IT is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating Bradford League title finishes in years –but Pudsey St Lawrence captain James Smith is sure of one thing.
Namely, that the lions’ share of the pressure is currently thrust on the shoulders of current leaders Hanging Heaton and not reigning champions St Lawrence, who are breathing down their necks in second place, just five points adrift with four games to go.
Action tomorrow sees Heaton visit Cleckheaton, while St Lawrence – back on track after two wins this month following a fraught July – visit relegation-threatened East Bierley.
Third-placed dark horses Farsley, still in with an excellent title chance with the gap between them and Heaton being just 16 points, welcome New Farnley.
On a compelling battle for silverware, Smith said: “Everyone will have a different opinion as to who has the most pressure on their shoulders each week.
“I think Farsley are the ones who provide don’t get enough credit when everyone says it is between us and Hanging Heaton when they are playing some really good cricket and they have to be taken seriously as they are on a roll and have really good momentum.
“Us and Hanging Heaton have the ability and skill, but have we got the nerve when it comes down to it?
“But I do think the pressure is on Hanging Heaton to stay in front now as they have seen their lead cut from 20 points to five.
“They know that if they slip up, either ourselves or Farsley are waiting to take advantage.”
A big game takes place at the bottom tomorrow, with rock-bottom Scholes aiming to heap the pressure on those in the relegation mix by sinking visitors and fellow strugglers Morley, who have plenty of incentive themselves to push for victory in a huge game at New Popplewell Lane.
On the key game against Scholes, who stunned neighbours Cleckheaton last weekend and are now just 21 points behind their second-from-bottom opponents, Morley captain Matt Baxter said: “It is massive, no two ways about it. It is a ‘must-win’.
“To be fair, Scholes had a good win last weekend and will be thinking that they can still pull something out of the bag as they have crept back up.
“We have Scholes, St Lawrence, Hanging Heaton and (Pudsey) Congs left. St Lawrence and Hanging Heaton are both going for the title, so there is that spin on it. But in this league, anyone can beat anyone and we have proved that in this league, to be honest.
“We have just got to win on Saturday, first.
“As last Saturday proved, we are fighting all the way.”
Elsewhere, Pudsey Congs host Lightcliffe – with both still in the relegation picture – while Bradford and Bingley go to Woodlands.