Three promotion hopefuls facing a crunch weekend

Three promotion hopefuls facing a crunch weekend

THIS weekend’s two-match programme in the Bradford Cricket League second division brings up the halfway stage in the competition, with Scholes, Gomersal and Spen Victoria still in the promotion race.

Morley, out in front by just 16 points, could find their lead pegged back when they are forced to sit out Sunday as the spare team, but the onus is on their rivals to produce two wins out of two.

While Scholes should have the better of things, their games at Yeadon tomorrow and at home to Bowling Old Lane on Sunday are not without potential pitfalls.

Kasir Maroof, 116, and spinner Daniel Cross, 5-55, were in outstanding form as James Stansfield’s Scholes side saw off visiting Brighouse by 96 runs in their last game, but a trip to Yeadon is a very different proposition.

Runs are always hard to come by there and if bowlers like Altaf Mohammed, 2-56, and Iftikhar Ahmed, 6-41, produce a repeat of their combined 30-over stint to bowl out Bankfoot in their last game, Scholes could have problems.

It should be a little easier on Sunday at home to Old Lane, but with the visitors on the fringe of the promotion race themselves they won’t be giving much away.

In fact Old Lane could have a big say in how the land lies at the end of this weekend as they face third-placed Gomersal tomorrow.

Gomersal, with a game in hand on the top two, are currently 21 points adrift of Scholes and 37 behind the leaders, but they were in fine form at struggling Windhill as skipper Graham Hilton hit 122 and New Zealander Ben Hyde 65 out of 288-6 off 40 overs.

James Russell’s 5-39 made sure Windhill got nowhere near.

It is on the road again for Hilton’s side on Sunday when they go to Bankfoot, but if they can come through this double weekend with something like maximum points they will be going into the second half of the season as serious promotion contenders.

Spen Victoria are 29 points behind Scholes but if they too produce the form at home to Bankfoot and Keighley that they showed in their 130-run win over Hartshead Moor, Adal Islam and Abid Arwan each taking 5-37, then the pressure will certainly be on the leaders.

Division One is proving disappointing for the district’s sides as a lack of consistency is seriously threatening a quest for honours despite Woodlands, Hanging Heaton and Cleckheaton sitting in second, third and fourth places respectively.

At present, no team can match the consistency of unbeaten Pudsey St Lawrence, who hold a 25-point lead over Woodlands and a massive 57-point lead over reigning champions Cleckheaton.

In last week’s games, Woodlands beat Lightcliffe by 97 runs but Hanging Heaton surprisingly crashed to a four-wicket defeat to lowly Undercliffe.

Cleckheaton could do little to stop Pudsey St Lawrence widening the gap between them when they went down by 61 runs at Pudsey, despite a dogged unbeaten 94 from opener Tim Jackson.

Tomorrow, Cleckheaton are at home to an in-form Bradford and Bingley while Hanging Heaton go to Saltaire.

• On Sunday Hopton Mills go to Wrenthorpe in the quarter finals of the CYL’s Jack Hampshire Cup and in the same competition Mirfield Parish Cavaliers are at Hunslet Nelson.

In the second teams’ Wheatley Cup last eight, Birstall are at home to Townville, Ossett go to Azaad and Hopton Mills are at Wakefield Thornes.

Sunday also sees the finals of the Bradford League’s T20 competition at Pudsey St Lawrence, where the hosts play Woodlands at 11am, Hanging Heaton play Pudsey Congs at 2pm and the winners of those games face each other in the final at 5pm.

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