PUDSEY st LAWRENCE have been handed a big boost ahead of tomorrow’s Premier Division summit meeting with Hanging Heaton with the news that Jordan Thompson can forego England 12th man duties to feature.
The all-rounder and Yorkshire junior professional is the designated substitute fielder for England in the second Test with Pakistan at Headingley, but has been given permission to play at Tofts Road tomorrow.
Despite not being able to currently bowl due to an injured knee, Thompson’s batting represents a potent weapon, with St Lawrence expressing relief at his availablility tomorrow.
Captain Chris Marsden, who also welcomes back seamer Richie Lamb, absent on Monday due to commitments in Sweden with the MCC, said: “Jordan is playing on Saturday. He is 12th man for England this week and we weren’t sure if he was able to play, but he rang me and he can and that is good news for us as his batting has been outstanding for us – especially against Townville last Saturday.
“Mark (Robertshaw) produced one of the grittiest knocks I have seen off him and Jordan produced one of the most fluent knocks you will see on a difficult pitch. It was a joy to watch and he showed his skill and Mark grafted and was his dogged self.
“I am really pleased with the lads so far this season, we have started well. Charlie Parker has bowled really well; last Saturday he struggled a bit with his control, but on Monday, he was outstanding with the new ball.
“He is doing great things for us and if he carries on like that, he gives us that control with the new ball and when Jordan is back fit, he is an upgrade for us. You can tell he plays cricket four or five times a week.”
It promises to be the match of the season so far between leaders and 2015 and 2016 league winners St Lawrence and current champions Heaton, who are second, but Marsden is focusing on the game as opposed to the occasion.
He said: “We know it is a big game and that we have to up our game and be at our best. But it is another game and nowadays in the Bradford League, you are just as likely to be beaten by a team in the bottom half as a team who are second or top.
“For us, it is about doing the basics right and we’ll approach it exactly the same. We know a lot of people will be watching it and there is a lot riding on it. But it is about having that mentality of ‘it’s just another game’.
“We have stumbled across the line a couple of times, but we have played some decent cricket in and among some indifferent ones. The lads are doing everything we ask of them and doing things right.
“They have got over the line once or twice by one or two wickets and we have always said that if you are going to win the league and challenge, you have to win those games.
“I remember when we fell short a couple of times in seasons gone by and those small margins cost us. If you get over the line in these games, it puts you in a fantastic position. We have a confident mindset we can do that and I am sure Hanging Heaton do too.”
IT is not just in the Bradford League Premier Division where a mouth-watering top-of-the-table meeting takes place tomorrow.
Over in Championship One, attention will gravitate to Intake Road, where leaders Morley visit second-placed Undercliffe in what has the makings of a real cracker.
Morley boast a 100 per cent record with five wins from five ahead of tomorrow’s test, with their latest victims being Batley, who were undone by some deadly bowling from the in-form duo of Nathan Bromby and Dave Nebard.
A third side expected to be in the promotion shake-up are Wrenthorpe, who make the trip to Hartshead Moor, who won their first league game of the season last weekend.
Elsewhere, Gomersal visit Batley, Pudsey Congs welcome Bankfoot and Yeadon host Baildon. Hunslet Nelson entertain fellow early-season strugglers Ossett.
Back in the Premier League, third-placed New Farnley – who have been linked with a move for ex-Yorkshire seamer Ryan Sidebottom following their capture of another former Headingley bowler in Ajmal Shahzad – visit a Scholes side who suffered back-to-back defeats over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
Another side who suffered consecutive holiday defeats were seventh-placed Farsley, who will be seeking to stop the rot when they head to Methley – following successive losses to near-neighbours New Farnley and Pudsey St Lawrence.
Continuity in selection has proved a bit of a bugbear so far this season for the Red Laners, who have seen the availability of James Logan and James Wainman curtailed by Yorkshire.
Form side Lightcliffe, in fifth, play host to East Bierley, who are already 30 points adrift at the bottom of the top flight after six successive losses.
After a disappointing defeat to Lightcliffe on Monday, fourth-placed Woodlands will be seeking to make amends against another near-neighbour and rival in Cleckheaton tomorrow at Moorend.
The game sees Woodlands captain Tim Jackson face his former club, with the Albert Terrace outfit still seeking a contribution from overseas batting arrival Ishfaq Ahmad, who has scored just four runs from four innings so far.
Townville head to Bradford and Bingley.