen got Congs off to the perfect start, acquiring a caught behind in his first over. He doubled his tally two overs later, knocking the off stump of Uwais Patel out of the ground. When Steve Bedford induced Irfan Aziz to play on before acquiring an LBW to remove Javed Ismail, Stars were beginning to falter. Saqib Mehmood clean bowled Azhar Raja to leave Savile at 33-5 and seemingly destined for defeat.

But all credit to Tahir Raza who along with Riffat Kayani took the game away from Congs, although this was at a snail’s pace. Adam Patrick bowled Kayani to give Congs late hope but Raza held firm right to the end. It is not disingenuous to point out that he did receive more than his fair share of luck during the innings, playing and missing on at least 30 occasions and at one point being bowled with the bails failing to drop off.

But it would also be fair to say that Congs have enjoyed their own share of good fortune so far this season and on this occasion it just was not meant to be. Steve Bedford commented after the game that this was one low total too many for the bowlers to defend and it is absolutely correct that the batsmen do need to produce more runs, more consistently. But one must mention that had the Congs bowlers attacked the stumps, they would probably be still unbeaten. So the end of a long winning streak which dates back to last July, Congs will now be looking to ensure this result is a mere blip as they look forward to a double header with Baildon next weekend.

Savile Stars (Jm Allen 2-12 ; S Bedford 2-19)

Savile Stars (18pts) beat Pudsey Congs (4pts) by 4 wickets


Farnley Hill v Pudsey Congs

at the Greyhound, Tong Village

Saturday May 25th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Heavy rain on Friday meant the water table was pretty high, despite the first decent sunshine of the summer. Hence Dom Allen was not entirely disappointed to lose the toss, which resulted in Michael Watson opting to bat first. Adam Patrick opened the bowling this week with a new partner – Josh Purser fresh from an exam extravaganza and not having bowled for a month. Patrick set the tone for the day, bowling Ryan Grimes off his fourth ball with a peach of a delivery that pitched outside off and hit leg.

Chris Sowden and Liam Walsh steadied the ship for several overs before a Purser full toss was blasted straight at the grateful Umar Mohammed at extra cover. The lad has wonderful hands and despite the high velocity of the ball, he clung on for dear life, knowing that Sowden was indeed a key wicket. After a couple of typical Walshy strokes, Patrick acquired the third breakthrough of the afternoon with the score on 32, inducing the batsman into playing on, helped also by some Steve Bedford ingenuity at short leg that had left him in two minds.

From that point on the Farnley batting went into a downward spiral. Bedford , introduced into the attack, took just two balls to get inside the head of John Waterfield and after an ugly leg side hoik, tried the same, only to lose his middle stump. Patrick’s third wicket, a beautiful slower ball (that seemed to take the best part of 10 seconds to drop onto the leg bail) removed Watson and when Bedford had top run scorer Gethin Clarke caught by bucket hands Umar, the game was almost up for Farnley.

Gary Eckard valiantly blocked and blocked and must have been wondering if he had made the right decision to stay with Hill in the close season. He finally succumbed to a brilliant away swinging yorker that clipped his off stump and after Bedford was denied the wicket of Pankaj Rathore, the game turned into the Qasim Khan show; two brilliant pieces of fielding to run out the late order batsmen. His fine work was sandwiched by Saqib Mehmood uprooting the middle stump of Steve Harris.

Not many teams could bring on Saqib Mehmood after 25 overs on a bowler friendly pitch but it speaks volumes of ‘Paddy’s’ performance here, quite possibly his best ever bowling. Delivering nine maidens in all, he strangled the life out of the Farnley Hill line up. It should also be stated that, other than the odd gripe, the general fielding was of a very high standard, especially behind the wicket where Josh Purser in particular must have saved 30 runs at fine leg.

Farnley Hill 52 all out (A Patrick 12-9-12-3 ; S Bedford 8-3-13-3)

The captain stated at tea that wickets intact were of vital importance, not only to acquire the much needed batting points but to regain some of the confidence, slightly eroded by the previous week’s collapse. Mohammed Zulfikar for one was in no mood for a repeat. He launched Eckard’s first delivery over extra cover for four and never looked back.

