WOODLANDS secretary Brian Pearson admits that the battle for ECB Bradford Premier League silverware is now a two-horse race.
The third-placed Albert Terrace outfit, who visit fourth-placed Townville tomorrow, endured a bittersweet time of it last weekend – lifting the Heavy Woollen Cup, but suffering a disappointing league loss to New Farnley.
Pearson concedes that the defeat has all but ended his side’s hopes of the title, although it will certainly be their big target in 2018 after three consecutive seasons of cup success.
Pearson said: “I think we are out of it now. It is nearly forty points and I don’t think we can do it.
“I said at the start of the season that Hanging Heaton would be my favourites. They have stayed the course and beaten us three times and we have to bow to that.
“They have a really strong batting unit and I think their bowling unit is effective as well.
“But I think Farsley are still in with a shout. We still have them to play at home, so we might have a bearing on it.”
Twelve points clear, favourites Heaton visit struggling Cleckheaton tomorrow, while Farsley welcome New Farnley.
Rock-bottom Pudsey Congs host Bradford & Bingley and will be hoping that Pudsey St Lawrence can do them a favour by winning at fourth-from-bottom East Bierley. The other side in the relegation equation, Batley, are at home to Lightcliffe.
In Championship 1, leaders Methley host Wrenthorpe, who are third, while second-placed Scholes go to Morley, in fourth.
Hartshead Moor will clinch the Championship 2 title with an eight-point haul at home to second-placed Altofts.
The Priestley Cup final takes centre stage on Sunday and history will be made when New Farnley take on Methley at Undercliffe (noon start).
Both sides have never tasted glory in the competition, with the game pitting two captains – and good friends – together in Farnley’s Lee Goddard and Methley rival Grant Soames.
Goddard said: “I used to play at Methley, they have a beautiful ground and I am not surprised they are doing well. Their skipper, Grant Soames, is a good friend of mine.
“It should be a good game – Methley are top of the league and full of confidence, and obviously a good team. We have got to apply ourselves with the bat.”
Soames added: “The Priestley Cup has been a welcome distraction from our main aim of promotion.
“As we did in the semi-final, we will enjoy the experience and hope to cause an upset. New Farnley are a well-established Premier League side and boast an array of high-quality players – we will be huge underdogs, a tag which we enjoy.
“An added incentive for us is to become the first club to lift both the Jack Hampshire and Priestley Cup – the game will hopefully raise the awareness of the new Central Yorkshire League clubs to the faithful Bradford League fans and show the strength in depth it now brings to the Bradford Premier League.”