Bradford all set for a ‘Super Saturday’

Nick Connolly
Nick Connolly
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BENNETT LANE promises to be the hottest ticket in town tomorrow.

BENNETT LANE promises to be the hottest ticket in town tomorrow.

Mark Robertshaw

Mark Robertshaw

Arguably the game of the season takes place with leaders Hanging Heaton hosting champions Pudsey St Lawrence and a classic is on the cards.

Gary Fellows’ Tewits have looked the real deal all season as they bid to end their wait for Bradford Premier League silverware, which stretches back to 1999.

Lawrence, meanwhile, are chasing their third successive title and after a solid if unspectacular start to the season, James Smith’s side made a statement last weekend by inflicting a first home defeat of the season upon Townville.

The corresponding game between the pair at Heaton last season proved a cracker amid warm temperatures and a big crowd, with the game having become the marquee fixture in Bradford League cricket.

Callum Geldart

Callum Geldart

For several years, it was Pudsey Congs against Woodlands and then Cleckheaton v Woodlands for a spell, but the competitive rivalry between the Tewits and St Lawrence is now undoubtedly the main one in the league and the showpiece game.

St Lawrence captain Smith, whose side jumped up to second last weekend and are 16 points behind the leaders, said: “It should be a showpiece occasion. It has the best team on paper in Hanging Heaton and the defending champions.

“It is two really recognised Bradford League teams and it should be drawing the crowds in because the names of show there and the talent will show some of the best batters and bowlers in the league. It is a great advert for our cricket.

“In terms of where the teams are at, it is currently the most high-profile game with the sides being first and second last year.

“Hanging Heaton have gradually been improving year by year now and getting closer and closer and they recruited well over the winter and with it being the defending champions against the favourites, it should be labelled as the biggest clash in the league this season.”

Tewits chairman John Carruthers is not one to argue with Smith’s statements, with the talent of show tomorrow being considerable in the likes of Fellows, Nick Connolly and Callum Geldart in the home ranks and others such as Mark Robertshaw, Adam Waite and Smith in the visiting line-up.

On what should be a mouth-watering affair, Carruthers, whose side welcome Elsecar in the Royal London ECB National Club Championship on Sunday in a big double-header, added: “It is an enormous game and Pudsey may have lost a couple of games, but are still the side to beat, if I am honest.

“It seems to be the main game at the moment and there have been some fantastic games as well. It all looks promising and fortunately, the weather looks ok as well.

“There is huge respect from our side in terms of what Pudsey have done in terms of their structure from the juniors all the way. It is blueprint for every other club in the league and inspires you to emulate it.”

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IT promises not just to be a key day at the top of the Bradford Premier League tomorrow.

While first host second with Hanging Heaton welcoming champions Pudsey St Lawrence and third welcome fourth with Farsley entertaining Townville, there is also plenty of attention on developments at the other end of the table.

A huge game sees New Farnley, whose league form in the first half of the season has been disappointing in the extreme, play host to the side just above them and currently occupying the final relegation position in Pudsey Congs.

With Congs electing to field a youthful line-up in 2017, the smart money was on a transitional and at times tough year and so it has proved for the Britannia Ground outfit.

But last week’s important victory over Lightcliffe saw them cut the gap between themselves and faltering Farnley to eight points.

Ryan Gibson came to the fore with bat and ball and more will be expected of him in the coming weeks alongside the likes of Mubtaba Akhtar if Congs are to pull away from trouble in the second half of the campaign and manage to consolidate.

In contrast, Farnley were firmly down in the doldrums after slumping to a punishing defeat to Batley, their third defeat on the spin and easily their most painful.

Two sides also too close to the bottom two for comfort play at Wakefield Road with seventh-placed Lightcliffe welcoming inconsistent Cleckheaton, who reside in an underwhelming ninth spot.

Elsewhere, rock-bottom Batley, who claimed their first win of the season last weekend to give themselves an inkling of hope, visit Woodlands.

East Bierley go to Bradford & Bingley.

Game of the day in Championship One sees frontrunners Scholes, boasting a nine-out-of-nine record and well placed to return to the top flight at the first time of asking, entertain third-placed rivals Methley.

Second-placed Wrenthorpe, 28 points behind Scholes, are at home to Yeadon, while Morley, in fourth, visit Ossett.

Championship 2 leaders Hartshead Moor host fourth-placed Buttershaw St Paul’s.

Like near-neighbours Scholes, they are seeking to maintain their peerless sequence and record their tenth straight league win.

Scholes' 
Yassir Ali celebrates after getting the important wicket of Wrenthorpe opener Jordan Sleightholme for 22. PIC: Steve Riding

Bradford League: Promoted Scholes see off Wrens to net first division title