Combining beautifully timed drives with deft strokes off the back foot (one cut through the slips being particularly exquisite), Zulfikar took the game away from Farnley Hill at a brisk pace. In all scoring 43 not out off only 36 balls he prevented any chance of a contest, however unlikely the prospect had appeared at tea. Saving his best till near the last, a six into the adjacent field was extremely pleasing on the eye and it went so far, the fielders did not even bother looking for the ball. At the other end, Ahtsham Ahmed had played a brilliant foil to Zulfikar’s attacking style, ensuring there was just no way back for Hill. Unflustered, he once again showed the technique and temperament that will see him rise up the echelons of this great club.

So, a hugely convincing victory sees Congs consolidate their position at the top of Division A against a decent side that came up against bowlers who were just, too good. Next week sees us host Savile Stars and it is quite clear Congs will need to maintain such high standards against a team that have only lost one game thus far.

Pudsey Congs 55-0 (M Zulfikar 43 not out)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Farnley Hill (0pts) by 10 wickets


Pudsey Congs v Halifax Direct

At Fulneck

Saturday May 18th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Two weeks running the forecast predicted little cricket and two weeks running the forecast was shown to be inadequate. Suggestions that Pudsey would almost disappear under a deluge of water proved to be hopelessly out of touch and intermittent light rain in the morning had all but vanished by 1 o’clock . The wicket was wet however and both captains agreed to wait an hour and invoke a 35 over a side contest.

Naz Khan won the toss and somewhat surprisingly opted to bat on the damp surface. Jamie Allen picked up a wicket in his first over, bowling danger man Ashfaq Khan off his pads for a duck. His brother Jacques then got into the act with a magnificent run out of Arfan Shah to leave Halifax 8-2. Rizwan Darr soon followed, attempting a suicidal second run and not counting on a quite brilliant throw from Adam Patrick to leave the batsman yards short of his ground. Patrick then caught and bowled captain Naz Khan to reduce the away side further to 20-4.

A superb catch from Qasim Khan running backwards, followed by a straightforward pouch from Majid Ali Baig left HD reeling at 29-6. This became 35-7 when Jamie Allen had Farhan Khan well caught by Baig. But an enforced bowling change, for once, failed to work for Congs with Zilly Shah using the extra pace of Saqib Mehmood to plunder the ball through the leg side.

Mehmood did finally achieve a breakthrough but only once the score had doubled to 71 before he finally wreaked revenge on Shah. Steve Bedford picked up the last wicket, well caught by Jacques Allen at mid-wicket but it all felt a little bit like Halifax had slipped the noose. The pick of the bowlers this week were unquestionably Patrick and Allen, both putting in seriously good spells in difficult conditions.

Halifax Direct 81 all out (Jm Allen 3-18 ; S Mehmood 2-20 ; A Patrick 2-26)

The Pudsey reply began quite solidly, Ahtsham Ahmed looking like he is destined for much bigger and better things. Although the HD bowlers beat the bat a couple of times, it looked like the openers needed to see off the hardness of the new ball to take the game home. A ball that Zulfikar just could not get out of the way of saw him depart with the score on 16 and one run later Ahmed followed, caught on the rebound behind the wicket.

Arbaab Hussain looked classy from ball one, clipping a beauty off his legs for four. Qasim Khan was unlucky to depart after a cut carried all the way to third man and when Hussain set off down the pitch only to be stumped and Steve Bedford played around a straight ball, Congs were starting to feel the pressure. Majid Ali Baig relieved this slightly before he too succumbed and when the skipper failed to trouble the scorers, Halifax clearly felt they were home and hosed.

But that would be to reckon without the immense character and steely determination of our young players. Jacques Allen looked a vision of calmness in putting on 20 with Adam Patrick. Both timed early boundaries to perfection. Allen was cruelly undone again with just nine required by a yorker before Mehmood could not help himself and Congs looked like they may get stranded.

Enter Jamie Allen looking a little more pugnacious than normal and settled early with Patrick. The pair cleverly blocked out every decent ball whilst nudging singles to bring the target closer, albeit agonisingly slowly. For what seemed like a couple of hours the pair chipped away in singles and never lost concentration. Then finally, Allen saw his opportunity and punched a drive down the ground to bring two runs to win the game for Congs. Patrick dived into the crease Monty Panesar style for no apparent reason and the home support erupted. This really was a remarkable show of resilience and courage shown by the final pairing and in fact all of the young players in this game.

