Bradford League: James Smith keen for Pudsey St Lawrence to ‘seize the moment’

Pudsey St Lawrence captain James Smith. Picture: Steve Riding.
Pudsey St Lawrence captain James Smith. Picture: Steve Riding.
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SEIZE the moment.

That is the emphatic message from Pudsey St Lawrence captain James Smith ahead of his side’s final-day date with destiny against visiting Bradford and Bingley as the Tofts Road outfit seek to make it back-to-back Bradford League top-flight titles.

James Smith.

James Smith.

The portents are set fair, weather permitting, for a compelling final day tomorrow with second-placed Hanging Heaton also firmly in the mix for silverware, while Farsley, in third, still harbour outside hopes.

But St Lawrence are most definitely in the box seat and require 16 points from their encounter with B&B to lift the league’s big prize once more.

Heaton are four points behind St Lawrence and they visit New Farnley tomorrow, while Farsley – who can still win the title if the top two both implode – entertain relegated Scholes, with the Red Laners being 19 points adrift of the leaders.

If and it is still a considerable ‘if’, St Lawrence get over the line, it will be particularly sweet for everyone at the club, given the added pressure of being the team to be shot at when you defend a title.

That still remains a far way off though, with Smith urging his side to keep focused, while embracing the final day stakes tomorrow.

Smith said: “We will relish it. You work all week to enjoy what you are doing on a Saturday and you give your all.

“Whatever happens, we are proud of what we have achieved and where we are.

“It has been a lot more closely contested this year, which has been great for the league. If we do happen to come out on top, it will be a real testament as we have shown some toughness and real qualities to get there.

“But we have a big day on Saturday to come yet.”

On tomorrow’s opponents, he added: “If we play our best cricket we should win, although we cannot underestimate Bingley as they will want to finish on a high after a fair-to-middlin season, although they did win the Twenty20.

“They have also beaten Hanging Heaton twice this year and have players who can hurt you.

“But so do any team in this league if you are not at it on any given day.

“Teams will take advantage and you have to be totally switched on and battle hard to win any game.

“Nothing is a given and you have to play well.

“You have try to get that winning mentality of knowing what to do to get over the line.

“We suffered last year in terms of thinking: ‘We have not won it for so many years; what do we need to do to win.’

“But we would have taken any position in the top two within touching distance of the leaders by however many points of being top going into the last day.”

While Smith is keen to concentrate on matters at Tofts Road, he is savvy enough to appreciate that he and his team mates are likely to be kept firmly abreast of developments involving Heaton and Farsley, whether he likes it or not.

He added: “I want to focus on what we are doing and how we are playing.

“But inevitably, there were people shouting stuff from other games letting us know and it cannot be avoided.”

Tomorrow is also D-day for second-from-bottom Morley in their survival quest, with the Scatcherd Lane outfit needing to win their match at Pudsey Congs – to have a chance of avoiding the drop.

East Bierley and Lightcliffe are also in the relegation fight and are ten and 17 points clear of Morley respectively.

Bierley host Cleckheaton and Lightcliffe welcome Woodlands.