ON a tension-filled afternoon, Keighley CC came good when it mattered to beat Lightcliffe by 17 runs to avoid relegation from Division One of the Bradford League.

The penultimate weekend had seen Lightcliffe win and Keighley lose, dropping the latter into the relegation zone at the expense of the former.

That meant Keighley had to win Saturday’s final day home clash, which they did, sending their opponents down in the process.

Giving his reaction to staying up, Keighley skipper Max Davidson said: “It’s been a long old season.

“It’s always been difficult and we didn’t make it easy for ourselves on Saturday either.

“But we’re really pumped to have got the win, and at the end, it genuinely felt like we had won the league.

“We’re chuffed because it had been one of those seasons where things had gone against us, with things like injuries and Covid, so I’m so proud that we pulled through in the end.”

Batting first, Keighley could only post 192-9 from their 50 overs, with the evergreen Paul Quinlan starring with 48 not out.

Davidson said: “We said before the game that even 185-odd would give us something to defend.

“But there have been some good batting tracks at Keighley this season, with a few scores above 250.

“We got a few starts with the bat on Saturday, but couldn’t quite kick on.”

Fortunately, paceman Shahzada Khan and leg-spinner James Massheder bailed Keighley out, taking four wickets each to skittle Lightcliffe for 175 in 47.2 overs.

The visitors had looked like favourites late on, and sat on 167-6 before collapsing.

Davidson said: “They were in the driving seat, but Shizzy Khan came good at the end with two late wickets, and we actually kept James on for longer than normal.

“Usually in the last 10 overs, I’d have two seamers on, but he was bowling so well, and the pair of them combined to take those last four wickets for eight runs.

“When James took the final wicket (with the stumping completed by his younger brother Sam), we went crazy, as it’s been a season of struggle, only for it to end like that.

“We all had a few beers as a team afterwards, and I have to thank the chairman for putting money behind the bar, and then went out later on, so it was a belter of a day.

“I didn’t think we deserved to go down this season, as we’ve had a lot of bad luck, but, after a stressful year, it’s all been worth it.”

And thoughts are already turning to 2022 for Keighley, with Davidson saying: “The plans are now in motion for next year.

“We’d like to recruit maybe three quality players, while also looking to our future and nurturing our existing young talents.

“In this league, you need quality players who are going to take you 40 wickets or get you 700 runs, so that’s what we’re looking for.

“We haven’t decided whether to bring in an overseas player yet, and we may not bother if we feel we have enough local quality.

“In terms of where we can finish in 2022, we don’t want to stand still, but we are realists.

“So the first aim is to stay in Division One more comfortably next season, then we want to try and push for promotion going forward in the coming years.”