Coping also with, it has to be said, completely over the top and intimidatory appealing, Congs can be very proud that they are not only winning but are playing the game in the correct spirit. The captain regularly rebukes his players for any infringements he deems might be a departure from the spirit of the game and it is sad that not all teams share this philosophy.

With so few games played, Congs have stolen a real march on many other teams in the league and extended their lead in Division A to 24 points. The skipper will be looking for a stronger showing from the adults in the next match, although the confidence gained by the kids in this game will be invaluable in the coming weeks and they are to be saluted for their showing.

Pudsey Congs 82-9 (A Hussain 16 ; A Patrick 13 not out)

Pudsey Congs (16pts) beat Halifax Direct (5pts) by 1 wicket


 New Wortley v Pudsey Congs

at Roundhay Oval

Saturday May 11th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

If you’d listened to the forecast, you may have been tempted to avoid this table topping clash on the assumption it would fall prey to the rain. But as it turned out, the beautiful Roundhay Oval was hampered by nothing more than a couple of passing showers, although it was a pretty chilly day. And what an event packed day, which began with New Wortley winning the toss and opting to bat.

After tight bowling from both Jamie Allen and Adam Patrick, it was Allen that achieved the first breakthrough with an absolute beauty that he got through Safiullah Khan’s defence to remove the danger man for just eight runs. Patrick reciprocated in the following over with a ball that popped on Mumtaz to leave New Wortley on 20-2.

The concentration of the team was shattered however when, in Saqib Mehmood’s second over, Zahid Mahmood threw out a hand at what would have been a straightforward slip catch, managing only to deflect the ball into the face of the skipper at first slip. A fountain of claret ensued and a trip to the hospital was necessitated but the captain was lucky to have at least three doctors in the opposition ranks to whom he is immensely grateful.

And possibly still in shock after witnessing an ugly man, made more ugly, the bowling went off the boil a little. This was understandable and the situation cannot have been easy with no obvious vice captain to take up the reigns (are you listening Graham Curtis??). But with the score having rattled to 93-2, Steve Bedford acquired a massive breakthrough in trapping Suskandla for 42. Skipper Rasool followed him after a brilliant, if slightly unorthodox catch was taken on the boundary by Mohammed Zulfikar.

Azian Khan came and went in the blink of an eye, looking almost Make Gatting-esque when he was bowled by the ball of the season so far; a gem of a delivery from Bedford that set off on middle and leg and clipped the top of off. When top batsman Farhan Saeed was caught behind off Saqib Mehmood, NW collapsed to 98-7. It has to be said that some rather agricultural shots boosted the score to 133 but Bedford and Saqib enjoyed the last laugh, once again finishing with four apiece.

New Wortley 133 all out ( S Bedford 4-44 ; S Mehmood 4-52)

An attempt at a whirlwind start from Zahid Mahmood backfired to leave Congs on 10-1 and when Mohammed Zulfikar received an appalling delivery that took a huge chink from the pitch, the team were in real trouble at 20-2. Qasim Khan and Navin Bose more than steadied the ship to take the score past 50 before another popped ball saw the demise of Bose.

Steve Bedford joined Qasim and the pair looked close to invincible out in the middle, timing the ball nicely and making a big dent in the target. But when they had looked to be coasting home, Bedders managed to run himself out going for an unnecessary second run before Qasim received a shocking bounce, with the ball rolling along the floor. He had looked magnificent to this point and it took such a misbehaving ball to remove him.

Enter the fray two further youngsters, Umar Mohammed and Jacques Allen. The pair put on 35 for the sixth wicket to take Congs within nine of victory and both timed the ball to perfection. Sadly Jacques could not quite see the game through to the end and after Saqib managed to sky his first ball out to deep extra cover, a nervy ending ensued. So much so that the skipper, patched up by the medics, returned and padded up.

Thankfully, there was no need because a beautiful slog sweep from Adam Patrick for six was followed by an even bigger one to win the game which sailed over the clubhouse. So, a tremendous win over the fellow table toppers that sends Congs 13 points clear at the summit of Division A. What an achievement for this tight knit, highly talented team and all done whilst playing the game in the correct spirit, as it has to be said do New Wortley who were, to a man, extremely gracious in defeat. NW are an absolute credit to the Dales Council when one considers some of the bad press the league has received in days gone by.

