ON THE brink is the phrase you are looking for.
After finishing in the top four for the last two seasons and ending up as runners-up on three occasions since 2014, Woodlands are poised to reacquaint themselves with an ‘old friend’ shortly – the Bradford League top-flight title.
Cieran Garner’s side require just 11 points from their last three games to claim their first league silverware since 2012, which looks like a foregone conclusion after their tense win over nearest challengers Bradford and Bingley.
A B&B collapse saw them perish for 125, with Muhammad Bilal (3-36) and Brad Schmulian (3-14) profiting, with Yorkshire’s Harry Brook (39) top-scoring for the losers.
Earlier, Woodlands were left with work to do with the ball after being dismissed for a below-par 131, with Brook taking 4-41.
But the Albert Terrace outfit held their nerve and few could deny them league glory after a consistent campaign when their balance, solidity and all-round game has separated them from the rest with class acts in the shape of Schmulian and Chris Brice.
Woodlands are 39 points clear of B&B, having played a game fewer and the title – and the prestigious league and Priestley Cup double – can be confirmed at Undercliffe on Saturday, venue of their recent cup success over New Farnley.
Undercliffe find themselves pitted in the relegation picture, with twists and turns continuing by the week.
Last weekend’s big winners were Undercliffe and Methley, who saw off New Farnley and Wrenthorpe respectively, to boost their survival hopes.
Occupying the bottom two slots are Wrens and Lightcliffe, who face each other in a huge encounter at the weekend at Wakefield Road.
Lightcliffe prop up the rest and are 14 points adrift of third-from-bottom Methley.
Wrens are 10 points above Lightcliffe heading into the fixture.
A fine showing from overseas Khalid Usman helped Undercliffe (135) ease their drop fears against Farnley (124)
He hit an unbeaten 48 and followed up with a fine 5-34, well supported by Farrouk Alam (3-28) as Undercliffe secured a keynote victory.
Luke Jarvis (4-45) and Andrew Brewster (3-24) were in the wickets for Farnley, whose inconsistency in a disappointing league season continued.
Methley’s Great Escape pitch continued with an eight-wicket drubbing of Wrens.
Marcus Walmsley (60no) and Yorkshire’s Matthew Waite (35no) saw the victors home with ease as Methley chased down their low target of 122 with few alarms. It is the first time that Methley have been out of the top two so far in 2019, with their timing looking to be exquisite.
Sudara Udagadara (3-36) was in the wickets for Methley.
Meanwhile, cellar dwellers Lightcliffe – who play Wrenthorpe and Methley in their next two games – were all out for 107 en route to another demoralising day, against Townville.
Jack Hughes (5-28) and Richie Bresnan (4-19) came to the party for the victors, as did opener Jonathan Booth (56no) as Townville continued their fine league season with an eight-wicket canter.
A cracker at Bennett Lane saw Pudsey St Lawrence (250-5) edge out Hanging Heaton (249-8) by one run – in a meeting which many would have viewed to be a potential key top-of-the-table acid test at the season’s outset.
Defeat was tough on Ben Kohler-Cadmore, who hit a fine 105, with Charlie Best (75) and Joel Curtis (64) top-scoring for Lawrence.
The Tewits find themselves in a disappointing sixth spot, with Lawrence in fourth, just above Farsley.
Overseas man Pat Kruger took a magical 7-19 as Farsley skittled Cleckheaton for 48 en route to a seven-wicket cruise against the Moorenders.