Harrogate steeled for crucial Cleethorpes clash

hsb  Vic Craven bowling for Harrogate against Sheffield Collegiate.  (120512M4a)

hsb Vic Craven bowling for Harrogate against Sheffield Collegiate. (120512M4a)

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HARROGATE face an early season tester tomorrow on the road at Cleethorpes Cricket Club.

The two clubs are currently fighting it out for supremacy at the top of the Yorkshire Premier League after an equally impressive start to the new campaign.

’Gate currently lead the way on 33 points, with tomorrow’s host just a place below them.

Captain Ryan Bradshaw will have his side charged and ready for action.

“The first team is flying at the moment,” he said.

“It’s been a great start, but there’s a long way to go. Cleethorpes is always a tricky place to go, they’ve got a good overseas, a South African, who we’ll have to watch out for. But we’ve got a lot of confidence at the moment in the squad.”

’Gate have another double header this weekend, with the side gearing up for a trip to Marton in the National Knockout on Sunday (1pm start).

The North East side ply their trade in the North Yorks/South Durham League.

Bradshaw hopes they can follow on from a superb few days on the pitch last weekend, which ended in two fine victories in league and cup.

On Saturday, they welcomed Yorkshire Academy to St George’s Road.

After losing the toss, Harrogate were stuck in on a seamer friendly day. But stalwarts Vic Craven and Alexis Twigg dug in to register 72 and 78 respectively to see them up to 199-4.

England Lions batsman Azeem Rafiq was removed by Alex Lilley in reply, as Harrogate turned the screw.

Then, just as Sam Davies did seven days previous, Olly Driver came on to take 4-12 and see Academy restricted to 153-7.

“Last week it was the turn of our younger players, this week it was the turn of our older players, so to speak, to get stuck in,” said Bradshaw.

“Twiggy and Vic batted really well and set up a competitive total for us to defend.

“We managed to get Rafiq out early. Alex Lilley bowled really fast, Ben Biker and Sam Davies kept it tight. Then as Sam did the week before, Olly Driver came on and bowled really well.”

A day later, ’Gate’s young guns put travelling Collegiate to the sword in the ECB Yorkshire Cup.

Batting first, Bradshaw’s men managed to post 175 all out. David Orange (36), and Davies (31 off 32 balls) top scored. Davies (3-27) and Rob Stanworth (3-27) bowled out Sheffield for 89 in reply.

For the second week in a row, Harrogate 2nds had to endure a nervy end to their York Senior Division One fixture on Saturday against Heworth.

’Gate struggled batting first making just 134 all out, Rob Taylor (26) would have no idea how important his innings was going to be later in the match.

But a mixture of Matt Ingham (3-45) and Rob Stanworth (4-13) contrived to bowl out Heworth for 130 in the 43rd over.

Andy Hawkswell’s men currently sit third in the division.

Tomorrow they have a home game against Hull Zingari to get their teeth into.