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Bradford League: Farsley are primed for make-or-break month

Farsley's 'James Wainman in action.
Farsley's 'James Wainman in action.
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THIS IS the time when it starts to get serious for Farsley.

Firmly in the Bradford Premier League title mix once again, the Red Lane outfit have their sights set on lasting the course this time around – in contrast to the past few seasons when they have fallen away.

Farsley's 'Mark Harrison.

Farsley's 'Mark Harrison.

Should Ryan Cooper’s side lift the top-flight league championship next month – for the first time in 56 years – then certainly no-one could accuse them of not earning it.

They will have done it the hard way, more especially when you factor in their forthcoming fixtures at the business end of the season against the likes of Hanging Heaton, New Farnley and Pudsey St Lawrence.

It represents as tough a triple-header as it gets at this stage of the campaign.

And if that is not enough, Farsley must also face Methley in their run home – alongside a Priestley Cup semi-final with Farnley.

Hanging Heaton's 'Gary Fellows.

Hanging Heaton's 'Gary Fellows.

A sign of things to come arrives this weekend when Farsley visit champions Heaton before hosting Farnley in the last-four of the Priestley Cup on Sunday – in a crunch double header.

Farsley’s Mark Harrison said: “It is a big month for us and the (Priestley Cup) semi is a big game as well and a big opportunity to try and get some silverware. I think it was 1995 when we last won the Priestley Cup, so that is a long time.

“Then, it is 1962 since we won the league; a long, long time. It is something we are all striving for and hopefully we can show that consistency between now and the rest of the season.

“When we hit that ‘big three’ in the middle, we have got to win two out of those three to keep ourselves in that hunt.”

A trip to Bennett Lane tomorrow provides a sure test of Farsley’s mettle and it promises to be a fascinating battle between the Tewits’ high-class batting parade and the smart bowling acumen of the visitors.

It pits the likes of Gary Fellows, Nick Connolly, Ben Kohler-Cadmore and Callum Geldart against Farsley bowlers James Logan, James Wainman, Pat Kruger and Chris Henry in an intriguing contest.

The reverse fixture at Red Lane went the way of Farsley, with some key contributions arriving from Logan and Joe Greaves en route to a four-wicket success.

Now, Farsley make the trip over to the Batley venue, which has proved a difficult one in times gone by.

Harrison added: “I would say we have not fared well there in the past. They have always been strong and batted us out of the game, really.

“It is one of those. I think our bowling unit is a stronger one than theirs. But their batting line-up looks phenomenal on paper.

“We know we have got to go there and bat well and also back it up with the ball and try and take it to their batsmen and outmuscle them a little bit.

“I don’t like bowling to them! It is a challenge against the likes of Geldart, Fellows and Connolly, who are very consistent. We have got to be up for it.”

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Some of the best club cricketers in the country will be on show this Sunday when Hanging Heaton stage the Vitality ECB National Twenty20 Cup Area Finals.

A large crowd is expected as Bradford League representatives Hanging Heaton, Woodhouse Grange, Barnard Castle and reigning National T20 champions South Northumberland meet.

There will be two semi-finals, with Hanging Heaton taking on Woodhouse Grange at 10.30am followed by the mouthwatering clash between South Northumberland and Barnard Castle, with the final to follow later in the afternoon.

Eight area finals are taking place across the country on Sunday with the winners qualifying for four regional finals on August 12 to determine who will play in the National Club T20 Finals at Derbyshire CCC in September.

South Northumberland won last year’s National T20 as they overcame C&R Hawks in the semi-final before a nailbiting final win over Wimbledon when they chased down the modest total of 117 to claim the trophy with man-of-the-match Simon Birtwisle scoring 47.

South Northumberland are regarded as one of the best club side’s in the country having won the North East Premier League title 11 times since 2003 and they will be bringing a coach load of supporters to finals day.

Barnard Castle are the North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League T20 winners and will also be well backed.

Yorkshire League North winners Woodhouse Grange — who defeated York on their way to the title —face an early start as they face the hosts.

Heaton qualified for the area finals by wining last year’s Bradford League T20 and they have already booked a place in next year’s national stages having beaten Methley a fortnight ago to retain their title.

Ben Kohler-Cadmore struck an 18-ball half-century in that win and there promises to be plenty of big hitting on show.

With coloured kit, black sight screens and pink matchballs being used it promises to be a spectacular occasion.

Admission is free but programmes (including a raffle number) will be on sale priced £2.