Jarvis confident that Bierley will beat the drop

East Bierley's Neil Gill squirts the ball out on the offside during his defiant innings of 69 against Cleckheaton last Saturday

East Bierley v Farsley (batting).Bowling is Luke Jarvis. (9328309)

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PUDSEY Congs, champions as recently as 2010, seem to be hauling themselves to First Division safety.

And East Bierley – another JCT600 Bradford League heavyweight – look like following suit after a stunning victory over defending champions Cleckheaton last Saturday.

Neil Gill showed the kind of spirit Bierley needed as they were again missing their three top batsmen – Gavin Hamilton, Andrew Rennison and Mark Gill.

The other Gill carried his bat for 69 in their 153-9 before spinner Luke Jarvis (6-12) and pace bowler Richard Atkins (3-35) got to work as leaders Cleck were dismissed for 112.

In-form Jarvis, whose team have another key match tomorrow at next-to-bottom Morley – Bierley are one place and 18 points above them – said Gill's application was just what his team wanted.

"Neil is a good batsman and won't give his wicket away, even when Iain Wardlaw was banging them in.

"We always feel confident, and I am feeling good at the moment, but some of Cleckheaton's batsmen threw their wickets away and didn't show the mental attitude that Neil did."

There are four matches left for the top-flight teams, and Rennison has been out for much of the season after an operation, but Jarvis said: "He may be back for the last game or two, while Mark is away."

The loss of the key trio has contributed to Bierley being castled too often for around the 100 mark, although Rennison played in both of the April matches when the South View Road side totalled just 109 and 113.

Mark Gill missed the initial clash with Cleck on May 26, when Bierley made only 97, while he was also absent, as was Rennison, when New Farnley dismissed them for 85 on June 21.

However, Jarvis added: "We haven't had a lot of luck as we lost by one run to Congs and were rained off twice against Yeadon, who are bottom of the table.

"We have a lot of stroke-players and have lost early wickets too often, but we will stay up."

Yeadon (108 points) will have to pull off an even more exceptional victory than Bierley's as they are at Cleckheaton, who have 120 more points than their visitors, while second-placed Woodlands (207) host sixth-placed Bradford & Bingley (181).

The key match in the Second Division is Saltaire, who are second with 242 points, at home to fourth-placed Gomersal (208).

Front-runners Undercliffe (283) are at eighth-placed Great Horton (168), while third-placed Keighley (217) are at Baildon, who are sixth on 189.

Fourth-from-bottom Idle, who have had to apply for re-election three times in the last four seasons, can take massive steps towards not doing so in 2014 by beating bottom-of-the-table Windhill at Cavendish Road.

Last night’s Dyson Energy Services T20 final between Pudsey Congs and Woodlands at Wagon Lane was postponed due to a waterlogged square. The match has been rescheduled for Thursday, August 28.
 

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