After yesterday’s complete washout Alan Birkinshaw looks at what lies ahead in the final third of the 2019 season.

WOODLANDS have been setting the pace in the All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League Premier Division for much of the campaign and their consistency makes them strong favourites to land their seventh title in 15 seasons.

The addition of Kiwi all-rounder Brad Schmulian has been a key factor in their success. He and opener Tim Jackson have provided consistent runs while their spin duo of Chris Brice and Kez Ahmed, pictured, is the best slow bowling combination in the league.

They currently lead the table by 22 points from Bradford & Bingley but crucially have played one game less than their closes rivals.

Woodlands have three of the bottom-four to play in their remaining seven matches. Their next two fixtures are at Wrenthorpe on Saturday and home to Lightcliffe on August 10 while they also visit relegation threatened Undercliffe on August 31.

The two most crucial games for them are their visit to defending champions Pudsey St Lawrence on August 17 and their home clash with second-placed Bradford & Bingley a week later.

Bradford & Bingley have been the season’s surprise package. They have recruited wisely and appear to have found a nice balance.

They have a lively trio of seam bowlers in Jack Hartley, Bailey Wightman and Graham Whiles who are backed up by promising left-arm spinner Bradley Reeve.

Their Achilles heel is their batting which has collapsed on a number of occasions. Before taking on Woodlands in what looks a 'must-win' game for them to retain a realistic title hope, they have to negotiate three tricky fixtures against Cleckheaton, Farsley and New Farnley, three mid-table teams who all have the ability to defeat those above them.

Pudsey St Lawrence have done remarkably well this season and are just 20 points behind Bradford & Bingley with a game in hand. The young players they have drafted into the side, Archie Scott, Harry Cullingford, Josh Dracup and Josh Priestley have risen to the challenge.

August will be a key month for the Saints and will give an even clearer picture of the progress their new-look side is making.

Their next four games see them face old rivals Farsley. New Farnley, Woodlands and Hanging Heaton. That is a testing programme at any time for a side that has also been forced to battle on without injured skipper Chris Marsden and with Jordan Thompson on T20 duty for Yorkshire.

The battle to avoid relegation has hotted up in recent weeks and the bottom four teams are covered by just 36 points.

There’s a crucial game coming up on Saturday when Methley, who recorded their long overdue first win against Farsley last week, host fourth-bottom Undercliffe.

Methley are a different proposition now that their Yorkshire duo of Jarred Warner and Matthew Waite are back on a regular basis. With experienced campaigners Grant Soames, above, and Adam Patel beginning to find their form they have the resources to pull off a great escape, the big question is can they find the consistency that has eluded them to date.

Their run in looks favourable as they do not have any of the current top four sides to play, but away games at Wrenthorpe and Lightcliffe – like the clash with Undercliffe – look crucial to their bid to retain Premier Division status.

In contrast to Methley, Wrenthorpe have all the top four still to play and that puts a huge pressure on them to win the contests with fellow strugglers Methley and Lightcliffe.

Jordan Sleightholme’s side face a tough battle but in overseas player Khalil Khan they have a man who can win matches for them.

Undercliffe are another side who will be looking to inspiration from their overseas player as the campaign reaches its climax. Last season’s Championship One winners were handicapped by the late arrival of Khalid Usman, but he has shown once again this season he is a top performer with bat and ball.

Undercliffe still have plenty of work to do, but four matches against mid-table opposition does present them with an opportunity to gather points.

Lightcliffe are a side that have often punched above their eight in recent seasons and they will need to again after sliding into the bottom two.

Their next three fixtures are all testing against New Farnley, Woodlands and Hanging Heaton. Two games that could prove decisive are successive home encounters with Wrenthorpe and Methley before rounding off their programme with a tough assignment at Pudsey St Lawrence.

Overseas player Suleman Khan, below, and opening batsman Alex Stead are two men who will be key to their hopes.

TOP: WOODLANDS (215pts): Aug 3 Wrenthorpe A, 10 Lightcliffe H, 17 Pudsey St Lawrence A, 24 Bradford & Bingley H, 31 Undercliffe A, Sept 7 Cleckheaton H, 8 Farsley A

BRADFORD & BINGLEY (193pts): Aug 3 Cleckheaton H, 10 Farsley A,17 New Farnley H, 24 Woodlands A, Sept 7 Townville A, 8 Wrenthorpe H

PUDSEY ST LAWRENCE (173pts): Aug 3 Farsley H, 10 New Farnley A, 17 Woodlands H, 24 Hanging Heaton A, 31 Townville H, Sept 7 Wrenthorpe A, 8 Lightcliffe H.

BOTTOM: UNDERCLIFFE (127pts): Aug 3 Methley A, 10 Cleckheaton A, 17 Farsley H, 24 New Farnley A, 31 Woodlands H, Sept 7 Hanging Heaton A, 8 Townville H

WRENTHORPE (121pts): Aug 3 Woodlands H, 10 Hanging Heaton A, 17 Townville H, 24 Methley H, 31 Lightcliffe A, Sept 7 Pudsey St Lawrence H, 8 Bradford & Bingley A.

LIGHTCLIFFE (113pts): Aug 3 New Farnley H, 10 Woodlands A, 17 Hanging Heaton H, 24 Townville A, 31 Wrenthorpe H, Sept 7 Methley H, 8 Pudsey St Lawrence A.

METHLEY (91pts): Aug 3 Undercliffe H, 10 Townville A, 17 Cleckheaton H, 24 Wrenthorpe A, 31 Farsley H, Sept 7 Lightcliffe A, 8 New Farnley H.