KEIGHLEY made the long journey to Bradford League Division One leaders Birstall over the weekend, looking to put behind them their disappointing 10-run defeat at Undercliffe, where they blew their chances from a strong position.

But sadly it was not to be, as a phenomenal opening partnership from the hosts put paid to any hopes of victory.

Birstall won the toss and did not hesitate in batting first on a wicket that has already produced many runs this season.

Despite disciplined bowling, Birstall’s opening pair of Josh Haynes and Eric Austin gradually built a formidable partnership, helped by some poor fielding, including dropped catches off both.

As the bowling attack wilted in the heat, Haynes and Austin ramped up the run rate, seeing them compile a huge opening partnership of 250 before Haynes eventually fell for 121.

Austin, however, was not finished and some pinch hitting at the end saw him finish on an incredible 153 not out from just 147 deliveries as Birstall closed their innings on a mammoth 336-4.

The only successful Keighley bowler was Nathan Storton, who finished with 4-41.

Keighley’s highest score prior to this match was the 190 that they scored at Pudsey Congs and thus their chase was always going to be difficult.

Despite this, Henry Moore (45), Paul Quinlan (73) and Storton (42) entertained the crowd for a while, but inevitably they were not able to get anyway near the required total and were bowled out for a credible 256.

Skipper Max Davidson is looking for a response from his battered troops when they entertain Ossett down at Lawkholme Lane this weekend.

Meanwhile, Keighley’s young second string entertained an experienced Jer Lane at the weekend down at Lawkholme.

Jer Lane won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket that looked like it would produce runs.

Despite a couple of early breakthroughs from Keighley, the visitors were not disappointed as middle order batsmen Umar Dawood (94) and Arslaan Mahmood (63) rapidly built the Jer Lane total to an impressive 301-8 off their allotted 45 overs.

Harry Barker (3-53) and Amaan Nadeem (3-62) were the most effective Keighley bowlers.

Like their first team counterparts, the seconds have found runs hard to come by and despite a stoic 41 from Adam Qurban, no other Keighley player was able to get much of a start.

With Haroon Mahmood (4-16) leading the way, the home side were dismissed for 154, way short of the required amount.

The seconds travel to Cleckheaton this weekend in what is already looking like a relegation decider.