After a short absence to allow for holidays – the weekend preview is back just in time for the end of the season! (Thanks to Darren for filling in with his best Ronnie Corbett straight to camera monologue).
Firstly, I need to remind you all about our upcoming presentation evening. This covers all junior and senior players and takes place at the club next Friday evening from 6:30pm onwards – yes, I know the 3’s and 4’s still have a game to play but we couldn’t pass up the chance to use the marquis that rugby have hired for a do the following evening!
There is also the re-arranged Under 18’s Cup Final which is currently scheduled for Sunday 18th of September. As this date could clash with Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, the date may change again.
In the games that have taken place since the last preview, we must take a moment to recognise the stunning achievement of James Ford, in reaching 1,000 runs for the season. In a standout year for our first team batters, Fordy has risen to the top on the back of 4 hundreds, with a top score of 162*.
Thanks to their mid to late season run of consecutive victories, Dwayne Heke’s men have reached mid-table safety and earned the honour of watching over their shoulder as Keighley and East Ardsley battle to avoid the drop. The ones welcome Gomersal to Jenny Lane for the final game of the season, where they will be trying to erase the memory of a high scoring defeat earlier this summer. Hopefully our batters will have one more century up their sleeves and Umar and Abdullah will battle it out for one last five for!
Unlike the first team, the seconds have everything to play for at the weekend, as they enter into a classic last game shoot out for a promotion spot. We currently sit in 4th position on 303 points, one point behind Lightcliffe and Bradford & Bingley. After winning 9 games in a row, the twos have given themselves a decent shot at going up alongside Farsley, but everything will come down to winning the game (away at Yeadon) and making sure that they earn one more point than the teams above them (who both have very winnable games). However, before we start talking about points and rules, there is a game to win and you can guarantee Yeadon will not want to do us any favours. For the twos to be even in the mix at this point is testament to the amazing run they have been on, during which they have beaten both Lightcliffe and Bradford and Bingley and also exercised some demons in rescuing a lost cause away at East Ardsley.
After the third team’s game finished early last weekend, I was able to race across to Wagon Lane and see the conclusion of our game with B&B. Watching on from the side-lines, it appeared everything was lost as Matthew Swallow started to put our bowling to the sword – until he took one risk too many against Josh Capper and Jake Terry clung onto one of the most important catches of the season. From that moment on, the brains trust of Mather and Dean went with a combo of Danny Hunt and Jamie Abbott, who used all their cricketing nous to firstly slow down the scoring and then strangle out the remaining batters. If we do come up short tomorrow, the whole team should hold their heads high and be proud of the effort they have put in to reach the final weekend and still have something to play for. However, if they do make it over the line – there will be one hell of a party!
Despite the challenge of player absences and unjustly abandoned games – the third team have managed to scrap their way to 3rd place in their division, just 7 points behind Thornbury. With two games still to play, there is every chance we can reach second position which would represent a major achievement for a team that has been constantly in flux for the entire season. Alongside reaching a cup semi-final and bringing through countless of our younger players – the threes have functioned as the engine room of the club this season. Skipper Dave Hodgson (Baildon’s very own Red Adair) has become used to dispatching his players to whichever game they are needed for without a second’s thought to how it will affect his XI. This Saturday’s game sees our neighbors' Tong Park Esholt visit the Belmont Superdome, for what will no doubt be an extremely tight game as they need every point possible in order to fight off possible relegation.
The fourth team visit bottom side St Chads Broomfield on Saturday, hoping to close the gap on the teams above them in order to finish as high as they can. Hopefully the likes of Alfie Turner, Sam Miller and Parth Sunil can continue their recent run of good form and lead the fours to victory.
The last game of the weekend takes place away at Hunslet Nelson as Dave Hodgson leads the Sunday Side into a winner takes all clash. A victory would see us retain the title we won last year. We will be going into the match with a side including 6 players aged 18 and under. Fingers crossed the rain stays away and we can come home with some silverware for the trophy cabinet!
Suspiciously, Simon Bullock currently sits top of the fantasy cricket league that he organised for us. I have referred the matter to the Fantasy Cricket Ombudsman…
RANK Player Team Score
1 Simon Bullock Royal Shipley Super Titans 7496
2 Daniel Metcalfe Four Players 7069
3 Darren Wilson Wilson's Wanderers 7064
4 Lucas Shaw Mullet XI 7064
5 Darren Barber The Master Blasters 6993
6 Tim Burnley The Umpire Strikes Back 6851
7 Ashley Free Onlyhitsitinfrontofsquare XI 6836
8 Louis Turner Six Offenders 6717
9 Alex Shaw Director's XI 6541
10 Sam Holmes Stumped for Answers 6495
Top 10 Highest scoring players
Total 1sts 2nds 3rds 4ths
Kevin Mcdermott 1667 1667 0 0 0
James Ford 1206 1206 0 0 0
Stefan Mather 1028 0 1028 0 0
Dwayne Heke 1027 1027 0 0 0
Abdullah Khan 947 947 0 0 0
Harry BrookDobson 945 0 214 708 23
Tawseef Ahmed 884 0 0 884 0
Samuel Kelly 855 20 835 0 0
Haris Hussain 842 32 810 0 0
Umar Zahoor 797 797 0 0 0