Bradford League: Saints happy to be the hunters not the hunted

Pudsey St Lawrence captain, Chris Marsden. PIC: Steve Riding
Pudsey St Lawrence captain, Chris Marsden. PIC: Steve Riding
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NEW PUDSEY ST Lawrence captain Chris Marsden believes that being the hunter as opposed to the hunted can work in his side’s favour in 2018, writes LEON WOBSCHALL.

After back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016, St Lawrence were the prized scalp for all ECB Bradford Premier League rivals last term as they chased a hat-trick of championships.

Experienced Pudsey St Lawrence batsman, James Smith. PIC: Steve Riding

Experienced Pudsey St Lawrence batsman, James Smith. PIC: Steve Riding

It proved telling in the end with Hanging Heaton denying them another league gong and winning their first title since 1999 in the process, with Marsden believing that the Tewits are now the team with the pressure upon their shoulders.

For an experienced and settled team like St Lawrence with a host of proven operators in their ranks including himself, predecessor James Smith, opener Mark Robertshaw and several others, being under the radar a little more this year may not be a bad thing, he feels.

Marsden, whose side started off last weekend with a quick-fire win at Lightcliffe and who visit Cleckheaton tomorrow, said: “With Hanging Heaton winning the league last year, it takes a bit off us after being in the spotlight for the last two years.

“Obviously, the pressure is on Hanging Heaton to defend their title and we will be chasing them and it is something we look forward.

Pudsey St Lawrence opener, Mark Robertshaw. PIC: Steve Riding

Pudsey St Lawrence opener, Mark Robertshaw. PIC: Steve Riding

“It is one of those things. With us having not a massive change to our team, there is no onus on our new recruits as to how well they are doing and those who have played for us have been here for a long time.

“It gives us a quiet confidence as we all know our games and how each other play and fit in. I think everyone can beat everyone.”

Marsden admits that being handed the captaincy reins at Tofts Road and joining a long list of illustrious names in league cricket to be bestowed with that honour is a source of immense pride.

The challenge of being the man to hopefully bring back league silverware to the club is also one which sits well with him too.

Marsden said: “It is a good challenge. We are in a very good place at the minute as a club and have a really good junior section as a club which is thriving and it is good to be at the helm of that in driving the club forward. Hopefully, we will look to regain the league title.”

He added: “It is something I have always wanted to do at Pudsey and it is a great honour for myself in captaining not just a great club, but a team that has got a lot of good friends in who I have played cricket with for an awful long time.”

St Lawrence have started the season with two away games, with work still being done to bed in their new square, with some inclement late winter and early spring weather being something that the club would rather have done without.

Marsden, whose side’s first scheduled home league fixture is next weekend, said: “We had the square relaid and with the dodgy weather at the end of the season, it pushed them back a couple of weeks at the start of the procedure.

“With the snow and everything coming quite late in the winter, it has put them behind quite a lot.

“The contractors have been really good in trying to get on top of things. But the weather is a set-back. But the league have done us a really good time in sorting the second team with grounds to play home games at.”

Jamie Pickering who scored 108 goes on the attack with Ben Morley .

Photo Gallery: Cricket action from the weekend’s local games