Bradford League: Red-hot Robertshaw puts Saints in the driving seat
THERE are good weekends and great ones '“ just ask Pudsey St Lawrence's red-hot opener Mark Robertshaw.
One of the Bradford’s League most consistent top-order men and leading lights over a good number of years, Robertshaw truly excelled himself at the weekend with not one, but two high-class centuries to keep St Lawrence in the box seat with three games of a compelling top-flight title race to go.
Fresh from becoming the first league batsman to smash the 1,000-run barrier for the season with a regal 162 not out in Saturday’s victory against Hanging Heaton, Robertshaw backed up with 126 in the 20-run win over spirited strugglers Bradford and Bingley on Sunday.
It has put leaders St Lawrence – who have now won eight of their last nine league games – in good heart for their titanic title tussle with New Farnley on Saturday, although there was no question who was star of the show.
And the man himself believes that his sublime innings against Heaton represented the best of his accomplished career to date as he helped St Lawrence chase down the defending champions’ challenging total of 286-7 with 13 balls to spare.
Robertshaw told the YEP: “It is the most productive weekend and best I have felt in a long time, batting.
“It was nice to back up with two scores because you can feel good and not get the rewards, so it was nice to get them both.
“I think in the context of the game and league situation, Saturday is probably my best knock with just the way it went.
“It was chanceless and everything flowed from ball one. There were no stumbling blocks and it built for everyone else to bat around me.
“Saturday was quite a big game because Hanging Heaton are a tough side and defending champions and when they post nearly 300, you know you are in for a tough chase.
“It was crucial we went at the run rate and young Harry (Cullingford) batted really well and we built little partnerships at the right time to keep on top of what we were doing and eventually came home quite comfortably.”
Robertshaw’s weekend exploits took his league runs tally to 1,012 this term at an average of 72.28, just over 200 runs clear of nearest rival, Heaton run-machine and captain Gary Fellows.
And the master batsman is now closing in on his best-ever tally of 1,094.
On his 1,000-run milestone, he added: “I think it is my fourth time. It is another good season and it is nice to keep contributing year after year.
“I am up to just over one thousand. My record is 1,094. You set little targets to get yourself motivated to get up there.
“At the start of the season, you give yourself targets and as you tick them off, you set a new one and keep doing that. It is nice to have a big target to go at, for the end of the year.”
St Lawrence are just one point ahead of New Farnley –who they meet at Tofts Road on Saturday – following the weekend double-header.
Farnley picked up 18 points for their four-wicket win over Lightcliffe on Sunday, with former Yorkshire and England seamer Ajmal Shahzad (5-34) impressing before another former Headingley favourite Andrew Hodd (55) and skipper Lee Goddard (54no) took centre stage with the bat.
The previous day, Farnley eased past crisis club Scholes with an easy nine-wicket triumph in a match that lasted just 19.1 overs and earned them a maximum 20 points.
Ten-man Scholes, who fielded a side bolstered by second teamers, were skittled for just 42 as Alex Lilley (5-9) and Andrew Brewster (4-29) cast a spell early on.
Farnley took just 6.3 overs to get over the winning line in expres fashion.