KEIGHLEY Cricket Club have made a poor start to the new Bradford Premier League Division Two season, but their result on Saturday was probably their most stinging one to date.

They faced derby rivals Crossflatts at Lawkholme Lane, with the visitors knowing a victory could take them top of the table.

And Flatts did hit the summit, but only after securing a dramatic one-run victory.

The away side batted first, posting 223-6, the cornerstone of which was a magnificent 97 from Azhar Mehmood.

Keighley skipper Simon Bailey was his team’s best bowler, taking 2-35 from 15 overs, while star spinner Daanyaal Ahmed also finished his full allocation, recording figures of 2-71.

In reply, the hosts lost their first two wickets for just a single run, but then Noah Thirkill (73) and Johandre Barnard (70) put on a superb third-wicket partnership of 147 to make their side favourites.

Nathan Storton then struck 32, as he and Simon Bailey took Keighley to within 14 runs of victory with 19 balls left.

Storton’s dismissal left Keighley on 210-6, and they began the last over needing five to win.

But despite Bailey’s best efforts with 22 not out, they could not get over the line, losing two wickets for three runs in the final six balls to lose by the narrowest of margins.

Mehmood was the hero with the ball in that final over, and he finished with figures of 2-49 from 14 overs.

Nadeem Safdar (2-29) and Dominic Bennett (2-51) also played their part in Keighley’s late collapse from a position of strength.

The result leaves the Lawkholme Laners down in 10th, just eight points clear of the drop zone.

Keighley then conceded their T20 Group B Pool 3 clash against Heckmondwike & Carlinghow the following day.

They are at least in the Jack Hampshire Cup quarter-finals, where they will visit Hunslet Nelson in the last-eight at the end of the month, but avoiding relegation will surely be their priority.

Things do not get any easier for Keighley this coming Saturday either, as they host promotion-chasing Lightcliffe.