Bradford Cricket League preview: Cup double chasers are out to light up title race

Lightcliffe captain Chris Taylor.

Lightcliffe captain Chris Taylor.

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Lightcliffe have already set themselves up for one piece of silverware – and now captain Chris Taylor hopes to home in on two others.

The skipper says his side could yet mount a late Bradford League title bid with hopes also high of victory in Sunday’s Dyson Twenty20 Cup semi-final.

Taylor’s men are already on cloud nine after booking a spot in their first Priestley Cup final for 36 years.

And while the Halifax outfit sit 55 points behind Division One leaders Cleckheaton, Taylor has strong reasons to believe his men can finish a lot higher than that.

Fifth-placed Lightcliffe return to league action at home to seventh-placed East Bierley tomorrow and Taylor believes there is reason to dream of at least going close to landing a terrific treble.

“We lost four games in six when we had four big players missing through injury or work commitments,” said Taylor of Lightcliffe’s current league position

“If we’d have won those four we’d have probably been top now. It’s maybe a little bit too late now but we’ll never say never.

“We’ve got eight games left and if we can win eight of them then I think we can be up there.

“If not it would be nice to finish top three and if we could win the cup and win the Twenty20 that would be an amazing achievement for us as a club.

“We’ve East Bierley at home on Saturday which is always a tricky fixture as they’ve got a good team and then we have Pudsey Congs in the Twenty20 semi-final on Sunday. We’d love to get to that final as well.”

Sunday’s other Twenty20 semi sees Morley host Hanging Heaton who, like Lightcliffe, already have a Priestley Cup final to look forward to.

And Heaton also feature in one of tomorrow’s key league games when they visit leaders Cleckheaton. Second plays fourth as Woodlands host Pudsey Congs with third-placed Pudsey St Lawrence at home to second-bottom Morley.

Tomorrow’s top-flight is completed by Baildon welcoming Manningham Mills and Saltaire hosting Bradford and Bingley.

A big weekend also takes place in the Aire Wharfe League where Beckwithshaw will look to take a giant step towards closing in on a dream double.

’Shaw lead Division One by 19 points ahead of Burley with Collingham providing tomorrow’s opposition.

Sunday is then Waddilove Cup semi-finals day with ’Shaw at home to Otley whom they battered by six wickets in the league last weekend. Beckwithshaw secretary Stuart Hudson is in confident mood: “We discussed that Sunday’s Waddilove Cup semi-final last weekend. “We said ‘let’s win today’s game and let’s put a marker down for Sunday and I certainly think we did put a marker down with the way we won.

“They’ve got to wonder how they’re going to overcome us.”

In the other semi-final, Follifoot are at home to Burley.

Elsewhere in the Aire Wharfe top-flight tomorrow, Follifoot host Harden in a bottom-of-the-table clash, with a win for either side potentially narrowing the gap on Steeton who sit one place above Harden.

Burley travel to tenth-placed Steeton hoping to consolidate second place and put some pressure on Beckwithshaw.

Third-placed Bilton make their way to ninth-placed Pool looking to stay atop the pack chasing third, whilst the hosts can ease their relegation fears with a win. Kirkstall can leapfrog Ben Rhydding with a win at home to them, but the visitors will want to bounce back strongly after falling short against Bilton last week.

Otley can move above Guiseley if they beat their hosts, but Guiseley had a good win over Steeton last weekend.

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