Bradford League: Woodlands hold healthy respect for close rivals

Nick Lindley
Nick Lindley
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GETTING over the line when not at your best is the sign of champions – and it is a happy habit currently being displayed by Bradford League title contenders Pudsey St Lawrence and Woodlands.

The story so far this season may be St Lawrence’s unbeaten start to the Division One campaign, but for Woodlands, like the seasoned campaigners they are, it’s about hanging in there.

They face a fair test of their progress at rivals Pudsey Congs tomorrow, weather permitting, with the pair carving up league honours for the vast bulk of the noughties.

With top operators in their ranks such as Pieter Swanepoel, Safraz Ahmed and Chris Brice, few will be writing off Woodlands and most sage observers expect them to be firmly in the shake-up when the gongs are handed out in early autumn.

Secretary Brian Pearson, whose side have already claimed two tight wins, by four and 13 runs respectively against Bradford and Bingley and New Farnley – and done the same in the cups at times – said: “All credit to St Lawrence, they are showing the thing I always talk about, which is consistency.

“They are winning games when they are against it a bit, like on Saturday and it proves it is never over until the fat lady sings.

“We have also found ourselves in those positions two or three times this year and it’s been a case of Saffy getting us out of the mire with the bat or someone doing something with the ball.

“Those are the championship winning moments; when you end up winning games you should be losing.

“St Lawrence also got a rainy-day result which sneaked them one win above us and also when we played them, we got 296 and it was then rained off.”

It’s St Lawrence’s neighbours Congs for Woodlands tomorrow at the Britannia Ground, always one of the bigger occasions in the league calendar with the pair dominating the league for the best part of a decade.

But despite the rivalry, respect shines through.

Pearson added: “There’s no animosity between us; quite the opposite. It is a friendly respect that we have.

“Congs have a good side with one or two of their players in form such as Nick Lindley and it will be another good game on Saturday.”

Elsewhere, St Lawrence – 27 points clear with two games until the halfway point of the campaign – visit Undercliffe, with third-placed Hanging Heaton calling in at lowly Farsley.

Cleckheaton welcome struggling Saltaire and New Farnley visit Lightcliffe.

Division Two leaders Morley head to Yeadon.

PRIESTLY CUP

IT promises to be a seminal afternoon of Priestley Cup action on Sunday, with three of the league big guns in action.

Current holders Pudsey St Lawrence will be aiming to maintain their hopes of a league and cup double in their quarter-final clash at 2010 winners Bradford and Bingley in the tie of the round at Wagon Lane.

Pudsey Congs, who progressed at the expense of Hanging Heaton in the Heavy Woollen Cup last weekend – a competition they won last year – will be seeking to keep another route to cup silverware open when they visit second-division Bankfoot.

Meanwhile, Cleckheaton, who have never lifted the Priestley Cup and are desperate for that to change in 2015, make the short trip west to face 2013 finalists Lightcliffe at Wakefield Road.

The Moorenders reached the final of the competition last August, only for an insipid performance against St Lawrence at Undercliffe to dash their dreams of a league and cup douible in unceremonious fashion.

The final tie sees New Farnley, a side who have placed considerable importance on cup success in recent years, play host to Yeadon at Lawns Lane.

Farnley triumphed last Sunday against Skelmanthorpe in the HW Cup and like Congs, are vying for silverware in two cups.

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