Derbies take centre stage

Derbies take centre stage

A fascinating weekend of derby clashes promises to brighten the Bank Holiday for the district’s Bradford Cricket League enthusiasts – and this particularly applies to the Division Two programme.

Tomorrow (Sat) Gomersal cross the valley to face Hartshead Moor in the unexpected role of second favourites, and they are back in action on Monday when they take the even shorter journey to a Spen Victoria side desperately hoping for a change of fortune after a difficult start to the season.

Gomersal took the field against Bowling Old Lane in their last game with no fewer than eight players who began with the club’s junior side. Most of them have tried their luck elsewhere during their careers but, one by one, they have returned to Oxford Road.

The commitment in the side is undeniable, paceman Joel Pollard even gave up his Wembley FA Cup final ticket to play last week, but there was an indefinable something missing.

Skipper Greg Pickles did his bit with the bat, completing a fine 113 in even time, but the early batsmen lacked the urgency shown by the opposition as Gomersal tried to chase down a total of 297-7.

The top order batsmen found it difficult to penetrate the field as they attempted to force the pace but, in the energy sapping afternoon and early evening heat, the quick singles that featured in the Old Lane total were largely absent in the first half of the Gomersal innings.

Spen should have a chance of a confidence boosting result at Great Horton tomorrow while Gomersal may not fare quite so well against joint-third Hartshead and could find themselves licking their wounds come Monday.

Champions Cleckheaton proved too good for New Farnley at Moorend, winning by 31 runs, and a ride up the A58 to Morley tomorrow won’t hold any fears for John Wood’s men. However, a visit from East Bierley on Monday could be a keenly contested affair.

Hanging Heaton go to Pudsey Congs tomorrow before entertaining Lightcliffe on Monday in what is a re-run of last year’s Priestley Cup final.

However, a Lightcliffe side without their inspirational batsman Chris Taylor, who is taking time out for business and family reasons, is never quite the same potential threat.

Long serving John Carruthers goes into this weekend still six short of joining a select band of bowlers with 1,000 Bradford League wickets – a figure he has long since passed in all competitions – while skipper Gary Fellows is targeting his second successive 1,000-run season.

With a top-scoring 59 in last week’s win over Morley, Fellows has three half centuries in his last four innings’ and already has 251 league runs at an average of 62.6 under his belt.

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