BRIAN PEARSON is tipping the Bradford League title race to go down to the wire – with results over the past fortnight have opening up proceedings somewhat.
A total of 31 points separate leaders Pudsey St Lawrence and fourth-placed Cleckheaton ahead of tomorrow’s action, down from 57 after the June 20 programme – when champions Cleck lost out to Pudsey to deal a hefty blow to their hopes of making it a hat-trick of championships.
Surprise results over the past few weeks have seen Woodlands lose to New Farnley and St Lawrence succumb to back-to-back defeats against East Bierley and Woodlands.
The upshot is that the battle for silverware has suddenly become very interesting again, more especially if you are a follower of the Tewits or Cleck.
On the title race, Woodlands secretary Pearson, whose second-placed side visit basement boys Saltaire tomorrow, said: “I do think it will go to the wire.
“I would go as far to say that there are four back in it.
“I think with us and St Lawrence losing the previous week, it brought Cleckheaton and Hanging Heaton back into the frame.
“Hanging Heaton are 14 behind us, with Cleckheaton 17 behind. That is roughly a good win behind us and if we lose, we can be pegged back – and we are only 14 behind St Lawrence.
“There’s also the issue of player availability. Pudsey were missing two against us last Saturday including Tom Hudson, which might make a difference moving forward because he has quite a good season for them.
“Unfortunately also for Pudsey on Saturday, Craig Wiseman’s wife had given birth and couldn’t play and that may have just slightly worked for us.
“The previous week against New Farnley, we were missing Soamesy (Grant Soames), who was on honeymoon and these things can alter the balance of the side.
“New Farnley got themselves way up for it and we didn’t play good cricket like we can.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, St Lawrence make the trip to fifth-placed New Farnley, who are in Priestley Cup semi-final action on Sunday.
Hanging Heaton, in third spot, play host to East Bierley, while Cleckheaton entertain neighbours Lightcliffe at Moorend, seeking a spot of revenge for their recent Priestley Cup defeat against them on June 14 at Wakefield Road.
Farsley, who dropped back into the relegation positions last weekend, make the derby trip to Pudsey Congs.
PUDSEY CONGS don’t need reminding of the importance of delivering their Sunday best over the next ten days.
Congs’ first date with destiny comes at Lightcliffe on Sunday in the semi-finals of the Priestley Cup, with the other tie seeing New Farnley welcome Bradford and Bingley.
The Brittania Ground outfit have lifted the famous knock-out trophy on six times in their history, with the last occasion coming back in 2008 when they beat rivals Woodlands in the final, reclaiming the cup after sinking Cleckheaton the previous year.
And spokesperson Ralph Middlebrook believes Congs will start favourites at 2013 winners Lightcliffe on Sunday.
He said: “We are in with a shout in two cups. We beat Lightcliffe comfortably in the league and it was one of our best (seasonal) performances at their place on a lovely pitch.
“You can say we will start favourites in that one and for us to get in the Heavy Woollen Cup and Priestley Cup semi-final isn’t a bad marker.
“Although ideally, you want to win the league first of all, whether it’s football, rugby or cricket.
“In the league, we need to be more consistent.”
A week on Sunday, Congs are also in last-four action when they travel to Albert Terrace to face Woodlands in the Heavy Woollen Cup, which they won last season.