Congs will now be looking to build on this wonderful start and keep doing the little things correctly. It is hoped the skipper will be fit and raring to go come next Saturday when Halifax Direct are in town, wanting to dent the league’s only 100% record.

Pudsey Congs 137-7 (Q Khan 29 ; U Mohammed 19 no ; S Bedford 19 ; Jq Allen 17)

Pudsey Congs (19pts) beat New Wortley (6pts) by 3 wickets


 Pudsey Congs v Adel

At Fulneck

Saturday May 4th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

A bright and breezy day at Fulneck awaited Congs who welcomed Adel for a very early season, top versus bottom clash. The setting looked a picture, bathed in the first genuine sunshine of the season but the real gem was the wicket itself. Groundsman Graham Curtis has performed his usual understated brilliance on the square over the close season and this wicket was the first confirmation that his work has paid off. Congs were also honoured to have the President, Alan Glover and Vice President, former Chairman and Mr Pudsey Congs, Ralph Middlebrook in attendance. Both have provided some much treasured feedback (which can be read elsewhere on these pages) and their support was deeply valued.

Dom Allen was understandably elated to win the toss and make first use of the track which looked not far off county standard. Mohammed Zulfikar faced the first ball of the day with the skipper’s voice still ringing in his ears. Allen had pleaded for the team to take more responsibility and keep wickets in hand for the back end. Zulfikar most certainly achieved this and way beyond because he also faced the final ball of the innings, smashing it back over the bowler’s head.

In between, the side had lost Zahid Mahmood with the score on 12 but a second wicket partnership of 73 gave Congs a grip on the game that they never released. Zulfikar brought up his 50 in double quick time and but for one audacious swing, played a succession of beautiful strokes, all correct and mainly in the ‘v’. One effortless six straight back over the bowler’s head was the highlight and when he went to fetch the ball, the fielder may well have been tempted to flag down a passing taxi back to the ground. Qasim Khan had looked in good touch once again before departing for 14.

Debutant Ahtsham Ahmed impressed with a compact and highly convincing knock before the young prospect got a leading edge to backward point but most certainly, he looks an exciting prospect for the future. Zulfikar was joined by Steve Bedford with the score on 121, with Bedford providing Zulfikar with fresh impetus. The pair gratefully took up all of the singles on offer as the field spread but also indulged in seriously powerful strokeplay to move the score up and beyond maximum batting points. Bedford departed for 36 and it was a significant contribution both for the team and his own confidence.

Umar Mohammed joined Zulfikar in what turned out to be the final pairing and they added 21 more runs in the final three overs. It has to be said that, to carry your bat through 45 overs requires great concentration and stamina under normal circumstances. But to do it with a seriously bruised hand that had seemed certain to end the innings early shows a serious level of character, in all batting for 128 balls and 157 minutes. It must be noted that Adel bowled well and fielded brilliantly to limit Congs to a score that could have been far higher.

Pudsey Congs 221-4 (M Zulfikar 112 not out ; S Bedford 36)

Steve Grey got Adel off to a rollicking start, plundering the Congs opening bowlers (Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen) for nine fours. His dominance was a clear danger to Congs in that he had scored 50 of the first 60 Adel runs before Steve Bedford trapped him in front of all three for a desperately needed breakthrough. Saqib Mehmood joined Bedford and he clearly enjoyed bowling on a hard and bouncy track with the wind behind him. Beating the bat almost at will, he gave every batsman that faced him the hurry up.

After an excellent run out from Patrick, Mehmood set about the Adel batting line up with a ferocity seldom seen at this level. From 81-1 and well placed, Mehmood destroyed the Adel middle order to leave them precariously placed at 92-6. One particular wicket was most certainly the highlight, a leg cutter at high pace that was brilliantly pouched behind the stumps by Zahid Mahmood to remove opposition skipper Rob Wallace. Mahmood had kept brilliantly all day and has clear talent in abundance.

Andy Firth and Mark Hinchcliffe moved the score on further with Zjak Grobbelaar to demonstrate there was still plenty of fight left in the Adel team. But Mehmood’s final two wickets left Adel teetering before Adam Patrick returning, cleaned things up to complete a full 20 point victory for Congs. Adel had shown they were nowhere near a bottom of the table side and provided stern resistance, thus Congs could be very proud of this win.

