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Transfers: All the moves as they happen
Sunday, March 9, 2014 21:47




Cleckheaton suffered a batting meltdown for the second-successive Sunday as they crashed out of the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy. Their 150-run semi-final defeat by York was every bit as comprehensive as the scores suggest.

Just as in their Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup final defeat by Pudsey St Lawrence seven days earlier, their batting was a shambles.

After opening bowler Glenn Richmond removed the top three, Andy Gorrod, Tim Jackson and Ian Nicholson in an excellent opening spell of 3-34, the rest of the inning crumbled into disarray as their vulnerability to spin bowling was exposed again. York's wily skipper Daniel Woods took 3-6 as Cleckheaton were102 all out in reply to York's 252.

Only some big hits by Tanzeel Altaf (30) saved Cleckheaton from greater humiliation in front of a large crowd who could hardly believe what they were seeing from a side crowned JCT600 Bradford League champions for the second time, 24 hours earlier.

Nobody can detract from their achiement in winning successive league titles but until they can perform in external cup competitions such as the Black Sheep - the ultimate test of club sides in Yorkshire - they cannot stand comparision with the dominant Pudsey Congs and Woodlands teams of recent times.

York showed a hunger and desire that was strangely lacking from Cleckheaton's play. They outplayed Cleckheaton in all phases of the game and their energetic fielding put the home side's lumbering efforts to shame.

Injuries have certainly not helped Cleckheaton. With skipper John Wood already prevented from bowling due to an Achilles injury, his brother Ian broke down after bowling just two balls with a recurrence of a knee injury.

That meant occasional bowlers Ian Nicholson and Richard Whitehurst had to be deployed. Both performed creditably as York, who opted to bat first, were bowled out for 250 on the final ball of their 50 overs. Leg spinner Altaf took three wickets in the final over to finish with 4-57.

The highlight of York's innings was a fine knock of 70 from Ryan McKendry. He batted with calm assurance which few matched on a pitch which offered increasingly variable bounce as the game progressed. McKendry struck two sixes and five fours and shared in a valuable fourth-wicket stand with Nick Kay (36). Charlie Elliott chipped in with 32 as York maintained a good tempo through to the end of their innings.

Their total of 250 was a challenging one and most spectators thought it was an achievable target. What they didn't reckon on was York ruthlessly exposing Cleckheaton's weakness against slow bowling when faced with a run chase.

Perhaps by the time Cleckheaton play in the competition next season they will have addressed these issues and found the hunger and desire which York showed.

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