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Townville facing tough opening cup test

Townville facing tough opening cup test

The First Round of the Gordon Rigg Priestley Cup commences this weekend with the stand-out tie at Poplar Avenue as the hosat Townville take on Farsley.

Townville got so close to winning the competition last season at Undercliffe when they had opponents New Farnley on the rack. They will remember that day and hope to be all the stronger for it, and doubly determined to win this trophy.

Farsley will be strong opponents, but Matthew Revis is on county duty. However, this brother Dan is capable of scoring some serious runs, as is several of the top order. In addition they have new signing Joe Pocklington - a spin bowler who can hit the ball dowln the order.

Pudsey St Lawrence are obviously missing the mercurial batting talents of the retired James Smith, but will go to Ossett with a realistic chance of getting through.

Ossett’s key men are Nick Connolly who is still scoring runs freely, and Marcus Walmsley, who’s all round talent make him ideal for cup competition.

Hanging Heaton are hoping for reinforcements to the team any time soon, and will be keen to advance in a cup competition that they have not won in 36 years. Second Division Undercliffe hasve dangerous batsmen in Ollie Hardaker and South African Byron Boshoff, but might lack the strength in depth to come out on top.

East Bierley’s batting, illustrated by Matthew West and Ben Walter, is tailor made for cup cricket. However, their opponents East Ardsley have recent centurion James Van Der Merwe primed for a big innings.

Cleckheaton should have too many `big guns’ for Gomersal, despite their dodgy start to their league season. Clecks’ Richard Pyrah and Yousaf Baber will be the key.

Baildon should have too much batting strength for Wrenthorpe who will want to find some solace in the cup. Baildon’s strength this season appears to be in the batting with Kevin McDermott, James Ford and Jonny Reynolds a formidable trio.

Morley’s home advantage over Pudsey Congs could count in their favour, especially if Sri Lankan Kavindu Kulasekara can settle in quickly.

However, the Congs are maturing as a team, and with overseas batsman Yohan Mendis getting into good form early in the season, this could be a close affair.

Bankfoot and Birstall were promotion rivals last season, and it could still be a good match-up. The big difference to Bankfoot’s side this season is the signing of Afghani Zia Ul Haq Parwani who has made an immediate impression.  

Four of the fancied sides in New Farnley, Woodlands, Methley and Bradford & Bingley have byes.

Another side that have a bye is Jer Lane who could well be a threat in this competition with their fast scoring side. The other sides with a bye are Carlt
on, Keighley and Batley.

An interesting initiative to the competition this season is the `power play’. The first power play will be for the opening 10 overs of each innings during which only two fielders can be outside the fielding circle. Each team then has a five over batting power play which is activated by either of the batsmen at the wicket and only three fielders are allowed outside the fielding circle.

 If the batting side has not called its batting power play earlier, it will come in to force for overs 36-40. For the non-power play overs, a side will only be allowed to have five fielders outside the fielding circle. 

First round ties (12.30pm starts)
 Morley v Pudsey Congs
Wrenthorpe v Baildon

Ossett v Pudsey St Lawrence
Townville v Farsley
Gomersal v Cleckheaton
Hanging Heaton v Undercliffe
Bankfoot v Birstall
East Ardsley v East Bierley
Byes: Jer Lane, Woodlands, Batley, Keighley, New Farnley, Bradford & Bingley, Methley, Carlton.


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