Local cricket: Optimum time for Saints to strike back

Craig Wiseman.
Craig Wiseman.
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NOT good enough – that’s the message from Pudsey St Lawrence with some harsh words likely to be ringing in the players ears ahead of tomorrow’s clash with basements boys Yeadon.

After a polished first half of 2014, James Smith’s side have stumbled in back-to-back Bradford League Division One losses to Cleckheaton and East Bierley.

The upshot is that the Tofts Road outfit now find themselves 36 points behind leaders Cleck with nine matches to go, with cricket chairman Paul Hutchison acknowledging that they are now relying on the frontrunners slipping up in order to propel themselves back into the title race.

A huge weekend in their season represents the opportune moment to strike back, starting with the visit to rock-bottom Yeadon and a Priestley Cup last-four clash at Bierley 24 hours later.

Former Yorkshire player Hutchison, who counts Bierley among his former clubs, said: “We need to get back to winning ways on Saturday with a proper display going into the Sunday.

“We have had two bad weekends. We played pretty poorly in losing to Cleckheaton and while it was frustrating, it was always potentially going to happen. But the East Bierley one was slack; I think we turned up expecting to win, which is not good enough.

“We need to go into each games fully committed. Bierley was a game we should have been winning and ultimately I think we are now pretty much out of the title race unless Cleckheaton mess up.

“I’d be surprised if the captain has not said a few harsh words to the boys and losing that game against Bierley was disappointing.

“At the start of the season, you expect the likes of Bierley to be potential title destroyers for people and they are a side who can turn you over, it’s not as if we weren’t aware of the threat as they have some good individuals.”

Offering his thoughts on the clash with Bierley in the Priestley Cup on Sunday, Hutchison, who confirmed Saints will be without Craig Wiseman – with Jordan Thompson likely to deputise – added: “To be honest, if it came to winning the league or cup, I’d take the league every day as the most consistent side wins the league.

“That said, the Priestley Cup is still special and we know that having won it in 2011 and it would be nice to do that again. But I see it as our second priority at the moment.”

Elsewhere tomorrow, leaders Cleckheaton, 24 points clear at the summit, welcome fast-improving Pudsey Congs, while nearest challengers Woodlands go to Hanging Heaton.

Farsley head to Bradford and Bingley, with Morley, who now find themselves second from bottom, hosting New Farnley.

Several leagues resume after having last weekend off due to the Tour De France, with action in the top-flight of the Aire-Wharfe League seeing Otley face Guiseley and fellow joint-leaders Burley playing at Steeton.

A scrap at the bottom sees Pool welcome rock-bottom Ben Rhydding, with Collingham and Kirkstall playing host to Bilton and Rawdon respectively.

Methley, with an eight-point buffer over rivals Townville in the Premier Division of the Central Yorkshire having home advantage against Hopton Mills, while Townville are at home to Wrenthorpe.

Ossett will be seeking to get their show back on the road at Altofts, as well Wakefield Thornes, who welcome Carlton.

Ackworth, four points clear of Fairburn at the top of Division One of the Pontefract League, go to Wombwell Main.

Fairburn host Stainborough, and South Kirkby facing a derby clash with visiting Frickley Colliery.

York visit Appleby Frodingham in the Yorkshire ECB, with Harrogate and Castleford hosting Barnsley and Cleethorpes respectively. Yorkshire Academy go to Driffield.

In the Wetherby League, Wetherby go to Bilton-in-Ainsty. Kirk Deighton and Old Mods host Scarcroft and Old Leos.

Shadwell host Great Preston, St Chads Broomfield are at home to Barwick, Walton host Sicklinghall.

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