Bradford League: New skipper John Goldthorp has a double mission tomorrow - to sink his old club Bradford & Bingley and keep Farsley at the top of the Secure Trust Bank Bradford League First Division.

Farsley have gained a head start on their rivals by winning their first two matches against Pudsey St Lawrence and Cleckheaton, giving them a maximum 12 points while most other clubs have been left frustrated by wet weather.

But defending champions Bingley have also made a useful start, taking eight points from two rain affected matches against Yorkshire Bank and Pudsey Congs and they will go top if they beat Farsley.

Goldthorp, who captained Bingley in his last season at Wagon Lane, became Farsley skipper during the winter when Matthew Doidge moved on to become captain at Pudsey Congs.

He said: "It is a very pleasing start. I have been quite happy with the way we have strengthened the side since the end of last season. Mark Ross and Andrew Doidge, Matthew's younger brother, came back into the Bradford League from the Aire-Wharfe with something to prove and I felt that was a positive sign.

"Our Australian signing, Anthony Blackwell from Melbourne looks to be a good prospect, but we are missing our left arm opening bowler Joss Overend whose back is still not right.

"We have signed Jamie Simpson from Hall Park and he is opening the bowling at the moment, but he emigrates to Australia for two years midway through the season and we are hoping that Joss will be fit to return by the time Jamie leaves."

Goldthorp is proud of his two young bowlers, off spinner Doidge and slow left armer Matthew Barnes who took eight wickets between them besides scoring 39 and 30 respectively as Farsley beat Cleckheaton by 76 runs.

He said: "We are a young side and it's been a terrific winter with us winning the national six-a-side championships at Lord's. That was great for team spirit and gave us confidence to take into the new season."

Goldthorp has great respect for Bingley where he won two championships. "They are an excellent side," he said "and one of the sides to beat. It always adds spice to a game when you face a former club and we have not had many victories against them since I have been at Farsley.

"They have got a great seam bowling attack with Richard McCarthy, Peter Graham and David Pennett, but they are going to miss Gareth Batty now that he has joined Surrey."

Batty, who played in Bingley's first two matches, is missing tomorrow along with wicketkeeper batsman Pat Fordham.

Another eye catching match in Division One is at East Bierley where Pudsey Congs are the visitors. Both sides have been frustrated by the weather, but are expected to be in title contention.

Much fancied Undercliffe are at home to Hanging Heaton, one of only three sides to win last Saturday while last season's second placed club Baildon visit Spen Victoria.

In the Second Division, two of last season's relegated clubs, Saltaire and Bowling Old Lane who are keen to get back into the top flight at the first attempt hope to make a belated start to the season after having had their first two matches called off because of the weather.

Saltaire who have made wholesale changes during the winter visit Great Horton while Old Lane travel to Yeadon. Horton and Yeadon were the only two Second Division sides to win last week.

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