WE have lost our way – that is the stark message from Pudsey Congs spokesperson Ralph Middlebrook regarding their fitful recent Bradford League form.
While the Britannia Ground outfit are well set in both the Priestley Cup and Heavy Woollen Cup, with Gareth Phillips’ side through to the latter stages of both competitions, it’s been a different story in the league.
Seventh-placed Congs make the short trip to Division One strugglers Undercliffe tomorrow on the back of two successive league losses, with the last one seeing them embarrassingly skittled for just 88 en route to defeat at East Bierley.
Surveying the scene, a disappointed Middlebrook said: “We have lost four out of our last five and have lost our way, to say the least.
“We didn’t have the best of it last Saturday and Lumby (Mathew Lumb) bowled very well, although Callum Geldart showed what could be done. But sadly no-one could stop with him, even though we had them on the rack a wee bit.
“Even though East Bierley is a difficult place to go and we were probably a bowler short, we need to be beating people like that.
“We also got beaten easily by Hanging Heaton after playing magnificently to beat them in the Heavy Woollen Cup and even their players say it wasn’t their bowling which was bad, more the fact that we batted brilliantly.
“We just can’t be consistent.
“To be fair, the players are holding their hands up and saying: ‘It was me, captain today’ No-one is taking things lightly.”
At the top end of Pudsey, it is looking good for St Lawrence in their quest for their first championship title since 1991, with their near-neighbours from the bottom end of two acknowledging their rivals feats so far this term – while ruling themselves out of the title race.
Middlebrook added: “To be fair, most teams have been beating each other, with the exception of St Lawrence. They have played very well and kept going.
“As they are out of the Priestley Cup, they have to concentrate on the league. But they are looking good.
“John Wood said last week that if Cleckheaton lost at St Lawrence, they were out of the title race and we are out of it too.
“We are supposed to be one of the big clubs and you want East Bierley, (Bradford &) Bingley, Pudsey St Lawrence and Pudsey Congs to all be up there in the league.
“And we expect to be playing better than we are doing and only St Lawrence are doing that.”
KIWI cricketer Eric Austin will call time on a magnificent English adventure this weekend after 18 years in the Central Yorkshire League.
Austin will play his final game for Birstall away to Wakefield Thornes this Saturday before returning to New Zealand early next week.
Austin has become one of the most popular figures on the CYL scene, but believes the time is right to return home.
Austin said: “I’m married with two young kids, a three year old and an 18 month old, and I feel now is the right time to return to New Zealand.
“I have spent 18 years living in England, that’s almost half my life, and it will be difficult to leave my friends and I will certainly miss the Yorkshire accents when I go back home.
“I have met so many friends here, but if ever they are over my way in New Zealand, they will have a friendly face they can come and see.”
Austin first arrived in England in 1998 as Birstall’s overseas player and he went on to play for Mirfield Parish Cavaliers and Scholes and he had two spells with the all conquering Wrenthorpe side between 2007-2012 before joining Thornes.
In the Bradford League tomorrow, leaders Pudsey St Lawrence host East Bierley, with second-placed Woodlands visiting New Farnley.
Farlsey go to Lightcliffe and Cleckheaton entertain Bradford and Bingley. Hanging Heaton visit Saltaire.