Local Cricket: Farsley's Bradford League championship challenge receives a boost tomorrow with the return of influential skipper Matthew Doidge.

It has been a remarkable feature of recent weeks that Farsley have been able to maintain their title bid without Doidge, who is not only the captain but one of their leading batsmen, and leading left arm pace bowler Joss Overend.

Doidge has missed eight matches - virtually a third of the season - with a badly broken thumb suffered while fielding in the Millet Evening League for Farsley against Adel - and the batsman who did the damage was Farsley's vice captain John Goldthorp.

At the same time Overend has missed five matches with back trouble and, although he may return tomorrow, he will not be fit to bowl.

Despite these enormous handicaps, Farsley have maintained their challenge and go into tomorrow's match at Hanging Heaton in third place on the same number of points as Bradford & Bingley and only five points behind leaders Baildon.

Doidge said: "It will be great to be back. I am going to have a net and see how it feels, but I am all set to play.

"Joss, who has a disc problem in his lower back, is seeing a physiotherapist. He may play, but he won't bowl.

"John Goldthorp has been standing in for me as captain and he and the team have done really well.

"We are still in with a great chance of the championship and we have all the other contenders - Baildon, Bradford & Bingley, East Bierley and Pudsey Congs - to play, so our destiny is in our own hands''.

Leaders Baildon ought to beat fourth from the bottom Yorkshire Bank at Jenny Lane.

Second placed Bingley, who have won three of their last four matches, will fancy their chances against bottom club Saltaire, the only Division One club without a win in their 19 league matches.

East Bierley and Pudsey Congs are also at home, cup winners Bierley to in-form Pudsey St Lawrence and Pudsey Congs to Spen Victoria.

In the Second Division, leaders Cleckheaton should recover from their defeat at Yeadon by beating bottom side Great Horton, the only Second Division team without a win.

Second and third placed Brighouse and Drighlington are at home and all three need to keep a wary eye on fourth placed Idle, whose challenge is being led by bowlers Rickie Rotche and Ian Dewhurst who have taken over 100 wickets between them.

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