Pudsey St Lawrence secretary Richard Brown believes his side will have to approach every game ‘as a cup final’ as the Bradford League Division One title race hots up.
With four games to go, Saints hold a 10-point lead at the top but Brown insists they will have to stay focused to claim the crown.
“The top four is really close this year,” said Brown. “Everyone’s playing well at the top, all top four sides won last weekend, so it’s definitely exciting. You can’t really split the four of us but we’re looking forward to the challenge of keeping hold of top spot.
“As long as we just worry about ourselves we should be fine,” he added. “But we can’t switch off. Teams like Woodlands won’t give up until the final ball is bowled so we’re under pressure, but we’re absolutely confident we can do it.”
The Leeds side’s run-in begins with a clash against eighth-placed Lightcliffe this weekend and Brown, winner of the Club Person of the Year Award in 2013, admits it is a clash he is looking forward to.
“It should be a good game,” he said. “There are a lot of former St Lawrence players in their team so we know what they’re about, but they’ll be fired up and ready for it.
“They’re lower down the table but we certainly can’t afford to take them lightly; they’ve got some good players and they will be looking to make it very tough for us.
“Every game is a cup final between now and the end of the year, starting on Saturday.”
Elsewhere this weekend, second-placed Woodlands will be looking to notch up two consecutive wins and keep up the pressure on Saints when they host Bradford & Bingley, who sit seventh in the league.
Third-placed Cleckheaton, who are just eight points adrift of Woodlands, head to underperforming New Farnley in this round of fixtures where they will be seeking a third successive win, while Hanging Heaton, locked on 240 points with Cleckheaton, host Pudsey Congs.
Further down the league, rock-bottom Saltaire welcome out of sorts Undercliffe as they bid to keep their top-flight status intact, as fellow strugglers Farsley face a tough trip to East Bierley.
Meanwhile, a team of England legends will be taking on Guiseley CC in a T20 match today (4pm) in aid of the club and the British Heart Foundation in memory of former Guiseley president Hedley Houseman who died last year.
The legends team includes famous names such as: Steve Harmison; Matthew Hoggard, Mark Ramprakash, Simon Jones, Ryan Sidebottom, Anthony McGrath, Paul Nixon, Alex Tudor, Devon Malcolm, Adam Hollioake Chris Schofield.
Ground admission today is £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and family tickets are £20.
The clubhouse bar is open from noon and there will be a barbecue from 3pm as well as raffles and other attractions.
BILTON batsman Ryan Bradshaw won’t be taking anything for granted in tomorrow’s Waddilove Cup Final rematch with Burley.
Bilton lifted the cup on Sunday with a resounding eight-wicket victory over tomorrow’s opponents but Bradshaw knows his side – who currently side in fourth spot in the Aire-Wharfe League – must be more consistent in the league.
He said: “The one thing that Burley and ourselves have got in common is that we are both markedly inconsistent.
“We blew them out of the water on Sunday and beat Otley the previous week who are top of the league but then we will go and lose to someone who sits towards the bottom of the table.
“There’s only one point between us in the league – we’re fourth and they are fifth and it will be a difficult game but it’s probably one of those where no one knows what to expect.
“They didn’t play very well on Sunday so they will probably be a lot better this weekend and for sure they’ll be wanting to get one over us.
“We obviously wanted to win the league but that’s out of our hands now because we have been too inconsistent. We don’t deserve to win the league – we deserve to be where we are which is fourth and we are playing for pride now.”