WHISPER it gently, but Pudsey Congs appear to have turned a corner.
The struggles of the Britannia Ground outfit in the first half of the season was perhaps the story of the Bradford League campaign thus far, with the big guns finding themselves in a real jam at the wrong end of the Division One table.
Some were even suggesting that relegation might be a distinct possibility if Gareth Phillips’ side didn’t buck up their ideas – which they are now starting to belatedly do.
While being second-from-bottom, nine points above Yeadon heading into their clash with Morley tomorrow, is not exactly much to write home about, the signs for Congs are better.
A belated first win of the season arrived on June 14 against Bradford and Bingley and another keynote victory came last Saturday courtesy of a tense one-wicket success over fellow strugglers East Bierley, with Luke Jarvis run out off the last ball from Andrew Bairstow.
Factor in booking a place in the last four of the Heavy Woollen Cup with a determined triumph at Delph and Dobcross on June 22 and things are suddenly starting to look up.
Cricket spokesperson Ralph Middlebrook said: “We feel heartened and while we were more concerned than we were, we believe we have the talent and will to get up the table.
“We broke that dismal sequence of not winning one and really feel we have never really been out of touch. Results have gone for us in the last two or three weeks with teams not pulling away from us and with a couple of wins, we could even get up to something like fourth if the pennies drop right.
“Callum Geldart and Andrew Bairstow are batting well and the captain Gareth Phllips is coming on as a bowler, while we are hoping James Pearson will make an impact this week.”
He added: “Last Saturday was a tense match and we recovered well and bowled well, despite missing one of our main bowlers in Pearson, who was playing for Leicestershire against India.
“We did well and Mubtada (Ahktar) bowled well at the end, with the crunch of it coming to the last over. There was much rejoicing that we won.
“We have also had a cracking win over Delph and Dobcross in the Heavy Woollen Cup which was a really tough match against tough opponents and that has done us no harm at all.
“After the match, the captain and Glen Roberts took the players onto the pitch and they were sat for a half an hour in a circle in the sunshine talking about translating things on the field and it seems to have worked.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, it promises to be a battle royale when the top two lock horns at Albert Terrace when leaders and champions Cleckheaton call in at near-neighbours and big rivals Woodlands.
The pair played out a dramatic tie at Moorend earlier this campaign and a pulsating clash also ensued between the pair in last season’s denouement and it should be another cracker tomorrow with ten points separating the sides.
Pudsey St Lawrence, in third spot, go to third-from-bottom East Bierley, with fourth-placed Farsley at home to Lightcliffe.
New Farnley and Yeadon welcome Hanging Heaton and Bradford and Bingley respectively.
There will be no action in the Aire-Wharfe League, Wetherby League and Nidderdale League tomorrow due to the Tour De France.