AFTER A nip-and-tuck Bradford Premier League title race thus far, not too many will be overly surprised if it goes down to the wire.
Twenty points separate Farsley, in fourth, and leaders New Farnley, with the ‘usual suspects’ of champions Hanging Heaton and Pudsey St Lawrence also both firmly in the mix.
With the season at its halfway mark, the smart money suggests the destination of silverware may not be decided until the final few games of the season – and Hanging Heaton captain Gary Fellows is among that number.
After a mini-blip, the third-placed Tewits are back on an even keel, courtesy of three successive wins; the latest of which arrived in Saturday’s high-scoring affair with Cleckheaton.
Front-runners Farnley, 12 points clear, are showcasing their credentials on the back of a five-match winning streak, with fourth-placed Farsley on an identical sequence.
St Lawrence are also the sort of side whom rivals should also discount at their peril, with all of the top four emerging victorious in the latest round of action.
On a close championship race, Fellows, who struck a half-century against Cleck, said: “I would probably imagine it will be very similar going towards the end of the season.
“There might be two or three all vying for it going into the last few games and, for us, it is a case of getting to the last month of the season and being in the race to give ourselves a chance and, hopefully, we will do that.
“There are still a lot of teams who can beat each other and that is kind of proven.
“Over the past few weeks, we have put some performances together which have been a little bit more like it and to the level we would like to play week in, week out.”
There might be two or three all vying for it going into the last few games and, for us, it is a case of getting to the last month of the season and being in the race to give ourselves a chanceHanging Heaton captain, Gary Fellows.
To their credit, struggling Cleck pushed Heaton all the way at Moorend on Saturday, with the runs flowing amid glorious sunshine.
Heaton opened with a strong 268-7, with Joe Fraser (95no) excelling, while Fellows struck 51 – in-form Tom Chippendale taking 4-60 for the visitors.
Cleck made a game of it, with impressive overseas player Taayab Tahir continuing to endear himself well with club patrons with a classy 100, his third ton of the season as they made 246.
Heaton were rather less enamoured with developments on Sunday as they went down by six wickets in their Priestley Cup encounter with holders New Farnley.
Woodlands, Farsley and Townville join Farnley in the last four, with the draw seeing Woodlands visit Townville and Farsley and Farnley squaring off at Red Lane. The ties will be played on Sunday, July 29.
Opening against Farnley, Heaton totalled 224, with their leading light being Callum Geldart (59).
In the groove for Farnley were Andrew Brewster (4-30) and Luke Jarvis (3-62).
Simon Lambert (40) and Steve Bullen (36) got Farnley off to a sound start and a strong fourth-wicket stand worth 112 between captain Lee Goddard (67) and Alex Baldwin (48no) saw the victors home with ease.
Half-centuries from Dan Hodgson (68) and Pat Kruger (50) helped Farsley book their place in the last four following their 24-run success over Lightcliffe.
Alex Stead (44) top-scored for Lightcliffe, with James Wainman bagging 3-31 for the losers.
An eye-catching innings of 99 from Jonathan Booth enabled Townville to account for old rivals Wrenthorpe by 79 runs in their quarter-final encounter.
Harry Clewett (52) was also in the runs for Townville, who totalled 288, with Kabir Bashir taking 5-32. Clewett then sealed a good day with 4-61.
Kez Ahmed enjoyed a fine 5-7 return as 2016 winners Woodlands skittled Gomersal for 87 en route to a nine-wicket triumph.