THE achilles HEEL which has afflicted Pudsey Congs in recent seasons is flaring up once more.
The Britannia Ground outfit, accustomed for so many years to be fighting it out at the business end of the Division One table and firmly in the shake-up for honours find the current standings somewthing of an embarrassment.
Going into this weekend’s programme, Congs, champions five times in a row from 2000 to 2004 and winners in 2010, find themselves second from bottom, with only themselves and Yeadon having yet to pick up a win after three league matches so far in 2014.
And the reason, once again, is their lack of run-making prowess with the bat, a problem over the past few years.
On Saturday, Congs were dismissed for 195 against East Bierley, with their only player to reach a half-century being Gareth Phillips (52).
Replying, Bierley reached 199-5 with two overs to spare, with Tabassum Bhatti (68no) seeing them over the line.
The week before, Congs hobbled to 81 all out in a meek losing cause to Morley and while they breached 240 on the opening weekend against champions Cleckheaton, it arrived on a batsman friendly track where a par score was somewhat higher.
Spokesperson Ralph Middlebrook said: “It’s not like Pudsey Congs to be second from bottom...
“Hopefully, this is a blip as we have a good side who should just be performing better. We just need to bat the fifty overs out and make sure someone makes a big score.
“We have never really been a run machine for the past few years and you only need to look at the centuries we have scored, which hasn’t been enough. But we have a pitch and a cricket square which is good enough for Yorkshire seconds and ours is a decent pitch. If the ball comes on, you can play forward with confidence and go back with confidence. Yet we don’t seem to be doing the basics in fifty-over cricket, which is a long time.
“It’s a case of concentration and application. Bat as long as you can, especially when you get only one or two knocks a week.
“The batters are not getting the runs they should be doing on the pitches that we have played on.
“We scored 240-odd against Cleckheaton on a pitch that was a 280 one.
“We are aware there are shortcomings in the bowling, especially when Glenn Roberts can’t play – and he is missing for the next two weeks. But we should be capable of bowling defensively and it’s not easy to get wickets as pitches in league cricket have improved no end.
“We just need to bat better.”
Congs rivals Farsley and Pudsey St Lawrence both maintained their unbeaten starts on Saturday, with the former sinking previously-unbeaten Morley by 36 runs.
Andrew Duckworth (63) and Graham Hume (58) helped the Red Laners to 168-6 before Morley were dismissed for 132, with Chris Henry and Ian Phillskirk taking three wickets apiece.
Matthew Duce’s 56 no out enabled Saints (134-6) to triumph at champions Cleckheaton (130), with spinners Thomas Hudson (4-9) and Steve Watts (3-24) excelling.
Chris Brice (4-23) and Scott Richardson (4-28) helped Woodlands (89-1) crush Lightcliffe (83), while New Farnley (101) lost out to visiting Bradford and Bingley (180-9).
Joe Fraser, ex-Yeadon man Ben Elvidge and David Stiff hit half-centuries as Hanging Heaton (235-8) accounted for Yeadon (122).