SKY SPORTS may have been busy attempting to hype up a final-day Super Sunday showdown, but the Bradford League have stolen a march on the TV broadcasters by having their own extravaganza 24 hours earlier!
After last weekend’s marquee meeting of two Bradford League top-flight heavyweights between Woodlands and champions Pudsey St Lawrence, a mouth-watering double-header takes place tomorrow which sees the top four all square off.
It sees leaders Farsley make the short trip to Tofts Road to face fourth-placed St Lawrence, while Hanging Heaton, in third spot in the early standings, entertain the side just above them in the table in Woodlands at Bennett Lane.
As it stands, Farsley hold a one-point advantage over Woodlands, who are a further one point in front of the Tewits – with just two points separating the top three after four matches of the season, with the trio being the only side who still boast 100 per cent top-flight records.
St Lawrence’s peerless streak ended last weekend with a defeat to Woodlands, who will be seeking to lay down a further marker against Heaton.
It is a big few weeks for the Bennett Laners, who travel to Farsley next weekend, with both encounters being significant ones for Gary Fellows’ side, desperate to go one better after just missing out on league silverware last year.
Tomorrow is an intriguing encounter, with Woodlands’ main close-season recruit being former Tewits captain Mark Lawson, who returns to one of his old stomping grounds with the ex-Yorkshire player aiming to help fill the breach with the legendary Sarfraz Ahmed no longer at Albert Terrace.
Heaton chairman John Carruthers said: “It (Woodlands) is a massive game and then we play Farsley, so that is two of the three sides who are undefeated.
“The transition between losing Saffy and losing a different generation is working well for Woodlands so far and it will be another tough game.
“You cannot get away from Pudsey (St Lawrence), Woodlands and Farsley in terms of the main candidates. New Farnley too, although though they have started poorly. I still think they will do okay.
“The usual sides will be up there and it will be a very competitive league. There’s also Townville, who have surprised a few people this year.
“It will be a nice one to win this year because of the league’s strength.
“I am not one of those who says we will go undefeated all season. Sides at the top are going to lose games no matter what and no matter who you play sometimes. That’s the nature of the Bradford League.”
It will also be a cracker at Tofts Road, with Farsley having proved that last season’s fine campaign is no flash in the pan.
With a top-order who has led from the front in terms of their runs output in James Price and a well balanced side, Farsley have the look of stayers – with both themselves and St Lawrence both adhering to the adage that continuity breeds success.
IN PREVIOUS years, games between Cleckheaton and Pudsey Congs have usually showcased two title-aspiring outfits with a good chance of being in the silverware shake-up come the business end of the season.
The current campaign may only be a month old, but it already has the look of a year of consolidation for the pair, who are no longer at the height of their powers.
Congs have put a clear emphasis on youth as they seek to bring through a new generation of stars who they hope will eventually reprise those heady days of the noughties.
Cleck also have the look of being between eras as they aim to rebuild, albeit with a steady hand at the tiller in veteran John Wood, steering the Moorlanders through tougher times.
Both Cleck and Congs have so far picked up a modest one victory in four games thus far.
Elsewhere, mid-table New Farnley visit rock-bottom Bradford and Bingley, who have lost four out of four this term, while Townville, who started top-flight life well, go to Lightcliffe. East Bierley host Batley.
In Championship A, the top two hit the road with Scholes visiting Baildon and Methley heading to Birstall. Wrenthorpe host Morley.
Yeadon play host to Gomersal and Ossett make the trip to Bankfoot.
Championship B leaders Hartshead Moor will be seeking their fifth win of the campaign when they visit Keighley.
The Highmoor Lane outfit have already won more games than they managed in the whole of 2017, when they finished second from bottom.
Key cup action takes place on Sunday, with Hanging Heaton playing host to Cleethorpes in the Royal London Club Championship at Bennett Lane.
It is a competition that the Tewits have enjoyed success in over the years and they are hoping for more of the same in 2017.
Chairman John Carruthers said: “We always like to have an interest in the cups and if we get through, we have an area group semi-final and final both at home.
“So Sunday could be huge and make a difference.
“We have played them previously and managed to win. But they knocked out Chesterfield in the first round and they were the side who we lost to a couple of years ago.”