Even though the great English summer has been no great shakes so far, veteran Richard Robinson is surprised how the leading three teams have established an advantage in the JCT600 Bradford League Second Division.
Undercliffe, who have six wins, are on 119 points, Saltaire are second on 109 and Robinson’s Keighley, who have also won five, are third on 103, with Idle fourth on 86 with four wins.
“I thought it would have been closer,” confessed the experienced all-rounder, “but you cannot discount teams such as Gomersal (sixth on 78 points), who have only won two games but have collected lots of bonus points.”
Keighley, boosted by four straight wins and the best of a rained-off match against Hartshead Moor, led the table as recently as May 31.
The Lawkholme Laners, under the captaincy of Freddie Pearson, passed 200 in their first three matches, and Robinson said: “We got plenty of batting points early on.”
Richard Wear’s 97 on debut was the highlight as Gomersal were beaten on the first day.
Robinson added: “We are at our best when someone gets a big score and others bat around him, but when we have failed we haven’t done that.”
Bankfoot castled Keighley for 39 on Bank Holiday Monday and Undercliffe sent them packing for 90 on June 1 in Keighley’s two defeats on what have generally been bowler-friendly wickets.
Robinson is looking forward to seeing how overseas player Andrew King fares when the wickets get harder.
“He bowls fast and straight,” said the all-rounder of the Australian, “but the weather has been so bad that he has taken to cider!”
Keighley have winnable matches next up at Great Horton (tomorrow) and at home to Idle (June 21) before a potentially crunch clash at Saltaire (June 28).
Robinson said: “Saltaire didn’t play well against us earlier this season and I am expecting a much tougher clash this time around.”
Undercliffe, who are the sole Second Division survivors in Sunday's Priestley Cup last eight, are at home to mid-table Bowling Old Lane tomorrow, while Saltaire are facing a similar challenge at home to Hartshead Moor.
There will be no resting up for the Priestley Cup in the First Division tomorrow as four of the top five meet, with leaders Woodlands at home to third-placed Pudsey St Lawrence and second-placed defending champions Cleckheaton hosting Farsley, who are fourth equal with Hanging Heaton on 88 points.
The Batley club are at home to fourth from bottom East Bierley, who are due to climb if their stalwarts are to be believed, while the bottom three face clubs who are all in mid-table.
Basement boys Pudsey Congs host Bradford & Bingley, Yeadon visit Morley and New Farnley entertain Lightcliffe.