The captains of East Bierley and New Farnley give their views ahead of Sunday's Priestley Shield fina;l at Pudsey Congs.
New Farnley- Chris Sowden
“As a club we are massively looking forward to the Shield final against East Bierley at Pudsey Congs”.
“To be still competing at the time of writing for two trophies, having lost in the final of the Crowther Cup is a massive achievement and testament to both the depth and strength of the squad. To do so while also regularly including four under 19 players with first team aspirations bodes well for the future.
“Last season we welcomed Mark Lawson back to the club as Head of Junior Cricket Development and we hope to reap the rewards of his work with the juniors for many years to come.
“Our route to the final hasn't been straight forward at all. In the second round, we `snuck’ past a good Bradford & Bingley side by means of wickets conceded in a tied game. Following this was a highly competitive game against Hartshead Moor in the quarter-finals.
“In the semi-finals a very good Batley side had us in trouble at 80-7 chasing 127, but our batting down the order saw us home by three wickets”.
“In the final we will field a good blend of youth and experience. Joe Suggitt, who has been associated with the club for over 25 years, is still a solid scorer at the top of the order. Also, Aidan Langley will be hopeful of adding to his seasons runs.
“Joe Bedford will be looking to play a big part for his home club and Alex Kaye will be behind the stumps barring Yorkshire Junior commitments. Our bowling will be spearheaded by Josh Marsden and Mark Lawson, with the evergreen Will Swift and Andy Langley to add control, flight and guile.
“As regards our final opponents, we know that East Bierley will give us a tough encounter with their ability to score runs from 1 to 11, as was seen in their semi final win over Hanging Heaton. Backed up with their quality and variety with the ball, I know we'll have to be on the top of our game to get New Farnley on the Shield for the first time.
“I must also take the chance to personally thank our chairman John Baldwin and the rest of the team behind the scenes at The Barry Jackson Ground. Without these people we wouldn't be able to compete for trophies in the Bradford League.
“After a frustrating season with the weather, we hope the rain stays away for what should be a fantastic contest at Pudsey Congs and all of our players and fans are excited for the occasion”.
East Bierley- Ross Monaghan
“We’re looking forward to what will be the club’s first Priestley Shield final for 11 years. Hopefully it’s a sunny day at Pudsey Congs to bring the spectators in to watch a match between two good teams.
“Coincidently it’s where the club secured the first of three Priestley Shields in a row back in 2006, which as some will remember was played in coloured kits. The only remaining player from that day playing today is the evergreen Dan Abbott who was playing in his first final as a young 17 year old.
“Dan’s very much a vital player in our ranks and has turned games with both bat and bowl throughout the season.
“The road to the Final has been tough. I say that in terms of managing to get 11 players out both Saturday and Sundays, but we’re here and genuinely believe we deserve to be with the cricket we’ve played.
“Following the victory against Morley in the quarter finals, which saw a fantastic 100no by Jimmy Higgins, the remaining teams left in the hat was always going to be tough. A home tie was great financially for the club, and Hanging Heaton it was, and we were quietly confident.
“At 68-5, it didn’t look good, but some great partnerships, specifically the last wicket of Reece Clark and Wayne Robinson took us from 170-9 to a total of 223. I felt we were always in control then, with regular wickets falling, until some big hitting from Nick Bresnan made you think ‘is it just not our day’. However, we managed to get over the line quite conformably in the end, with the game being watched by a large crowd who saw a great game of cricket between two top clubs.
“That match showed the spirit we have in the dressing room and also what we are capable of. It’s very much a team effort here at East Bierley and with the squad we have. we can beat anyone on our day.
“It’s been a tough few years for the club both on and off the field and we’re now looking forwards, not backwards. Final days bring everyone together as one. It’s all that’s been talked about at the club since the semi final. Our band of loyal supporters will make the short trip to Pudsey Congs on Sunday and hopefully we’ll give them something to cheer about."