WOODLANDS opener Sam Frankland is relishing a tense and exciting run-in to the JCT600 Bradford League Division One championship race.

With none of the title contenders able to play on Saturday because of rain, the positions remain unchanged with 20 points separating leaders Pudsey St Lawrence and fourth-placed Hanging Heaton.

Frankland, who was leading the side in the absence of captain Pieter Swanepoel, was particularly disappointed that second- placed Woodlands’ home match with reigning champions, third-placed Cleckheaton on Saturday was called off.

He said: “Cleckheaton are our closest rivals and it is a shame we couldn’t get on.”

The match would have pitted Cleckheaton, who are aiming for a third title in a row, against Woodlands, who won the last of their six titles in 2012 and are keen to win it back.

Like most people, Frankland believes the title race is a four horse affair and said: “This would have been our last match against a top four side. With five games to go it is crunch time and the team that succeeds will be the one who is most consistent. It is going to be nip and tuck between now and the end of the season.

“The good thing is that we are going to be at full strength for the run-in. Grant Soames missed our defeat at East Bierley last week with a knee injury, but was fit to play against Cleckheaton.

“This is a four horse race and our aim is to go out and put pressure on leaders Pudsey Lawrence, who have won only one of their last six matches. All the teams in the top four are strong. We are pushing for the top spot and we all have the ability to beat anyone on our day.”

Frankland added: “We always knew it was going to be a tough season. Hanging Heaton strengthened their team during the winter and Pudsey St Lawrence have always been there or thereabouts. They won the Priestley Cup last season and that gave them the winning mentality. You know what you are going to get from them."

Woodlands missed the chance to take over at the top from St Lawrence last Saturday after surprise defeat at East Bierley when they were bowled out for 73.

“We reflected on the defeat at East Bierley,” said Frankland. “They bowled very well against us on a wicket that did a little bit. We got them six down and if we had taken one more wicket and scored another 20 runs it would have been close. Small things change games at this level of cricket."

Frankland is pleased with the evolving nature of the team. He said: “We have got a mixture of young lads coming through like Yorkshire under-19s fast bowler Elliot Richardson and new signings batsman Jordan Laban from Jer Lane and wicketkeeper Greg Finn from my old club Elland, plus the experienced players.

"We don’t try to overcomplicate our cricket. We have a winning mentality and we all play for each other. You can only do your job and not worry about other teams.”