Priestley Cup final: Underdogs tag claimed by both Farsley and Woodlands

Farsley's Mark Harrison.
Farsley's Mark Harrison.
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THE UNDERDOG card is one which Priestley Cup finalists Farsley and Woodlands are both eager to play ahead of tomorrow’s showpiece.

The final, at Undercliffe (noon start), comes seven days on from the pair’s meeting in Bradford Premier League, which proved one-sided with Woodlands winning by 202 runs against the weakened Red Laners.

Woodlands' Chris Brice celebrates.

Woodlands' Chris Brice celebrates.

This latest instalment is likely to be more closely fought, although the rivals must do without overseas men Pat Kruger and Ashfaq Ahmed.

While stronger than last Sunday, Farsley do still have issues with captain Ryan Cooper picking up an eye injury last weekend, with the club hoping that the swelling will sufficiently go down well enough for him to feature.

But talented teenager Matthew Revis suffered a broken finger last weekend. Better news comes with the availability of Adam Ahmed.

Offering a Farsley take, stalwart Mark Harrison said: “We’ve had some shocking availability with a lot of injuries, but we should be stronger than we have been in recent weeks.

“We feel like we have got enough bowling, but it is how we bat as a unit that is going to be key against Bricey (Chris Brice) and Kez (Ahmed).

“For us, the final is a massive thing. The day itself will be special as we have not been there since 2010.

“We last won it in 1996 and from a club perspective, we are excited, but we go there with the expectation that we are going to be underdogs, but we kind of like that tag.

“If you had said a few Saturdays ago that we would have beaten New Farnley back to back at home when everyone had written us off, we are maybe a team who might surprise a few people.

“We do have matchwinners and we do feel if we play well on our day, we can beat most teams.

“But if you are looking at the form guide, we are realistically underdogs. But I do think it will be a good game if we turn up.”

Woodlands secretary Brian Pearson expects Farsley to be a much tougher proposition than last weekend and despite some availability issues, he views the Red Laners as a well balanced side.

Usman Salim will keep wicket for Woodlands, with regular gloveman Greg Finn concentrating on playing as a batsman due to an injury issue.

Previewing the final, Pearson observed: “Last Sunday was not a true reflection and they had a number of players unavailable. My view of Farsley is that they are a good side who work well as a unit. The fact that both overseas are missing maybe evens things up, but they are a nicely-balanced strong side.

“And given that, I believe we start as underdogs. I do believe that they have only fallen away a little bit at the end due to injuries and absences beyond their control.

“We do have a couple running into form. Sam Frankland has a 96 and two hundreds in his last four innings and Tim Jackson is starting to score runs and Cieran Garner has stepped up from the seconds quite well.

“Then, we have got our two star performances, Bricey and Kez Ahmed, which is as good as you get in the league. Bricey got a hat-trick in the league and two five-fors (last weekend).

“For me, they start as favourites, but we have performers.

“To finish sixth in the table would not be successful from a league point of view. But we have reached another cup final and we have done that for the last four years and we have won the last three.”