Saints are learning to cope with pressure

Barrie Frankland
Barrie Frankland
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BEING the hunted as opposed to the hunter brings added pressure.

BEING the hunted as opposed to the hunter brings added pressure.

It is something that everyone connected with Pudsey St Lawrence tacitly acknowledge after their Bradford League top-flight title last year, but cricket chairman Paul Hutchison knows another thing to do.

Namely, that St Lawrence, while being under no illusions about the difficulty in doubling up with league silverware in 2016, can handle the heat of being the team everyone wants to beat with it being the price of success.

The early signs are promising for the Tofts Road outfit following victories against near neighbours Farsley, albeit in a game reduced to twenty overs a side and New Farnley.

Next up are visiting Woodlands in a heavyweight match-up tomorrow in a game pitting two sides who many expect to slugging it out along with possibly one of two others at the business end of the season in August and September.

Hutchison said: “It is always difficult to win it, but it is even harder to retain it.

“We know that it is not going to be easy.

“Every will be now gunning for us, whereas before they thought we might slip up.

“But we are now in the position where we know how to win it, so we should be better drilled. It had obviously taken us 24 years to win it and I think if we are in the shake-up come August, we will do well.

“We are where we want to be at this stage of the season.

“It was obviously a shortened game against Farsley made it a bit of a lottery last weekend, but we performed well enough to get the points, which is good news.”

Batting-wise, St Lawrence are again blessed with an embarrassment of riches in the likes of the prolific Mark Robertshaw and another top league operator in James Smith, alongside the likes of Adam Waite, Chris Marsden and Matthew Duce.

Former Farsley skipper Barrie Frankland is also expected to prove a very sound stand-in for Callum Goldthorp, who will link up with the club once his studies at Bristol University finish for the year in June.

New signings have been made with an eye on future incorporation in what is currently a settled first team later on in 2016, with paceman Oliver Ashford, after a difficult 2015, having rejoined the club, with another young bowler in ex-Sedbergh School pupil Charlie Parker – who has family connections to the club – also signing up.

Hutchison added: “We did most of our recruiting three or four years ago now and we are quite happy with the squad.

“We have Ollie back, who is playing for the seconds with a view to being involved in the second half of the season.

“It is good that he is back with us as a raring to go Ollie is a very good addition to a club.

“We have brought Charlie Parker in as well who was at Menston last year and has been with Durham Academy and has a decent prowess.

“His family are also connected to the club and his grandad’s brother Roland was once our president and his family are well know to Pudsey St Lawrence and he will be a good addition for the long term.”

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WHEN IT comes to early impressions, new Hanging Heaton bowler Tom Chippendale is making a fair fist of things.

The Tewits’ close-season recruit from Ossett has hit his straps early on to help the Bennett Lane outfit to set the pace at the top of the new-look ECB Bradford Premier League.

Chippendale and his team-mates welcome Scholes tomorrow, seeking their third successive victory of the campaign, with Tewits captain Gary Fellows hoping that the bowler carries on from where he left off against Woodlands and Farsley in the first two league games.

Fellows said: “Tom has set off like a house on fire and has had a great start, taking 14 wickets in the first weekend and was also vital last Saturday.

“He has had a good start for the club and we are hoping he and the team can carry on putting in the performances which count at September time, so we are in the running for some silverware.”

Another key addition to the bowling department at Bennett Lane is young overseas spinner Muhammed Rameez – with Fellows also hoping that his variety will prove a boon during for Heaton during the summer months.

He added: “We have signed an overseas for the first time since I have been here and he is not really enjoying the weather at the minute!

“But it is early days, we are also hoping he will improve us in our bowling attack.

“He is a left-armer spinner from Pakistan who is 23 and it is his first time over here playing, although he does know a couple of lads in the league – Sarfraz (Ahmed) at Woodlands and Kashif (Naveed) from Morley.

“We are hoping he gives us that spin option that we will need at some of the grounds in our league.

“Over the last two or three years, players like Noman Ali and Suleman Khan can make a difference to teams with the overs they bowl and they exact control.

“They can also be useful with the bat in the middle to late order.”

Pudsey Congs play host to neighbours Farsley tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Cleckheaton, who also boast a 100 per cent record along with Heaton and Pudsey St Lawrence, visit Bradford and Bingley.

Morley play host to Lightcliffe, while New Farnley entertain East Bierley.

Cleckheaton captain John Wood. PIC: Paul Butterfield

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