Clubs suffer washout weekend as league title chase hots up

Clubs suffer washout weekend as league title chase hots up

WITH three games of the regular season remaining Woodlands look certain to hand over the mantle as Bradford League champions – but to whom remains unclear.

‘Woodies’ sit third ahead of this weekend’s action and find themselves eight points adrift of Pudsey St Lawrence, so their home game against Priestley Cup finalists Hanging Heaton tomorrow (Sat) is now a must-win affair.

St Lawrence face bottom club Saltaire and are favourites to take the lion’s share of the points, leaving current leaders Cleckheaton, who travel to the ever-unpredictable Bradford & Bingley, as the other title option – and favourites to lift the trophy for the first time.

Skipper John Wood has done a fine job with bat and ball this season and there has been little to criticise in his captaincy.

However, the signing of Tim Jackson two years ago – as has previously been pointed out – remains a key factor in the success story at Moorend.

As with almost every other game last weekend Cleckheaton faced the frustration of seeing their game at Lightcliffe washed out, with a score of 157-4 intact.

But they still lead the table by 26 points with just that game at Bingley, a home tie against Saltaire and a derby clash at Woodlands left.

Last time out Cleckheaton lost the prolific Jackson early, the opener scoring only seven, but he has already amassed over 900 runs this season and looks likely to be the first top-flight player to surpass the 1,000 mark.

Hanging Heaton warm up for their Priestley Cup final contest with a trip to probable outgoing champions Woodlands tomorrow.

Richard Gould remains the league’s leading scorer, for Division Two Gomersal, but he is still 68 short of his career mark of 15,000.

Meanwhile, leading wicket taker Rob Burton, of Spen Victoria, boasting 72 after managing 28 wickets in his last four second-tier outings, looks set to fall just short of his three-figure target for 2013.

Meanwhile, Spen were more frustrated than most to lose out to the weather against Keighley, although their rush to try and beat the rain cost them wickets in a bid to catch the visitors’ 205-9. Poor condition perhaps saved them from defeat.

The result leaves Dan Shuffe’s side in third spot nine points behind New Farnley and 29 adrift of leaders Farsley, who were the only side to complete a match last weekend – collecting 15 points at Idle in the process.

Spen tackle Windhill at home tomorrow (Saturday) followed by Bowling Old Lane (away), Undercliffe (home) and Brighouse (home), while the clash between Farsley and New Farnley on the final day of the season could ultimately decide their fate.

By Mike Popplewell

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