Built on two highly impressive individual performances, patience was the key with both bat and ball in this match and despite early setbacks, the whole team kept going to complete a thoroughly satisfying triumph that sees the team go joint top of Division A. As usual, the captain will be calling for feet to remain firmly anchored as there are a lot of strong teams and the season lasts until September. Two of the strong teams will in fact be played next weekend when we visit New Wortley on Saturday, followed by Savile Stars a day later.

Adel 148 all out (S Mehmood 6-33)

Pudsey Congs (20pts) beat Adel (5pts) by 73 runs


 Crompark v Pudsey Congs

at High Royds Park , Menston

Saturday April 27th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

Morning rain showers were followed by some surprisingly sunny intervals around lunchtime and a game that was in significant doubt (well at least according to Paddy Patrick) commenced on time. A wet but firm pitch led Crompark to insert Congs, much to Dom Allen’s pleasure, he being reluctant as ever to put teams in. A popped ball in the second over caused the removal of Zahid Mahmood and it appeared the home team’s decision might have been correct.

But Mohammed ‘Zulfi’ Zulfikar built an extremely solid partnership of 48 with young pretender, Qasim Khan. Watchful to begin with, Zulfi became more attacking before finally destroying Dan Dickens in one over. But the innings was pegged back by the excellent Amitt Khullar when he deceived the opener, leaving him trapped in front of all three. When Steve Bedford performed his least popular party piece (falling out of his crease) for the second week running and Majid Ali Baig lifted the ball straight to cover, Congs were in danger of wasting a great start.

An ultimately significant partnership of 28 between Khan and Umar Mohammed (two youngsters with bags of potential) saw Congs past 100 before Khan got another peach from Khullar and was cruelly removed five short of his maiden 50. Ill on the morning of the game, Khan showed bags of character to not only play but put together a match winning knock. Coupled with a wonderfully kind and considerate nature, this lad has already proved a great signing for the Congs set up.

His departure though triggered an almighty and ugly collapse leaving Congs on 109-8, having been 103-4 moments earlier. Stuck with more than 10 overs remaining, Dom Allen knew that gifting this number to Crompark would be disastrous. Jamie Allen helped out for five of them, timing two sublime fours before a great rearguard from Adam Patrick saw Congs over the 45 over line. Patrick launched a superb straight six that resulted in a nasty injury to Dickens, plus several well hit boundaries along the carpet. Congs must examine their approach to the middle order however, as the blocked overs toward the end of the innings were in essence wasted.

Pudsey Congs 145-9 (Q Khan 45 ; M Zulfikar 36)

Expecting the ball to pop, Congs placed two fielders in close which reaped dividends immediately, although this was more down to a brilliant catch and clever piece of thinking from Liam Stanhope. Almost off the face of the bat, the ball went quickly to him at short mid-wicket. Realising it would have been nigh on impossible to catch, he cleverly parried the ball in the air and easily caught the ball as it came back, only to be mobbed by his teammates.

Yet again, Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen bowled superbly but received little in the way of fortune. Satnam Thiara batting at No 3 for Crompark never really looked comfortable but managed through a combination of bold strokeplay and it has to be said great fortune managed to make 34, boosting the total to 40. But his captain at the other end faced 41 balls for only two runs and seemed to place great pressure on his side. When he departed, a cluster of wickets essentially ended the game as a contest as Crompark collapsed to 46-6. This was due in no small part to Steve Bedford’s miserly and frankly too good off stump line, together with Saqib Mehmood’s extra pace; no small feat on a previously slow wicket.

The pair left Crompark in absolute tatters, Bedford conceding an almost comical six runs from 10 overs, Mehmood picking up four wickets for not many more. But to their credit the home side did not give in. As Allen juggled his immense embarrassment of riches in the bowling stakes in order to take the last four wickets, runs started to flow, the last wicket pairing being particularly annoying to Congs in adding 33.

It is a pretty impressive bowling attack that can leave a Bradford League legend such as Liam Stanhope till third change (albeit in part due to the crazy over limitations on youngsters) but there were signs of just a little complacency on the part of the overall attack here. Combined with a shoddy fielding display, there is much that needs to improve from this game but it’s good to be dissatisfied with elements of a win.

One person that will struggle to improve is our superb little scorer, Joe Stolarski who shows real enthusiasm and a commitment to the job with his new iPad app. Hopefully our resident genius in Canada will be able to get some of the great stats and scorecards that Joe produces online for you all to read.

