New boys Farnley looking to progress

Nick Walker
Nick Walker
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THE next few weeks represent the calm before the proverbial storm for New Farnley.

The West Leeds side’s maiden top-flight season in the Bradford League has had a few ups and downs and they are currently experiencing an upward trajectory against successive wins after a previous downturn.

With the fixture list seemingly favourable over the coming weeks, starting with lowly Bradford and Bingley tomorrow, seventh-placed Farnley have the chance to fill their boots, although secretary Neil Stokoe intends keeping those feet on the ground.

Last Saturday proved a fair day with Nick Walker (55 and 3-17) helped them account for another side who are toiling in East Bierley, which followed on from a win the previous week against Lightcliffe.

All this without injured batsmen and marquee close-season recruit Lee Goddard, out with an injured finger, with the prognosis not looking particularly good.

On the importance of next few weeks, Stokoe said: “We have gone through the sparring and now it’s about delivering the odd knock-out blow.

“We have Bradford and Bingley who are in the mix with us and then Hanging Heaton at home the following Saturday and we beat them away. Then I think we have Pudsey Congs and Morley before the big guys of Cleckheaton and Woodlands and Pudsey St Lawrence.

“We had a bit of a hiccup before aggravated by the fact that we had a couple of games postponed or cancelled and some against teams below us. But you take the rough with the smooth; we had the Woodlands game postponed at home and they are a strong side.

“What we are finding is that once you get a side six or seven down and maybe think you are down to the ‘rabbits’ now that the batting orders can be upside down. You are getting eighth, ninth and tenth wicket partnerships that are turning things around and winning games.

“It’s fascinating stuff, but also frustrating.

“At the start of the season, some people said ‘top five’, but I said staying up and I am still saying that!

“This is a season where we just need to establish ourselves in the league and there will be some rough with smooth. We know it is going to be hard.

“We are still trying to find a settled top order, to be honest. But we are getting there.

“The star of the show at the moment is Nick Walker, who is going very very well with bat and ball. While Mark Lawson has probably found it a bit of a culture shock, he produced a terrific bowling performance on Saturday.”

Elsewhere tomorrow, a huge clash at the top in the division’s match of the day sees leaders and champions Cleckheaton welcome third-placed Pudsey St Lawrence.

Woodlands and Farsley, in third and fourth, are on their travels to Lightcliffe and Morley.

Rock-bottom Pudsey Congs face a big clash towards the lower reaches of the table at home to East Bierley, while Hanging Heaton, inconsistent of late, host second-from-bottom Yeadon.

Aire-Wharfe League action sees Otley seek to get back on track at Rawdon, while Burley, a point clear at the summit, host Pool.

Bilton, in third, are at home to Steeton, with fourth-placed Kirkstall due in at Beckwithshaw and fifth-placed Guiseley hosting Collingham, buoyed by last weekend’s win over Otley.

In the ECB Yorkshire League, an intriguing clash sees Harrogate welcome Yorkshire Academy.

Castleford and York host South Yorkshire opposition in Barnsley and Doncaster Town.

Central Yorkshire League title favourites Methley welcome Hunslet Nelson, with chasing Scholes at home to Ossett.

Significant action in the Pontefract League sees Ackworth, 13 points clear, head to third-placed South Kirkby.

In the Wetherby League, leaders Kirk Deighton go to Old Leodiensians, while defending champions Great Preston host Old Mods. Wetherby host St Chads.

Richard Atkins runs in for New Farnley against Pudsey St Lawrence. PIC: Steve Riding

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