Second Division Bradford League side Gomersal could not have had a worse preparation for Sunday’s Heavy Woollen Cup quarter-final at home to First Division Pudsey Congs, with the winners away to Woodlands – the other Bradford League side left in the competition.
Disappointing defeats at Bowling Old Lane and Bankfoot last week have severely hit any promotion hopes that skipper Graham Hilton may have been harbouring.
Another defeat tomorrow, at home to second-placed Scholes, will effectively signal the end of any meaningful season.
Only an amazing turnaround of fortunes would see Hilton’s men close the gap on Morley and Scholes at the top and, at the same time, see off the challenge of Baildon, Bowling Old Lane and Yeadon.
Last weekend began with a disappointing 16-run defeat at Old Lane, with only Ben Hyde (39), Joel Pollard (5-54) and young wicket keeper Harvey Lockwood (35), making any impression on the game.
Sunday saw an even more deflating defeat when they were bowled out for 99 at Bankfoot, chasing 131.
This was a game Gomersal almost had sown up, as the home side slumped to 86-9, but Hisain Ahmad (68) led a last-wicket stand of 45 after James Russell had earlier taken 5-40.
Gomersal, with an already lengthy tail, never recovered from losing their first three wickets for just 12 runs.
Pudsey Congs, though not in the same class as Matthew Doidge’s five-time First Division champions (2000-2004) are, nevertheless, still a very strong side on their day and with determination enough to pull off a one-wicket win at Undercliffe in their last game in difficult circumstances.
In addition, Congs saw off the challenge of Hanging Heaton and neighbours Pudsey St Lawrence to win the league’s T20 competition last week.
Scholes are just nine points behind Morley in the Second Division title race after their 135-run win over Bowling Old Lane on Sunday.
Atif Zaidi (62) and Yasir Ali (66) did the damage with the bat, while Ali (4-22) and skipper James Stansfield, with 5-15 off 5.5 overs, put paid to the Old Lane batsmen.
It is looking like a very tough weekend ahead for Gomersal.
In the First Division Pudsey St Lawrence lost their unbeaten record when they went down by seven wickets at home to East Bierley.
James Ford (69) and Mark Gill (57) made half-centuries, but they stay 24 points clear of second-placed Woodlands who lost at New Farnley after an unbeaten James Middlebrook century for the winners.
Hanging Heaton moved into third place with a five-wicket win over Saltaire, and Cleckheaton are fourth following an encouraging win over Bradford and Bingley that featured a top-scoring 50 from Mally Nicholson.
However, Cleckheaton go into this week’s game at Pudsey Congs 43 points behind the leaders and that third title in a row looking ever more unlikely.
Hanging Heaton are at home to New Farnley, but all eyes this week will be on Woodlands’ game at home to leaders Pudsey St Lawrence where a win for the home side is essential if the chasing pack are to retain an interest in the title.