HAS THERE ever been such a destiny defining season in the Bradford League’s 113-year history?
Although the creation of the Conference has established a third tier this season, as well as the innovative A and B Championship sections at second tier level, several clubs with long standing Bradford League memberships could be caught in the trap if those sections are split to create an equivalent of leagues one and two.
Amongst those clubs struggling at the wrong end of the table this season are Spen Victoria and new boys Hopton Mills - with the two clashing in Championship B at Spen Lane last weekend.
George Deegan hit a determined 98 before falling lbw to Mills’ Umar Abbas, who cleaned up the Spen tail with a 5-9 return, but with Rob Warriner’s 4-25 in 14 overs, and 3-8 from Brad Davis, Mills collapsed to 18-8 before finishing on just 69 all out.
Next up for Hopton Mills is a visit from Gomersal while Spen go to second-placed Wrenthorpe still 31 points adrift of a top six place, despite last week’s result, and with only six games left to play.
Hartshead Moor and Brighouse face a near impossible task to avoid the bottom two in the division and Hopton Mills look set for a probable third-bottom finish, while in Championship A bottom-club Idle, historically one of the League’s most successful sides - and the only one laying claim to have hired someone of the calibre of Sir Jack Hobbs - look like sampling life outside the top two divisions next season.
In the Championship A promotion race it has been a very successful season for a Batley side who were renowned for their inconsistency in the Central Yorkshire League.
The men from Mount Pleasant have taken to the Bradford League like ducks to water and last week’s eight-wicket win at home to Idle left them 20 points clear of Yeadon having played a game more.
Aqsad Ali was Batley’s man of the match by a mile after hitting an unbeaten 50 to steer his side home, having earlier taken 6-20 to help bowl out the visitors for 136.
There is pressure on him for a repeat performance when they go to Saltaire tomorrow.
Ossett, at home to second-bottom Keighley, and Birstall, just a point ahead of tomorrow’s opponents Baildon, currently hold a place amongst the top six, but it is tight in the mid-table positions.
Sunday sees Ossett host the final of the Jack Hampshire Trophy between themselves and Conference leaders Buttershaw St Paul’s.
Skipper Richard Whitehurst will be hoping for a better outcome than when he led Gomersal in their 2011 Heavy Woollen Cup final defeat to Shepley at Spen Victoria.