CUP holders Shepley began this year’s Heavy Woollen Cup campaign with a repeat performance over last year’s beaten finalists Gomersal at Marsh Lane.
However, the Bradford League side, having been relegated from the top flight at the end of last season, arrived shorn of three of last season’s star players, including big-hitting skipper Richard Whitehurst, and were duly dumped out of the competition.
Electing to bat first, Shepley openers Tom Denton (38) and SP Singh (63) put on a quickfire 81 for the first wicket before the former was bowled.
Singh followed shortly after with the score on 116, but new signing Greg Wood (73) and Liam Wiles produced an excellent stand of 142 as Shepley set a target of 336-5 – exactly the same score as in last year’s final – with Wiles still there undefeated at the end with an excellent 102.
With skipper Danny Glover and brother Craig knocking over the top three batsmen, Gomersal were never at the races and unable to recover from 26-3 and 73-5.
Greg Pickles (106) responded with a battling ton, while Robert Ellis (73) helped him put on 133, but it was too little too late as Danny Glover returned to skittle the last four, finishing with six for 23 as Shepley won by 76 runs to set up a second round tie with League neighbours Skelmanthorpe (which, ironically, will be a repeat of last year’s Sykes Cup final!).
Kirkburton had a nervy win over Yeadon, getting home by two wickets with Craig Fletcher and Matt Garrety at the crease after the home side’s Oliver Halliday had taken a hat trick, removing George Smith, James Mellor and Matthew Wood in succession.
Fletcher had earlier taken three for 30 in 10 overs as Yeadon were restricted to 169-7. Andy Smith then replied with 56 (six fours) as he and fellow opener Greg Buckley (27) put on 56 for the first wicket.
Jonny Butterfield came in with a valuable 31, but it was left to the tail-enders to see them home.
Delph & Dobcross had no such problems in a 113-run win over Wakefield Thornes, Kevin Hook’s 84, backed up by 45 from Bruce Cruse and 41 from Faisal Butt leading them to 251-9.
Arron Lilley and Adnan Ghaus then pocketed three wickets apiece to help dismiss Thornes for 138.
Scholes were even more clinical as they rolled Buttershaw St Paul’s for just 88, before knocking them off for the loss of just one wicket in eight overs.
Baildon were another Bradford League club to tumble out, this time at the hands of Golcar, who are making a habit of close finishes already this season.
Having dismissed Baildon for 179 (Steve Whitwam taking five for 35), Golcar edged home by two wickets.
Shelley had a great win over Ossett, knocking off the home side’s 175-9 with just two wickets down.
Going out of the competition at the first hurdle were Barkisland, beaten by eight wickets by Hanging Heaton, Kirkheaton, who went down by 10 wickets to Townville, Slaithwaite, who lost by five wickets to Liversedge and Clayton West, who lost by a similar margin to Woodlands, despite a ton from Murray Spence.