Crompark 104 all out (S Mehmood 4-16)

Pudsey Congs (18pts) beat Crompark (6pts) by 41 runs


 Pudsey Congs v Leeds Sikh “A”

At Fulneck

Saturday April 20th, 2013

Match report by Dom Allen

After a seemingly never ending winter, the season commenced in bright sunshine with acceptable temperatures. A new look square was to be put to the test for the first time after a large amount of off season work from the tireless Graham Curtis. Therefore Dom Allen wasted no time in stating he would bat on the flat looking track. Disappointingly, the outfield had not been cut and the irritating concept of runs counting double came into play.

Zahid Mahmood opened the batting with debutant Mohammed Zulfikar. They set the tone for the day in getting used to the pitch and keeping the attacking strokes to a minimum. A rush of blood put paid to Zulfi’s all day intentions, albeit due to a brilliant catch on the boundary. He was replaced by a further debutant and young talent Qasim Khan. Similar in temperament and technique to Arbaab Hussain, Qasim demonstrated both delicate strokeplay along with admirable patience in compiling an innings that lasted 64 minutes.

Steve Bedford completed the triumvirate of debutants at No 4 but after looking dangerous and comfortable, he succumbed to the guile of Seggu. Charging off down the track, he was unable to land his bat back on terra firma before the bails were disturbed by an impressive Sikh keeper. Majid Ali Baig strode out to the middle, a different cricketer these days who knows who he is and what he is. He top scored once again and lashed a number of cuts to the point boundary, no small feat considering the jungle-like outfield.

After Khan’s departure, the skipper was able to put on a small partnership with Baig before big shots from Baig himself, Saqib Mehmood and Jamie Allen boosted the total beyond 100. A brilliant last wicket partnership from Macauley Gaunt and Adam Patrick was literally timed to perfection, Patrick launching a boundary in the final over to achieve Congs’ third batting point.

Pudsey Congs 126-9 (M Ali Baig 24 ; Q Khan 22)

The scene was set for Leeds Sikh’s reply immediately when Adam Patrick and Jamie Allen opened the bowling. As an opening batsman Gurdeep Ryatt gives a bowler a great test. Respectful of all decent deliveries, he is particularly harsh on anything full or short. Both of these virtues came into play; Patrick and Allen consistently beating the bat to receive deferent nods of appreciation but Allen finding himself cut to the boundary a couple of times.

Patrick achieved the breakthrough with a beautiful slower ball which was pouched by the best kept secret in the history of the game, wicket keeper extraordinaire Majid Ali Baig. A complete natural, Baig pouched everything and let through just one bye all afternoon. His appointment owed much to the unerring insistence of little Adam Patrick and it was therefore fitting that he should snaffle the catch for him.

There followed a period where it appeared Sikh were becoming comfortable. Raghu Chanderasekeran blasted several boundaries and Congs were very aware that he could close out the match all on his own. They were therefore elated when he mistimed Steve Bedford’s very first delivery to Gaunt at mid on who never looked like dropping the catch above his head.

Not content with picking up the wicket of Sikh’s best batsman with a long hop, Bedford had the audacity to perform the same trick again minutes later, this time inducing legend Seehra to play on, off a delivery that almost engendered a foul mouthed obscenity from the pocket battleship. But seconds after the bail dropped off he was duly mobbed by his teammates instead.

Saqib Mehmood then arrived on the scene to rip the heart out of the remainder of the Sikh batting line up. Bowling big booming off cutters at a decent lick, Mehmood picked up four impressive wickets to silence the Sikh balcony. Although the penultimate pairing hung around for what seemed like an hour, a brilliant run out from Khan was followed by a clever slower ball from Bedford to end the match.

Had Congs been offered anything greater than six or seven points before the game, they may well have taken them. As it was they outplayed Sikh, really from start to finish. Showing a greater level of patience with the bat, together with an undeniably better bowling line up, the victory was set up by a superb all round team performance. Confidence will therefore have been bred from the opener and the team will look to capitalise when they visit Crompark next week but the captain will at the same time be demanding that everyone keeps their feet firmly on the ground.

Leeds Sikh 69 all out (S Bedford 4-14 ; S Mehmood 4-21)

Pudsey Congs (18pts) beat Leeds Sikh (4pts) by 57 runs