New arrival Michael Neser got his first taste of Lancashire League cricket for Todmorden yesterday but it was his Colne overseas counterpart Ali Azmat who stole the show at Centre Vale.
Big Bash fast bowler Neser took a couple of wickets but couldn’t dismiss Azmat, who spurred Colne to a 26-run win with a superb 168.
Azmat came to the crease in the second over, after Gideon Foster had dismissed Joel Dearden, and hit 20 fours and nines sixes off 143 balls to help Colne to 251 for six.
Azmat figured in stands of 96 with Ammad Akram (24) for the the third wicket and 100 with Tom Bradshaw (17) for the fourth wicket.
He finally perished in the final over when Simon Newbitt took a good catch at deep square leg off the bowling of skipper Andrew Sutcliffe.
Todmorden made 225 all out in reply, losing their last five wickets for 18 runs in the quest for quick runs at the end.
Kristian Garland made a career best 72, Ben Sutcliffe hit 47, Andrew Sutcliffe 37 and Neser 26 but the damage had been done by Azmat earlier.
Illingworth got their Aire/Wharfe League Division Three season off to the best possible start with a six-wicket home win against much strengthened Alwoodley, with nearly four overs to spare.
Put into bat, the visitors were 82 for three at the halfway stage, having also lost Adam Trunks with badly damaged knee ligaments as he slipped and fell awkwardly facing quickie Luke Brooksby.
The Leeds side’s middle order came to the rescue with a solid partnership of 111 for the fifth wicket and this gave the visitors the platform to add 51 in the last six overs and lift the total to 209 for five.
Illingworth lost Calum Cook and Matthew Smith with only 17 on the board and some tight bowling made life difficult for new Aussie recruit James Whiteley and vice captain Alex Ledger.
The home side avoided further damage and reached drinks at 78 for two.
With Whiteley playing some cultured ground shots, the runs came faster and the 18-year-old departed eight short of a century, having hit 11 fours and two sixes.
Alex Ledger contributed an excellent unbeaten 85 as Illingworth cantered to a very good win with 22 balls to spare.
Halifax League champions Jer Lane and Huddersfield League outfit Barkisland were beaten in the Heavy Woollen Cup yesterday.
Lane were far from disgraced in losing by six wickets to big-spending holders Hanging Heaton from the Bradford League.
Lane made 188 for nine with 37 from Sam Wilson and 35 from skipper Mick Hustler.
Simon Collins dismissed ex-Yorkshire player Gary Fellows for 29 but Nick Connolly (67) and David Paynter (80 no) saw Hanging Heaton through.
Morley, another Bradford League side, won by 67 runs at Barkisland.
The visitors piled up 287 for eight with 57 from overseas man Kashif Naveed and 47 from Matt Baxter.
Skipper Darren Robinson (52) and Alex Scholefield (44) led the reply but Barkisland were all out for 220.
Todmorden v Colne
Colne won by 26 runs
Todmorden 3 pts, Colne 12 pts
COLNE 251 for six
J Duerden c Hanson b Foster 0
NA Jamil c Hanson b Shoukhat 23
Ali Azmat (Pro) c Newbitt b A Sutcliffe 168
A Akram c Brierley b Neser 24
TR Bradshaw run out 17
M Walker c and b Neser 0
A Hakin not out 1
T Jamil not out 0
Bowling: Neser 17 6 47 2, Foster 4 0 24 1, Shoukhat 7 1 45 1, A Sutcliffe 5 0 24 1, Senior 10 1 47 0, Gilford 7 0 60 0
SD Newbitt c Bradshaw b Wallbank 5
BD Sutcliffe run out 47
EC Gilford b Wallbank 0
MG Neser (Pro) b Qasim 26
KM Garland c Ali Azmat b Qasim 72
*A Sutcliffe c T Jamil b Qasim 37
MJ Brierley lbw b Walker 6
PD Senior b Walker 9
Z Shoukhat run out 6
JB Hanson b Qasim 0
G Foster not out 0
Total (all out, 47.2 overs) 225
Bowling: Hakin 5 1 30 0, Wallbank 6 2 17 2, Qasim 12 2 61 4, Ali Azmat 14 3 46 0, Adil Ali 7 0 43 0, Walker 3.2 0 24 2.
AIRE/WHARFE LEAGUE Division Three
Illingworth v Alwoodley
ALWOODLEY 209 for five
B.McCormick c Cook b Moorhouse 10
G.Maver b L.Brooksby 18
G.Stange c Whiteley b L.Brooksby 86
A.Trunks retired hurt 0
A.Kelly lbw b Moorhouse 14
D.Normaschild b L.Brooksby 48
A.Slater not out 12
G.Weir not out 7
Bowling: J.Moorhouse 13-3-33-2, L.Kelly 11-3-51-0, L.Brooksby 10-0-52-3, J.Whiteley 9-1-35-0, B.Robertshaw 7-3-24-0.
ILLINGWORTH 210 for four
J.Whiteley c Jones b Slater 92
C.Cook c Kelly b White 1
M.Smith c Weir b White 0
A.Ledger not out 85
L.Brooksby c Maver b White 11
B.Robertshaw not out 4
Bowling: C.White 12-3-24-3, D.Normaschild 6-1-40-0, A.Slater 7.2-0-41-1, A.Brown 6-0-31-0, G.Weir 7-0-41-0, B.McCormick 8-0-20-0.