PUDSEY sT LAWRENCE cricket chairman Paul Hutchison admits his side’s shock weekend defeat to East Bierley might be the reality check that they need.
Bierley brought Lawrence’s 11-match unbeaten Division One run to an abrupt end with an impressive seven-wicket win at Tofts Road.
Lawrence were dismissed for 179 with the only contributions of note coming from James Smith (46) and Matthew Duce, with James Ford (69) and Mark Gill (57) helping Bierley home in reply with six overs left.
The blow was at least softened by news of second-placed Woodlands’ defeat to New Farnley, for whom Yorkshire spinner James Middlebrook excelled with the bat with his second successive century with a fine unbeaten 120.
But Hutchison acknowledges the need for Lawrence to get back on track immediately, especially with a huge top-of-table clash at Woodlands at Albert Terrace on Saturday.
On the loss, he said: ”With the way we have been playing in the last year or so, I think it was always going to be somebody who was not in the title chase who would seem to get up for playing the big sides.
“There was always the potential for that to happen, although we were never going to go through a season undefeated, that’s for sure.
“It may be the reality check we need. East Bierley are probably also in a false position as they still have a lot of individuals who can do a decent job.
“For us, maybe we just need to be a bit more clinical.
“The good thing is we are at the top, but have not been playing at 100 per cent. We are winning games at probably 85 to 90 per cent at best.
“We are doing what Sir Alex Ferguson used to say: winning ugly.
“But are very aware of the challengers ahead because of the games we have won, a lot of big ones have been at home and we go away to all the big teams now.
“With it being Woodlands away on Saturday, we better man up or our title cushion will be fully gone.
“Their defeat on Saturday got us out of jail a little bit, definitely.
“But we have to look at it as us missing an opportunity to have more of a cushion and carve a bigger lead out.”
Woodlands are 24 points behind Lawrence, with third-placed Hanging Heaton seeing off Saltaire by five wickets, David Stiff taking 5-28.
More magic spin from skipper Mark Harrison (5-48), supported by Jack Holland (64) and Dan Hodgson (82no) helped Farsley move out of the drop zone with a seven-wicket victory at Lightcliffe.
Pudsey Congs defeated arch rivals Pudsey St Lawrence in a thrilling Twenty20 Cup final at Tofts Road last Sunday.
A total of 1,138 runs were scored in the day and the large crowd were entertained with a staggering 51 sixes.
Hosts St Lawrence overcame Woodlands in a high-scoring first semi, while Congs defeated Hanging Heaton by four wickets to set up the Pudsey derby.
Cup holders Congs smashed 231-6 as Callum Geldart (45) and Adam Patel (88) set the tone with an opening wicket stand of 95.
Joe Greaves (59) further tormented the Lawrence bowlers as Congs closed on a formidable total of 231-6.
St Lawrence had earlier chased down a Woodlands score of 203-4 to win their semi with two balls to spare and made a fine attempt to chase down the Congs total.
Matthew Duce (80) and James Smith (51) shared a 104-run stand to give the Saints real hope.
Lawrence tried to keep up with the run rate after Duce and Smith were dismissed, but it proved too much as Congs were crowned T20 champions for a third time.
Woodlands made 203-4 in their semi against St Lawrence with Logan Weston (75) and Pieter Swanepoel (63no) leading the way but the home side produced a thrilling chase- Craig Wiseman hitting the winning six to see them home with two balls to spare.
Congs secured their final place with a four-wicket win over Hanging Heaton as Kez Ahmed took 4-24 to help dismiss the Tewits for 135 and they went on to seal a four-wicket win.