Cleck’ sure they can compete for the title

Iain Wardlaw.
Iain Wardlaw.
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CLECKHEATON may have lost two of the leading lights in the Bradford League in Tim Jackson and Iain Wardlaw – but not at the cost of their overall strength across the field.

CLECKHEATON may have lost two of the leading lights in the Bradford League in Tim Jackson and Iain Wardlaw – but not at the cost of their overall strength across the field.

That’s the view of spokesperson Kevin Mitchell, who believes while that the Moorenders may have lost two major players in the close season, the team’s balance is probably stronger than it was last year.

After Pudsey St Lawrence put the kibosh on their hopes of a hat-trick of top-flight titles in 2015, Cleck are intent upon getting their hands on league silverware again in September.

Helping to mitigate for the loss of run machine Jackson, now captain at Cleck’s near-neighbours Woodlands and fresh from a campaign which saw him hit 888 league runs at 52.24 – is the arrival of former junior Chris Holliday, who has started the season well, from Townville.

All-rounder Mohammed ‘Zimmy’ Zaman has also returned to the club while Sam Wilson has joined from Pool.

In the bowling ranks, hopes are high that overseas paceman Mohammad Bilawal will compensate for the exit of ex-Yorkshire bowler Wardlaw to crack Huddersfield League outfit Hoylandswaine – even if the new signing is still clearly acclimatising to life in the Bradford League

Mitchell said: “Chris has been a revelation and he has already got 70-odd against Morley and 60-odd against Bradford and Bingley in no time at all.

“He’s ultra-confident and a good influence and is going to be one hell of a player and a great signing.

“Obviously Tim was a quality player and a good ‘club man’. He is a big loss in many ways, but that’s life and to me with our four new signings, the balance of our side probably looks better than it has done for quite a while.

“Zimmy has come in and is a quality all-rounder who turned down a lot of money from Chorley to come and join us.

“We will be fine, although though we just have a slight grey area on the bowling at the moment.”

“Iain Wardlaw was a big loss and while Mohammad Bilawal looks to have great potential, he hasn’t found his line and length yet.

“But he has got pace and tons of ability.

“Even though he is finding the transition more difficult than he imagined, he’s only a young kid and it’s a learning curve.”

Cleck, who have won two and lost one of their opening three matches, play host to New Farnley this afternoon at Moorend.

Meanwhile, Sunday sees the opening round of the Priestley Cup, with the pick of the ties seeing New Farnley visit Woodlands and Pudsey Congs welcome Hanging Heaton. Another top-flight tie sees Morley entertain Scholes.

The quarter-final draw of the Heavy Woollen Cup sees Morley welcome New Farnley, while Townville head to Huddersfield League side Scholes and Moorlands host Treeton. Hoylandswaine host Delph and Dobcross. Ties to be played on June 5.

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IT may still be early season, but it is most definitely a big weekend where Farsley are concerned.

Fresh from getting their maiden win of the new ECB Bradford Premier League season against Pudsey Congs, the Red Laners are seeking to double up with success at East Bierley, whose form in the opening three weeks of the campaign suggests it could be another long year at South View Road after a tough 2015.

On Sunday, Farsley are also in action in the Priestley Cup opening round at home to Yeadon.

A good cup run in a competition which the club have not won since 1995 is another item high on the ‘to do’ list this year.

Stalwart Mark Harrison said: “It is a big weekend with East Bierley and then Yeadon.

“Obviously, Bierley have lost their first three games, so will be gunning for us and we must show we aren’t a side who people look at and think: ‘Well, we can beat Farsley.’

“We will go there with the same mentality that we had a week ago.

“Yeadon will also be tough, but hopefully it will be a good batting wicket for us and we can rack some runs up.

“We would like a good cup run and haven’t had one for a while and we need that and if you are playing more regularly, people find more form and we put a lot of stock into the cups.

“We also have the Twenty20 competition as well and on all fronts, we want to be making strides and be in a good position at the end of July,” he said.

“We want to get that winning mentality to enable us to move on.

“We have a good set of lads and the way we approached things in a professional manner last Saturday was good.

“I am sure if we continue that and do the right things again, we will put a good performance in and will no problems this season after what was a good win.”

In the top-flight tomorrow, the headline game sees fifth-placed Woodlands host Pudsey Congs, who are ninth, while champions Pudsey St Lawrence visit Scholes, who are still seeking their first win.

Early leaders Hanging Heaton visit Lightcliffe and Morley host Bradford and Bingley.

Ralph Middlebrook.

Pudsey Congs plotting another big upset at league leaders Hanging Heaton