Bradford League: Top flight is big learning curve for Wrenthorpe

In the runs: 'Opener Irfan Amjad who carred his bat scoring 68 not out as Wrenthorpe beat Cleckheaton by three wickets.
In the runs: 'Opener Irfan Amjad who carred his bat scoring 68 not out as Wrenthorpe beat Cleckheaton by three wickets.
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AFTER such a flying start to their Bradford Premier League adventure, hard reality has bitten in recently for Wrenthorpe.

The Bragg Lane End outfit were the early pacesetters alongside Woodlands, but have lost their last four completed league matches and slipped down to ninth spot.

They need to stop the rot by way of a positive result against the side just below them in visiting Lightcliffe is imperative tomorrow, with both sides residing just above the relegation places.

Not that there is any overdue panic at Wrens, acutely aware that part of their learning process is coping with some ‘bumps in the road’ in their adjustment to life in the top-flight following promotion last term.

Encouragement has arrived, certainly in the form of the likes of Khalil Ullah Khan and Irfan Amjad this season.

Chairman Paul Marshall said: “For us, 68 points is still a pretty good haul, nearly a third of the way into the season.

“It is important we pick up the batting and bowling points when we get the opportunity.

“We are still doing well. We are probably where we want to be and have to keep that going.”

“It is a learning curve, but something that we are thriving on and enjoying the ride.

“We had a committee meeting this week and were discussing the mood of the camp and how the first-teamers are all feeling – and in the second team as a number are wanting to get up there and have a go – and it is a relatively happy camp.

“It is hard for some of the players as there have been a lot of Saturday and Sunday games and pressure on some with three double-header weekends on the trot. But it is a challenge we are enjoying.

“Other than the game against New Farnley, we have not really rolled over.”

Several niggles to first-teamers have helped contribute to the recent modest run, according to Marshall, with unavailability – with young spinner Matthew Race having to juggle commitments with Bradford Bulls Academy for instance – being another issue to contend with.

Marshall added: “It has not been helped by having injuries to key players and we have been drafting in second-teamers. I would imagine there are teams doing that all over, but when you are playing teams like Woodlands and New Farnley, it is hard.

“The weather was also against us last weekend against Methley which was a fixture we wanted to get on and play.

“The weather is not helping. The overseas (Khalil Khan) is doing well, but we feel he would thrive on drier conditions as do a couple of other top batsman.”

Woodlands, who have a healthy 31-point lead and boast the division’s leading runs-scorer in Tim Jackson and top wicket-taker in Chris Brice, welcome lowly Undercliffe tomorrow.

Second-placed Hanging Heaton, who have lost two league games already this term, play host to Bradford and Bingley, while champions Pudsey St Lawrence, just four points adrift of the Tewits, go to Townville.

In-form Farsley entertain rock-bottom Methley, while New Farnley will be seeking to kick-start their season at home to Cleckheaton.

In Championship One, fifth-placed Morley welcome lowly Scholes and mid-table Pudsey Congs make the trip to Gomersal. Batley visit fourth-placed Bankfoot.

A top-of-the-table affair sees leaders Keighley host second-placed Baildon.