DESPITE heavy rain the day before, which continued overnight, the Bradford & District Evening League play-off finals day got underway with just a ten-minute delay, thanks to the sterling efforts of hosts Great Horton Park Chapel and their groundsman Tony Hamer.

Ciroc confirmed their status as favourites by completing the double and adding the Les Benson Memorial Trophy to their Division One championship on a day in which 811 runs were scored in three 16-over-per side games for the loss of 35 wickets, giving an average of 8.5 runs per over and 23 runs per wicket!

The closest finish of the day came in the first semi-final, when Division Two champions Undercliffe took on Division One runners-up Greenfield.

Batting first, the Bradford League outfit set the standard for the day with a score of 143-5 as Gully Ahmed top scored with 37, with good support coming from Michael Kelsey (26) and classy league batting award winner Fahid Rehman (24).

Opener Waleed Akhtar (50 retired) led the Greenfield response, and with Sajad Ali (40) took Greenfield to the brink of victory at 134-4 but scoreboard pressure then took its toll as they lost four wickets for just three runs to end on 137-8.

In the second semi-final, back-to-back Division One champions Ciroc took on another Bradford League side in Buttershaw St Paul's, who gained promotion as Division Two runners-up.

A virtually full-strength Ciroc showed no mercy and took no prisoners as they blasted 176-0, which included 11 sixes, with retirements from Division One batting award winner Hamzah Iqbal (52no) and fellow opener Bilal Ejaz (50no), with Adal Islam and Raqeeb Hussain also undefeated on 45 not out and 17 not out respectively.

It was always going to be an uphill task for a St Paul's side missing some of their star batsmen but this turned into mission impossible when back-from-injury talisman Kevin McDermott was caught by Raqeeb Hussain off the bowling of Zeeshan Haider for just four with less than 10 on the board.

Woodlands' Elliot Richardson offered some resistance with an explosive 54 not out off just 22 balls and Simon McDermott added a further 20, but wickets fell at regular intervals & the St Paul's innings stuttered to a halt at 95-7.

And so the stage was set for the clash of the divisional champions.

Ciroc were put under pressure for the first time by Undercliffe's opening bowlers and lost their first wicket at 17.

Opener Iqbal, who top-scored with 38, helped push the score to 77-2 before further contributions from Haider (33no) and Islam (30) helped Ciroc finally set a par-score of 144-5.

In reply, Undercliffe quickly found themselves reduced to 23-2 but then Ahmed and Rehman gave the Intake Road side some hope as the score progressed to 76-2.

However, Amjad Khan (3-32) then accounted for both batsmen as he caught Rehman off his own bowling for 29 and then bowled Ahmed for 39.

Skipper Mushy Shah then brought himself on to bowl and spun the tail-enders out, returning figures of 5-14 as Undercliffe were all out for 116 with just one ball left of their innings.

Presentations took place throughout the day to the individual award winners – Batting, Division One: Hamza Iqbal (Ciroc). Division Two: Fahid Rehman (Undercliffe). League batting award (Barlow Trophy): Fahid Rehman (Undercliffe). Bowling, Division One: Tom Westerman (John Breare). Division Two: Blair Oakley (Great Horton Park Chapel). League bowling award (Waddilove Trophy): Tom Westerman (John Breare).

League fielding prize (LB Briggs Trophy): No qualifier. League wicket-keeping prize (Steve Priestley Trophy): Chris Brown (Great Horton Park Chapel).

League secretary Phil Poole Snr concluded the presentations by thanking Great Horton Park Chapel for the magnificent job they had done in hosting the finals day before league president Geoff Fisher and league chairman Brian Lymbery presented the awards to the finalists and the Les Benson Memorial Trophy to worthy winners Ciroc.