BRAGGING rights will play a distant second to the importance of points in tomorrow’s Pudsey derby at Tofts Road – which has implications at the top and bottom of the ECB Bradford Premier League.
Pudsey Congs call in to face champions Pudsey St Lawrence, whose quest to reclaim their championship crown was given an irrevocable boost by virtue of a win for the ‘Bottom Enders’ over leaders Hanging Heaton last weekend.
The impressive four-wicket victory for relegation-threatened Congs, who are 13 points above second-bottom Morley, cut Heaton’s lead at the summit to eight points, with St Lawrence starting August with a comprehensive and much-neded success over Lightcliffe, to start erasing memories of a painful July.
The table may point to a home win tomorrow, but nothing can certainly be guaranteed in a campaign when those towards the bottom have surprised a fair few high-fliers, a case in point arriving last weekend.
The reverse Pudsey derby fixture also proved a keenly-fought affair with Congs pushing the ‘Top Enders’ close before losing by 18 runs at the Britannia Ground at the end of May, with Adam Waite hitting a fabulous unbeaten 128 for the victors.
On the task ahead for Congs, for whom the likes of Callum Geldart, debutant Max Backhouse and Nick Lindley stepped up to the plate in the win over Heaton, club representative Ralph Middlebrook said: “The win gives us great hope; all we now have to do is go to Tofts Road and try and repeat it!
“It is always nice to go up there and relations are good. They are a good side and their batting is awesome.
“But we are a bit more confident after last week and will be working hard. It was a wonderful win last week and full marks to Callum and his team and we can breathe a bit more easily. But not too easily.
“Man for man, we can touch most teams. We have no lightning-quick bowler, but we are getting there. We are too good to be in the second division, that’s for sure.
“There was a whole new purpose about the team on Saturday. Especially in the field and they were all huddling their arms around each shoulder and it was good to see. We have a good team who can play. But we just have not batted long enough in a lot of games.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, Heaton, after their surprise loss to Congs, will be seeking to get back on track when they play host to East Bierley, one of a number of sides who are too close to the drop zone for comfort.
Third-placed Farsley, also in the title picture and 20 points behind the leaders with five matches of the season to go, make the trip to seventh-placed Bradford and Bingley.
Heavy Woollen Cup winners New Farnley, whose good league form ended last week at the hands of the Bees, visit Lightcliffe.
Morley, who occupy the second relegation position, welcome Woodlands, and the division’s other game sees basement boys Scholes, 36 points adrift of Morley, play host to neighbours Cleckheaton, who they beat in the reverse fixture at Moorend.