Baxter: There'll be more than three in the relegation soup

Sarfraz Ahmed blasted 41 off 11 balls for Woodlands in a Twenty20 quarter-final

Sarfraz Ahmed blasted 41 off 11 balls for Woodlands in a Twenty20 quarter-final

First published in Sport
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WITH Pudsey Congs seemingly finally having got their act together, would it be too simplistic to suggest that the JCT600 Bradford League First Division relegation places will be filled by two of the bottom three?

Congs are fourth from bottom with 121 points, and below them come Morley (106), East Bierley (105) and Yeadon (83) with eight matches remaining.

Some have already written off the High Street club, who have managed only two wins so far this season, but Morley skipper Matthew Baxter is not among them, vividly remembering his own club's Houdini act to escape the drop in 2013.

Baxter said: "We won six matches in a row at the turn of the season to save ourselves, and Yeadon have some fine players in what is a very competitive division this time around.

"Not only won't I rule them out from staying up but it won't be two from three, as I think other clubs will be dragged into it."

Morley's season began with such promise as they won their first two matches against New Farnley – their first game in the top flight – and Congs, and backed that up by defeating Bradford & Bingley by six runs on Whit Monday to go sixth, 28 points ahead of Bierley.

Since then, however, Morley have lost six successive completed matches, including defeats to Bierley and Yeadon.

But the last three have been heartbreakingly close, Farsley triumphing by two wickets with three overs to spare, Congs winning by four runs and New Farnley edging home last Saturday by two wickets with four balls left.

"We have been playing really well and all those games could have gone the other way," said Baxter.

Tomorrow Morley are at second-placed Woodlands, with Baxter adding: "Both sets of lads get on well and we have had some really good games against them, both in the league and at Twenty20."

Morley dismissed the hosts at Albert Terrace last August for 110 but were unable to start their reply, and had them at 29-2 off 18 overs this season at Scatcherd Lane when it again rained.

Woodlands won't be short on confidence though, having smashed 226-4 in their 62-run victory over Lightcliffe on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals of the Dyson Energy Services Twenty20 Cup, and a home tie against Hanging Heaton.

Opener Duncan Snell led the way with 94 not out, which included seven sixes and five fours, and Simon Mason hit 44 off 33 balls but the most eye-catching knock was Sarfraz Ahmed's 41 off 11 balls (five sixes, two fours).

Elsewhere tomorrow, Yeadon host eighth-placed Lightcliffe, while Bierley entertain Farsley, who are fourth.

Second Division front-runners Undercliffe are at Idle (ninth), while the chasing pair are both at home – Keighley to Hartshead Moor (fifth) and Saltaire to Baildon (fourth).

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