Bowling big guns return to lift Methley

Tim Jackson
Tim Jackson
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IT is safe to assume that the bowling attack that Methley will field in tomorrow’s Premier League encounter with Woodlands will be vastly different to the one who took the field at Cleckheaton last Saturday.

A number of absentees proved telling as Methley went down by six wickets to Nick Lindley-inspired Cleck’ at Little Church Lane, but several players return tomorrow for last season’s Championship One runners-up, led last week by stand-in skipper Dan Shuffe.

Matthew Waite

Matthew Waite

Marcus Walmsley, Matthew Waite and Harry Sullivan were all unavailable, with overseas man Waqas Ahmed also missing along with captain Grant Soames.

But the cavalry of sorts are back tomorrow, including Walmsley, available again after serving a one-match ban after being reported in Methley’s recent Heavy Woollen Cup first-round tie against Scholes.

A further boost also sees Ahmed on deck after having his visa application approved and returned and he could also play in tomorrow’s meeting at Albert Terrace.

Expecting to see a much stronger Methley side this week, Woodlands cricket secretary Brian Pearson said: “Dan is a mate of mine and they have worked very hard to get the team together, but it has been a struggle. But their overseas arrives this week and they have Matthew Waite and Sullivan, who is with the (Yorkshire) Academy, although they might take him away from them.

Dan Shuffe

Dan Shuffe

“They (Methley) won’t have quite the strength in depth that the likes of Hanging Heaton and we have in their batting order. But they are a good side.

“It did not look the strongest side that they had last Saturday and they were missing four bowlers. Walmsley was suspended, the overseas was not here and Waite was with Yorkshire and Sullivan was with the Academy – so that’s four frontline bowlers missing there.

“So that result was not a surprise.”

Tim Jackson’s Woodlands head into tomorrow’s game on the back of successive weekend victories in league and cup last weekend, with Pudsey St Lawrence beaten on their return to Tofts Road before a fine ton from new overseas Ishfaq Ahmad helped the Albert Terrace outfit dismiss Townville in the Heavy Woollen Cup.

Woodlands were the nearest challengers to champions Hanging Heaton last term, eventually trailing the victorious Tewits by 38 points.

And like many observers, Pearson views Heaton as the team to beat in 2018, with his own side having last lifted league silverware in 2012.

He added: “We have been playing the big guns so far and it is a good division and teams will all beat each other.

“It is going to be a good competition again, but I think it is about whoever gets in front of Hanging Heaton will come through.

“Hanging Heaton are a good side and I am going to say that they are the side to beat. They marmalised us when we played them.

“They are a good, balanced unit with some big players.

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AFTER LAST weekend’s surprise loss at Scholes, Farsley will be under no illusions about the need for improve at home to Hanging Heaton in the top-flight tomorrow.

The Rams suffered a hugely disappointing 127-run reverse at New Popplewell Lane as they surrendered their unbeaten record with a whimper after being skittled out for a derisory 88.

Results elsewhere dictated that Heaton remain the only side who have not seen their colours lowered in the league so far this term and lead second-placed Methley by 12 points.

Elsewhere, Cleckheaton, buoyed by last weekend’s big win against Methley, play host to Bradford and Bingley, yet to taste a league victory so far in 2018.

Fourth-placed Pudsey St Lawrence will be seeking to get back on track after last weekend’s loss to Woodlands when they visit East Bierley, yet to win this season and around 12 points adrift at the foot of the table after just three matches.

Scholes, well placed in the early-season table in fifth spot following their promotion last term, visit near-neighbours Lightcliffe.

New Farnley – who lie in third spot and are two points behind Methley and 14 adrift of Heaton – make the trip to Townville.

In Championship One, top meets bottom with Morley at home to Hartshead Moor. Pudsey Congs welcome Hunslet Nelson.

Batley make the trip to Bankfoot, while Gomersal, who lie in second and are eight points behind Morley, entertain fifth-placed Wrenthorpe.

Second-from-bottom Ossett play host to third-placed Baildon, with Yeadon making the trip to second-placed Undercliffe.

Reigning Heavy Woollen Cup champions Woodlands and 2016 winners New Farnley have been handed road trips in the third-round draw.

Woodlands face an intriguing trip to top-flight champions Hanging Heaton in round three, should the Tewits dispose of Ossett in their outstanding second-round tie.

Meanwhile, Farnley head to Shepley.

Wrenthorpe, who won the competition five times between 2007 and 2012, play host to Hoylandswaine, beaten finalists in the past three seasons.

The remaining tie sees Methley welcome Wakefield Thornes.

Ties to be played on Sunday, June 10.