CHAMPIONS Pudsey St Lawrence may be leading the new-look ECB Bradford Premier League with a 100 per cent record, but captain James Smith knows one thing.
Namely, that if they don’t step things up after last weekend’s scratchy win over rock-bottom Scholes, then they will come a cropper against a side tipped firmly to be in the title mix in September in Hanging Heaton.
While ‘winning ugly’ may have its place for all sides, Smith is savvy enough to know that his side’s weekend opponents will be far more ruthless at exposing their deficiencies than Scholes were last weekend.
The Tewits may have lost for the first time this season last weekend, when they went down in a run-fest against Lightcliffe, despite the best efforts of the irrepressible Gary Fellows, but Smith acknowledges rival class when he sees it.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game at Tofts Road, Smith said: “They always give us a good game and they are a side who are absolutely laced with talent from top to bottom.
“It is one of those games where if we perform like we did on Saturday, I don’t think we will be having a similar type of result and they will take full advantage.
“We know we have got to be right on our game on Saturday.
“On paper, they have got one of the best sides going and, in Gary Fellows, they have got an absolute top-class player and a very good captain.
“He’s a great leader and if he keeps showing them the way by scoring runs for fun, they have a chance and we know how dangerous they are.
“They are a team similar to us in that when they are riding high, they are very difficult to beat and have a strong batting line-up with shot-makers and a good bowling attack.
“They will be there or thereabouts this season and one of the teams that you keep an eye on, definitely.”
As far as title defences go, St Lawrence, even accounting for a middle order collapse in last weekend’s game at Scholes, are in a decent place.
Once again, several familiar faces have come to the party and it should surprise no-one that run-machine Mark Robertshaw is leading the way.
After last season’s haul of 1,000 league runs, the rock-solid opener has made an accomplished start to 2016 – with knocks of 65 and 97 already this season in four matches, along with a knock of 60 in the Priestley Cup.
Smith added: “Mark just cannot stop scoring runs. He just looked the part all the time. To be fair, with us missing Josh Wilson, who has been injured, the bowling unit are also fronting up and Richie Lamb’s performance on Saturday – both from a batting and bowling point of view – was excellent to see.
“Charlie Parker has also come into the side and settled in really well and showed real promise.
“We are missing Josh. But on the same front, we have a squad for a reason and the guys have pulled through.
“Last season was a team effort and the guys are pulling together again.”