Bradford League: Neighbours Saints and New Farnley primed for a potential title decider
THE DECISIVE act in a thoroughly absorbing race for Bradford Premier League silverware is likely to be played out at Tofts Road tomorrow afternoon.
The fact may be that two more matches of the season still remain after Pudsey St Lawrence’s top-of-the-table encounter with nearest rivals New Farnley – but most acknowledge that tomorrow’s victor is likely to be the team that will be lifting the title come season’s end.
The margins between both combatants could not be closer with St Lawrence one point clear of Farnley, seeking their maiden Bradford League top-flight triumph.
It promises to be a dramatic and enthralling spectacle tomorrow which possesses a certain ‘cup final’ element and those involved with both aspirants are probably not inclined to disagree too much.
The proximity of the neighbours adds to the intrigue, as does the presence in the away ranks of Farnley cricket manager Paul Hutchison, who formerly served as cricket chairman at St Lawrence.
On yet another crunch game for St Lawrence, who have faced the likes of Hanging Heaton and Farsley in previous weeks, top-order man Mark Robertshaw said: “We knew a few weeks ago, coming into this part of the season, that we wanted to be in the hunt going into the New Farnley game knowing we then have Scholes, although obviously we play Methley on the final day of the season.
“But we wanted to be still in it for the Farnley game and right in amongst it and the winner on Saturday could go on to win the title because it will set it up for the last two games.
“For us, it is nice we are in a good run of form. The bowlers have bowled well and although they did not do as well last Sunday, the batters did their job and we pulled together well.”
St Lawrence’s form at the business end of the season has been wonderfully consistent, with Chris Marsden’s side seeking their ninth win in 10 matches tomorrow.
But in a tribute to the competitiveness of the league in a fascinating race for the big prize, Farnley have stubbornly refused to go away, with Lee Goddard’s side reacting well to back-to-back league and cup losses to Farsley in early August.
All told, Farnley have won six of their past seven outings, with their ability to last the course having earned much respect.
Robertshaw added: “Farnley have got a good side on paper and some very good cricketers. They are more than capable of performing when they need to.
“They have had not as many slip-ups as normally they have been good for a slip-up here or there.
“But they have not done that this year and have ground out wins when they have needed to.
“That is very much like we have, which is why we are the two sides currently at the top as the league is so competitive.
“Anyone from ten upwards seems to have beaten someone at some point.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, third plays fourth, with Methley hosting Hanging Heaton. Farsley visit Bradford and Bingley and Woodlands go to Scholes.