Robertshaw ready for three-horse title race

Robertshaw ready for three-horse title race

Pudsey St Lawrence and Bradford & Bingley call off their match due to the weather

Pudsey St Lawrence and Bradford & Bingley call off their match due to the weather

First published in Sport

MARK Robertshaw believes Pudsey St Lawrence need "a couple of favours from somewhere, coupled with two good results from ourselves" to catch Division One leaders Cleckheaton in the JCT600 Bradford League title chase.

The opening batsman still has his sights on a league and Priestley Cup double – St Lawrence meet Cleckheaton in next month's final – but knows it will be a tough task to wipe out Cleck's 25-point lead.

Speaking after Saints' home match against Bradford & Bingley had been abandoned, Robertshaw – acting captain in place of James Smith, who became a father the day before – said: "It is a three-horse race for the title – Cleckheaton, Woodlands and ourselves – with three very strong teams.

"Each team has different strengths and all play good cricket, so it is just down to consistency."

Recent results have left St Lawrence trailing second-placed Woodlands by a mere two points and they need to overtake them before they can set their sights on Cleckheaton.

Robertshaw said: "We still have Woodlands to play at home, having beaten them on their ground, so that will be a big game for us.

"The potential is there for a league and cup double but I am sure we will know when we get to the cup final at the end of August whether it is done and dusted or not."

The final at Undercliffe pits together two of the three best teams in the league and, although there are important league games to be played between now and then, Robertshaw has already turned some of his thoughts to the Bradford League's big day.

He said: "We have had two good games against Cleckheaton. We are evenly matched – we have beaten them and they beat us – so it is down to who produces the best cricket on the day. I hope it will be a good spectacle for the league."

Robertshaw is happy with the way the season has developed for St Lawrence. Traditionally they are a strong batting side – Robertshaw himself has achieved the coveted 1,000-run mark twice in the last four seasons and topped the halfway averages this time.

But he believes they have bowled better this time, highlighting the effectiveness of their three spinners – off-spinners Chris Marsden and Steve Watts and leg-break man Tom Hudson.

Robertshaw said: "It has been a good season and things are going well. We have had a bit of luck at times but any side needs that. The lads are doing their jobs.

"Good spin bowling is hard to play. They can either win you games or tie down the opposition. We have got two different types of off- spinners – both have got their attributes."

Opposing weekend captain Phil Slater was left frustrated by the weather as he looked to extend Bingley's three-match winning run.

He said: "It is all about confidence and keeping momentum going. We have had three weeks of good performances and we were confident going into this match."

All-rounder Chris Thompson produced a man-of-the-match performance with 125, including 11 sixes, followed by five wickets in the previous week's win over Farsley.

Slater said: "When he gets going, he is a difficult player to bowl at and when he is on form he is a difficult bowler to bat against.

"He is a quality performer and last week it all came together."

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