HEART to heart meetings are pretty rare at cricket clubs when the season is still in May.
But that was the scenario at Red Lane this week with Farsley players holding a frank discussion to discuss the way forward and where things have been going wrong after a desperately demoralising start to the campaign.
Farsley, who had expectations to do well before the first ball was bowled, currently sit second from bottom in Division One of the Bradford League ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with East Bierley.
Must do better, a lot better is the phrase, with Farsley’s nadir arriving on Bank Holiday Monday when they were dismissed for a derisory 45 at Woodlands.
It left them at their ‘lowest ebb’ according to chairman David Storr, who acknowledges it is not just about scrapping for wins now for Farsley, but points, which could yet be invaluable at the end of the season.
Statistics don’t lie with Farsley having pocketed an embarrassing total of just two batting points in seven winless league matches so far this term, having been dismissed on two occasions for comfortably under 100.
What is certainly not helping their cause are injuries and unavailability, with Mark Harrison still recovering from a cruciate injury and Tom Craddock missing with a broken finger.
Others including Tom Hodgson and wicketkeeper Matthew Green were also unavailable for parts of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, to further diminish their options, with no overseas player also after Jake Fawcett’s ill-fated brief stint.
Storr said: “We are at the lowest ebb at the moment with injuries and things.
“It has been a really bad start, to say the least.
“We had all the promise before the start and thought we’d be really competitive and be up there. We felt we’d put together a really good side, but unfortunately, we have had some really bad luck.
“It continued at Woodlands and on Saturday against Pudsey St Lawrence. We have been a victim of circumstances; we had four players out on Monday and three on Saturday along with Mark Harrison.
“Hopefully, Tom will be back in two weeks and Mark Harrison might be able to bowl when he is back and that will give us two spinners back.
“One of the good things at the weekend was that Jack Hendy took six wickets against Woodlands and bowled very well.
“When you put a new side together, you need to gel and work on things and we will do.”
Pragmatic about Farsley’s mission in the short term, Storr added: “Winning the game is important, yes. But getting points is important now as well.
“We were very good on Monday and Woodlands were 56-8, but Saffy (Safraz Ahmed) came in and hit 75 in about ten overs and it changed the whole complex of the game.
“Having been really buoyant at 56-8, we were then chasing 175 and bowled out for 45.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, Pudsey St Lawrence – 24 points clear – visit fourth-from-bottom Lightcliffe. Second-placed Woodlands go to the side just below them, Bradford & Bingley.
Fourth-placed Pudsey Congs host Hanging Heaton and champions Cleckheaton, in fifth, welcome sixth-placed New Farnley.
Division Two leaders Morley, who boast a 22-point advantage, go to fourth-placed Gomersal.
FOUR Bradford League batsmen have already broken the 300-runs barrier so far in 2015, according to the latest league statistics.
Leading the way with almost 400 runs is on-song Cleckheaton opener Tim Jackson, who has struck a superb 397 runs, 54 clear of his nearest rival.
Jackson’s tally includes the highest individual innings so far this season of 141.
In second spot is Hanging Heaton’s Ben Elvidge, with the former Yeadon man having mustered a hugely impressive 343 runs in seven matches.
Eighteen points behind Elvidge is a familiar name at the top of the league averages in Pudsey St Lawrence’s ultra-consistent top-order man Mark Robertshaw, with 325 runs to his name so far this term.
The final player to breach the 300 runs barrier so far is Hanging Heaton all-rounder Ian Philliskirk, who has struck 303 runs and taken 11 wickets.
Others to catch the eye with the bat include Yorkshire wicketkeeper/batsman Andrew Hodd, who has struck 276 in four innings for New Farnley.
Pudsey St Lawrence skipper James Smith has amassed 287 league runs so far, including a high-score of 126 not out.
Leading the way in the wicket-taking stakes is Woodlands’ all-rounder Chris Brice, who has claimed 24 wickets so far in 2015, with a best of 6-18.
Brice’s tally is four ahead of nearest rivals Thomas Hudson, with the teenager having taken 20 wickets in an impressive start to the season for Pudsey St Lawrence and Jack Hartley.
The Bradford and Bingley bowler, the son of former Yorkshire player Neil, has also excelled in taking 20 wickets, including a haul of 7-42 to help blitz champions Cleckheaton on the opening day of the season.
The best individual figures so far this season belong to ex-Tykes bowler Pieter Swanepoel, with the Woodlands captain taking 7-16 to help rout Farsley for just 45 on Bank Holiday Monday.
Division 1: Burley v Bilton; Collingham v Beckwithshaw; Kirkstall v Ilkley; Otley v Guiseley; Rawdon v Follifoot; Steeton v North Leeds.
