Undercliffe confident before biggest test

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Andrew Rennison is missing for East Bierley against Pudsey St Lawrence Andrew Rennison is missing for East Bierley against Pudsey St Lawrence

UNDERCLIFFE skipper Michael Kelsey is under no illusions as to how difficult tomorrow's Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup semi-final will be at Cleckheaton.

The tie pits together the leaders of the JCT600 Bradford League's two divisions.

And Kelsey said of the league's defending champions: "They bat all the way down, have a good bowling attack – there isn't a bowler that you can target – and their overseas player is taking plenty of wickets.

"We know it is going to be tough but we go into the match full of confidence, we will be trying 100 per cent and we have players in our team with First Division experience."

Undercliffe, who are without Ashley Robinson and Liam Brearley tomorrow, bring in Arslan Mahmood, who has been scoring heavily in the second team, and Scott Dawson.

They are 48 points in front of third-placed Keighley in Division Two, with Kelsey admitting: "I will be very disappointed if we don't get promotion from where we are now."

East Bierley, who are at Pudsey St Lawrence in the other semi-final, have been given an extra incentive after the death of their scorer John Atkinson on Tuesday aged 60 after a long battle against cancer.

Bierley cricket chairman Ray Davis said: "John scored for us for over 40 years – the last 12 with Gavin Hamilton in the side and the last seven with Andrew Rennison in the side – and then there are the Gills (Neil and Mark), who were with us as juniors before leaving and coming back.

"John's highlights would be scoring for us at Lord's when we won the National Village Championship and when we won three successive Priestley Cup finals (1998-2000).

"It is an extra incentive, if one was needed, and if the result goes the same way as last Saturday, when we beat them by 32 runs at home, then that will do me.

"Unfortunately, we are without Andrew Rennison. He has had a facial infection which needed an operation and he won't be back with us until mid-August, which is a big blow.

"But we won last weekend without him and we still have plenty of players with big-match experience."

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