KEIGHLEY skipper Alex Towler reckons his team are virtually certain to escape relegation after a thrilling last-ball triumph at third-placed Pudsey Congs in JCT600 Bradford League second teams' Division One.

Hammy Shahzad (60no) hit the last ball for four to seal the win as the visitors continued their climb up the table.

Shahzad added an unbroken 23 for the last wicket with Towler (5no) as Keighley edged past Congs' 184-8, and the latter said: "Their bowler was nipping it about a bit but Hammy flat-batted the last ball over mid-on for four.

"There were two young lads in the scorebox and there was a bit of confusion as we thought we needed two to win off the last ball, whereas we found out later that we were tying, but Hammy's shot meant it did not matter."

The experienced Steve Reape (51) had laid the platform for Keighley as they gained 17 points, yet success looked unlikely at 94-7 and 130-8 but Andrew Coppen (25) and Ben Jagger (12) helped Shahzad pull off a great comeback.

It put a big dent in Pudsey’s title ambitions and lifted eighth-placed Keighley, who had looked in serious relegation trouble earlier in the season, 37 points clear of second-from-bottom Lightcliffe.

Towler added: "We are pretty much safe now, although we could have a big say in who wins the title as we have yet to play New Farnley and Morley, who are first and second in the table."

Coppen was chief destroyer for the Lawkholme Laners with 4-32 from ten overs as Tom Elliott (52) and Zulfikar Mohammed (51no) were the mainstays for Pudsey.

Keighley II host Woodlands on Saturday ,while the first team return to action at Baildon.

Richard Wear’s side remain third in Division Two but now trail second-placed Saltaire by 25 points after they crushed Windhill by 286 runs.

Meanwhile, the club is set to host the final of the Priestley Shield again this Sunday after last weekend’s showpiece between Hanging Heaton and Pudsey St Lawrence was washed out.