Division 2: Ben Rhydding v Adel; Colton v Horsforth; Green Lane v Skipton; Harden v Knaresborough; Illingworth v Thackley; Tong Park Esholt v Pool.
Division 3: Addingham v Bardsey; Bolton Villas v Silsden; Hall Park v Old Modernians; Menston v Calverley; New Rover v Alwoodley; Olicanian v Upper Wharfedale.
Division 1: Bradford & Bingley v Woodlands; Cleckheaton v New Farnley; Farsley v East Bierley; Lightcliffe v Pudsey St Lawrence; Pudsey Congs v Hanging Heaton; Undercliffe v Saltaire.
Division 2: Baildon v Idle; Bankfoot v Brighouse; Bowling Old Lane v Windhill; Gomersal v Morley; Scholes v Keighley; Yeadon v Hartshead Moor.
CENTRAL YORKSHIRE LEAGUE
Premier Division: Altofts v Townville; Batley v Buttershaw SP; Birstall v Mirfield; Carlton v Hunslet Nelson; Methley v Ossett; Wakefield Th v Wrenthorpe.
Championship: Hopton Mills v Azaad; Liversedge v Wakefield SM; Northowram F v Caribbean; Oulton v East Ardsley.
CRAVEN & DISTRICT LEAGUE
Division 1: Embsay v Chatburn; Crossflatts v Riddlesden; Ingrow St John’s v Barrowford; Haworth v Bingley Congs; Haworth Road v Oakworth; Sutton v Foulridge.
DALES COUNCIL LEAGUE
Division A: Cookridge v Savile Stars; Farnley Hill v Bradford Moor; Halifax Direct v Shipley Providence; New Wortley v Leeds Sikh; Pudsey Congs v Pudsey St Lawrence; Tong Park Esholt v Thornbury.
Division B: Baildon v Farsley; Crompark v Cookridge B; Morley v Drighlington; Woodhouse v Adel.
DRAKES HUDDERSFIELD LEAGUE
Drakes Premiership: Broad Oak v Elland; Delph & Dobcross v Moorlands; Golcar v Shelley; Hoylandswaine v Barkisland; Scholes v Honley; Skelmanthorpe v Shepley; Slaithwaite v Kirkburton.
Jedi Sports Championship: Almondbury Wes v Cawthorne; Clayton West v Kirkheaton; Lascelles Hall v Holmfirth; Linthwaite v Thongsbridge; Marsden v Almondbury; Meltham v Armitage Bridge.
Division 1: Spofforth v Helperby; Killinghall v Pannal; Hampsthwaite v Burton Leonard; Alne v Darley; Newby Hall v Ouseburn; Blubberhouses v Bishop Thornton.
Division 2: Dacre Banks v Masham; Ripley v West Tanfield; Knaresborough Forest v Scotton; Goldsborough v Birstwith; Lofthouse and Middlesmoor v Ripon 2nds; Studley Royal v Pateley Bridge.
Division 1: Frickley Colliery v Hooton Pagnell; Nostell St Oswald v Monk Bretton; Old Sharlston v Askern Welfare; South Kirkby v Fishlake; Streethouse v Fairburn; West Bretton v Ackworth.
Division 2: Allerton Bywater v Hatfield Town; Brook-Walton v Stainborough; Featherstone Town v Crofton; Hemsworth MW v Barnby Dun; Knottingley Town v Glass Houghton; Sandal v Rothwell.
YORK SENIOR LEAGUE
Premier Division: Acomb v Easingwold; Clifton Alliance v Studley Royal; Fenner v Dunnington; Heworth v Beverley Town; Sheriff Hutton Bridge v Woodhouse Grange; Stamford Bridge v Scarborough; York II v Hull Zingari.
Division 1: Beverley Town II v Goole Town; Bolton Percy v Osbaldwick; Bridlington v Folkton & Flixton; Sessay v Pickering; Sewerby v Malton & Old Malton; Whitkirk v Driffield Town II.
YORKSHIRE ECB LEAGUE
Premier: Appleby Frodingham v Sheffield Utd; Castleford v Barnsley; Doncaster Town v Harrogate; Driffield Town v York; Hull v Cleethorpes; Rotherham Town v Sheffield Coll
CENTRAL YORKSHIRE LEAGUE
Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy, round 2: Mirfield v Northowram; Townville v Birstall; Hunslet Nelson v Ossett; Carlton v Oulton; Liversedge v Wakefield Thornes; Batley v Methley; Great Preston v Wrenthorpe.
HEAVY WOOLLEN CUP
Round 2: Barkisland v Woodlands; Shepley v Hoylandswaine.