Gale makes memorable return to Cleckheaton

ANDREW Gale made a memorable return home on Wednesday evening as he produced a sensational innings in Yorkshire’s Twenty20 warm-up game against Cleckheaton.

Gale played for Cleckheaton from the age of 13, cutting his teeth in the Bradford League, and the Yorkshire captain made a terrific gesture of persuading Yorkshire to take a full strength squad to Moorend.

It was fitting that the stylish left hander stole the show and provided wonderful entertainment for the large crowd who braved the cold and rain.

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For 81 minutes, Gale showed exactly why he is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the country.

Gale faced just 60 balls but smashed a magnificent 146 not out as Yorkshire posted 242-5 from their 20 overs.

At times the crowd were sent ducking for cover and at others spectators were left looking on in awe as Gale smashed 11 sixes and 14 fours in a tremedous innings.

Joe Root chipped in with 40 from 19 balls as Yorkshire hit form ahead of Friday’s opening Friends Life Twenty20 group opener against Durham at Headingley.

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Ceckheaton’s own big hitter, middle order batsman Richard Whitehurst, threatened to upstage Gale as he hit six sixes and four fours on his way to 62 from just 31 balls as the Moorenders reached 151-8 in reply.

A delighted Gale said: “It was good to come back to Cleckheaton. This game fitted in well to our schedule, it was a good workout and helped give the lads some confidence going into the Twenty20.

“I thought Cleckheaton did very well and gave us a good game.

“I really enjoyed it and it was good to score a few runs and this game has given us the chance to get some form going into Friday.”