AS OPENING partnerships go, most would venture that Pudsey St Lawrence duo Mark Robertshaw and Adam Waite are as good as it gets at Bradford League level.
The duo have showcased their talents on several occasions this term, none more so than on Sunday when they set a competition record to put St Lawrence within one game of the Priestley Cup final.
The top-order men shared in a dream stand of 293 – beating the previous highest-ever cup partnership of 273 set by Idle duo Tony Moore and Malcolm Mawson – to help their side beat Undercliffe on a faster scoring rate to move into the semis.
They will travel to either Scholes or Lightcliffe in the last-four on July 17.
Robertshaw’s innings of 176 featured six sixes and 23 fours, with Waite playing second fiddle with his innings of 120 including two sixes and 13 fours as they ensured St Lawrence posted a massive 357-6.
With rain looming, Undercliffe saw their innings curtailed at 59-2 after 10.2 overs, with their run rate of 5.7 comparing with their rivals’ 7.12 – as Saints secured a semi-final berth, to the delight of captain James Smith.
He said: “Adam and Mark were absolutely outstanding. It was brilliant to watch; they were in complete control and executed everything perfectly.
“There was aggression and patience and they just demonstrated why I think that they are the best openers in the league.
“We have done ourselves justice at the top of the order all season. We had one collapse against Scholes, but ultimately two out of our top five or six have always been in form and that has given us a really good foundation.
“You cannot ask for much else. You need your lower order to score quite heavily probably once or twice a season and you need to try and protect them. But the top five or six need to be getting the runs and we have.”
That win has maintained St Lawrence’s hopes of a league and cup double – but Smith is keeping focused.
He added: “It is always going to be in your minds. But although people will talk, it is one of those where we have to remember, having read articles, that any team can beat anybody.
“We have got a lot of learning to take from last season when the other teams started to close the gap on us.
“And while we had some very close games, we came out on the wrong end of them.”
Joining St Lawrence in the hat are Woodlands, who whitewashed Baildon by 10 wickets, Elliot Richardson taking 8-24.
They will visit holders Bradford and Bingley or Hanging Heaton.
THE RAIN won the day on Saturday with no Bradford League Premier Division game being completed.
Leaders Pudsey St Lawrence restricted struggling Bradford and Bingley to 123-5 before the weather struck, with James Smith’s side remaining 26 points ahead of Hanging Heaton, who also pocketed five points against New Farnley, who reached 150-5 from 36 overs.
Ex-Tewits captain Mark Lawson hit an eye-catching 61 for Farnley, while opener Simon Lambert mustered 48.
Scholes were left at 150-5 against Farsley before the heavens opened, with Morley, seeking to end their recent donwturn, making 186 from their full 50 overs against Pudsey Congs.
In-form opener James McNichol struck 56 for Morley, with spinner Josh Wheatley being the pick of the Congs’ bowlers with 5-44 – with the Pudsey side managing 125-2 in a rain-hit reply.
Woodlands duo Sarfraz Ahmed (4-31) and Chris Brice (2-18) had Lightcliffe in trouble at 113-7 before the weather intervened.
John Wood top-scored with 62 for Cleckheaton, who were wobbling at 135-6 when the elements intervened against East Bierley.
In Championship B, the weather couldn’t prevent runaway leaders Townville from overpowering Spen Victoria by nine wickets to make it a perfect 10 of victories this term.
Nadim Hussain (4-24) and Jack Hughes (3-1) excelled as they skittled Spen for just 78, before Conor Harvey blasted an imperious 54 to see the leaders home before the rain came.