IT IS fair to say that Pudsey St Lawrence and Hanging Heaton will be seeing a bit of each other this month.
A strong, but healthy rivalry has emerged between the two high Bradford League achievers in recent seasons and the next instalment will be played out at Tofts Road tomorrow.
It will not surprise anyone that the pair reside towards the top end of the table, sitting in second and third place respectively, with Heaton currently holding a four-point advantage over the champions.
Early June it may be, but a positive result for either tomorrow will provide a psychological fillip heading into the ‘nitty-gritty’ stage of the season.
Meanwhile, the duo will renew acquaintances in a mouth-watering Priestley Cup third-round tie, also at Tofts Road, on June 23, with the sides also pitted together in the Priestley Shield for good measure.
On today’s meeting, given added spice by the fact both lost out in the league last weekend, Heaton cricket chairman John Carruthers said: “It is a healthy rivalry and there is a bit of integration between the players.
“Gaz (Gary Fellows) played there as did Dave (David Stiff) and there is a good, healthy relationship between us and an acknowledgement of where both clubs are.
“St Lawrence might have lost a couple of players (in the winter), but they are still an exceptionally good side.
“I still think St Lawrence as a club are a role model for most in the league. They try and build from within and support their own players. It is good to see.
“Our first and second team have also both drawn them in the cup and shield. But ultimately, you have to beat these good sides to get to the final. You cannot keep avoiding them.”
Mark Robertshaw will take over as St Lawrence captain for at least the next month with Chris Marsden provisionally ruled out for four to six weeks with a knee injury.
Both Heaton and St Lawrence will be firmly expected to be in the shake-up at the business end of proceedings in late August, but the side currently setting the pace are undoubtedly Woodlands, who are 31 points clear at the summit after last weekend’s win over Saints.
Carruthers, for one, has been impressed by their early-season form, but has provided a caveat.
He added: “I think Woodlands’ lead is excellent from what they have done.
“They look a good outfit, although it is about sustaining it. You do not win the league after seven matches.
“It has been a bit frustrating for us (so far). In the 22 games, you have to play well throughout the year. But we are not out of it and are in the mix.”
Woodlands go to fourth-placed Bradford and Bingley tomorrow, while the pick of the action elsewhere sees Farsley, in fifth place and with spinner James Logan in fine fettle, visit the side just below them in Cleckheaton.
New Farnley, with plenty of room for improvement in eighth spot, go to Undercliffe, while Lightcliffe entertain Townville.
Wrenthorpe, in danger of tailing off after a positive start, go to rock-bottom Methley.
Pudsey Congs welcome Championship One leaders Keighley, while Morley head to Hartshead Moor.