Tough start to Premier for Townville - but Methley’s new star off to flyer

Townville's Conor Harvey.
Townville's Conor Harvey.

It was a case of welcome to the Premier Division for Townville as they suffered a heavy defeat at Hanging Heaton in their first game in the All Rounder Bradford League’s top flight.

Fresh from promotion, Nick Bresnan’s men knew they were in for a tough task against opponents who came close to winning the title last year and have seen recruited well – and it proved a struggle all-round.

Hanging Heaton’s powerful batting line-up began the damage as they made 257-6 in their 50 overs. Opener Nick Connolly (61) gave them a good start before Joe Fraser (55) took it on and Yorkshire’s Josh Shaw weighed in with 44 from 30 balls.

All five bowlers used by Townville took wickets with Jack Hughes taking 2-68, Jack Hebden 1-58, Conor Harvey 1-52, Richie Bresnan 1-23 and new West Indian all-rounder Shkym Haynes 1-24.

Hanging Heaton’s close-season signing Callum Geldart made up for missing out with the bat as he took 4-32 with the ball, his off spin helping to bowl out Townville for a disappointing 120 in their reply.

Several Townville players got starts, but were unable to go on with Harvey top scoring with 26, Richie Bresnan hitting 22, Jonny Booth 17, Kris Ward 13 and Haynes 13.

Muhammad Akhlaq made an immediate impact after joining Methley for 2017 in a bid to help them gain promotion from Championship One.

Akhlaq, who plays for Lahore Blues in Pakistan, became the first player in the league’s history to hit a double century in his first game as he smashed his way to an amazing 214 not out in Methley’s 146-run win over Ossett. The 24-year-old hit 16 sixes and 18 fours in an innings which was just four runs short of the all-time league record of 218 set by Richard Gould for Gomersal against Great Horton in 2013.

Remarkably his spectacular 145-ball knock came only three days after he arrived in England and he had never played over here before.

With Marcus Walmsley also contributing 48, Dan Shuffe 33 and Grant Soames 22 not out, Methley were able to reach a massive 357-3 after going in first.

Ossett had a go in their reply, but were all out for 211 with talented 14-year-old left arm spinner Harry Sullivan taking 4-40, Sohail Raz 2-58 and Eddie Walmsley 2-35. Zubair Raje (56) top scored.

Great Preston made a winning start in the Conference as they beat league newcomers Sandal by 32 runs.

Opener Stuart Ruddick paved the way for the victory as he hit 86, including 15 fours and a six, as Preston piled up 256-6 from their 50 overs.

Support came from Lee Russell (32), James Marston (30) and Michael Wade, who hit an unbeaten 55 from 59 balls.

Opener Danny Riley got Sandal off to a good start to their reply with 75 before Sam Nooden weighed in with an unbeaten 53 from 43 balls, but they fell short, ending on 224-8 with Humphries and Marston taking two wickets each.

Methley Seconds chased down Ossett’s 228-9 to record a six-wicket win in their opening game in the Second Teams Championship One.

Richard Smart led the reply in fine style with a knock of 100 exactly while Joshua Neal hit 56 and David Winter 31.

Finlay Rooke had earlier done most to restrict Ossett as he took 4-35 while Robert Clegg claimed 2-55.

In the Second Teams Championship Two, Great Preston seconds bowled Scholes out for 165, but lost by 69 runs as they were dismissed for 96.

Alastair Firth, with 21, top scored in the disappointing reply, while David Illingworth, Clinton Griffiths and Clark took three wickets each for Preston.

Will Rich top scored with 42 to help Townville seconds’ to a 15-run win over Oulton in the Seconds Teams Conference.

Charlie Sykes weighed in with 25 and Tom Mellor 21 as Townville made 136-4 from their 45 overs before dismissing Oulton for 121 with new boy Luke Jacques taking 3-19 and Mellor 3-28.