Our injured second team skipper Darren Wilson talks us through the weekend's action as we get to the business end of the season.
A defining weekend is how this weekend can be described, with both the first and second team facing East Ardsley with the thirds in action at Adel and the fourths at home vs Pudsey Congs.
The first team's form over the last few weeks has been excellent, and after comprehensively beating Keighley last week, this weekend offers the opportunity to rubber stamp safety vs East Ardsley. However, it must be noted that East Ardsley had an impressive win last weekend over Birstall, and also beat us in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and in James Van Der Merwe have a proven performer. Calm heads is the order of the day for the first team, and who knows we may see yet another first team century. James Ford's unbeaten 100 last week certainly caught the eye. If the usual performers were to fail, let's hope that some of the players who have been on the periphery in recent weeks can stand up and make a telling contribution.
The second team have never won at East Ardsley, and Jeffrey Field seems to be a bogey ground for Baildon sides. Last year's encounter at times descended into a farce, in which the second team were done by the count back rule, in a game where no one really knew the final target. The sooner Duckworth Lewis is introduced for second team cricket, the better for all concerned. No doubt at some point, we will benefit from the count back, more likely than ever now, with our injured Captain (yours truly) not playing! The second team have from what seemed like a mid table season, put themselves in with an outside chance of promotion. Since the captain's injury our senior players have really stepped up, with guys coming in from the third team making important contributions. It really does emphasise the true depth we have at the club, and for me gives me great satisfaction seeing these lads take their opportunities.
The third team face Adel, still very much in the frame for promotion, despite losing many of their best players during the season. Whilst frustrating for skipper Dave, it is a good sign as it means the players are progressing. Half of Dave's original team now are the second team and none look out of place. Special mention must go to Dave Hodgson who has transformed the third team from the roots that Ash put in place to a team able to challenge at the top end of the table. He never puts up any resistance to me taking his players, and genuinely wants his players to challenge themselves where possible. It would be easy to say no to keep his team strong, but he has the right ethos that everyone at the clubs adheres to. This includes giving opportunities to our promising crop of quick bowlers. Watch out for names, Leo Smalley, Owen Pickles, Sam Miller, Josh Hannan and Sam Butterfield. All these guys have real potential to go really far in the game and have genuine pace for their respective ages.
The fourth team continue to get 11 men out even in the height of holiday season. I am not quite sure on the capacity of Ashley Free's phone book, but he must have some serious data capacity. Last week he messaged in excess of 35 people to get us to 11, only for one to pull out on Saturday morning. This commitment to get a team out went rewarded with a fine win over a New Farnley "Development 11"/ Third Team. Ross Todd even turned out, and rumours are he even enjoyed himself. The fourths like the threes have suffered from unavailability above, but which other club can boast 4 Saturday Senior Teams.
This Saturday will test the player pool even further, but the club is flourishing. We also have a Junior Under 18 final to look forward to on Sunday 11th September. Would this be the perfect way the end the season? Enjoy the games, and I hope to take to the field again!