Reg Nelson previews the Priestley Cup second round ties-
The Second Round of the Priestley Cup has kept all the `big guns’ of the Premier League apart, but there are still some evenly matched ties that could go either way.
Batley clinched their place in the Second Round after a tie with Hartshead Moor that led to a statistical `count back’ which went in their favour.
They go to Jenny Lane knowing that they won the league match there against Baildon earlier in the season when their Pakistan overseas batsman Sami-Ullah scored an unbeaten century.
Since then, Baildon have hit the top of the league and have a dangerman in Australian Blair Oakley who can win a match with bat or ball.
ThePudsey Congs v East Bierley tie conjures up thoughts of yesteryear when these two clubs won the cup quite frequently. The improving league form this season for both teams suggests it is going to be a close affair.
Wrenthorpe were surprise leaders of the Premier League in early season, but are second favourites in this tie against New Farnley. Winners in 2017, New Farnley have the big players in Lee Goddard, Dan Hodgson and Alex Lilley to come through this round in some comfort.
However, it was two of Farnley’s younger players that starred in their First Round defeat of Townville. Batsman Billy Whitford top scored with an unbeaten 88, while left-arm spinner Sam Barraclough had a crucial bowling analysis of 4-34.
Methley, losing finalists of 2017, renew Central Yorkshire League rivalry with Ossett after getting past Lightcliffe in the First Round in a tight affair.
In-form left-hander Jordan Laban is one to get out for Ossett who will be trying to expose Methley’s unavailability woes.
Keighley are riding high in Championship One and will not be fazed by Hanging Heaton who made hard work of beating Bankfoot in the First Round. The Batley based club are overwhelming favourites to get through, especially now that their injury worries are easing.
Pudsey St Lawrence will fancy their chances at home to struggling Scholes. The Saints have won three titles since they last won the Priestley Cup in 2014, and this could well be their target this season.
Holders Woodlands put their name in the hat for this round with a comfortable 84-run win over Cleckheaton at Moorend. They visit Oxford Road to take on a Gomersal side that has a potentially destructive batsman in Jonathan Boynton. For Woodlands, Chris Brice remains the key man.
Bradford & Bingley, who play Morley, have a fine Priestley Cup tradition and could well be the team to back. Their batting in the league has not been up to scratch, but in the cup Kyme Tahirkeli (64 runs), and Ed Brown (55 runs) sparkled in their victory over Undercliffe.
However, Morley are dangerous opponents and any weakness in the Bingley batting could well be exposed by Matthew Dowse, Nathan Bromby and Akash Senarathna.
Baildon v Batley
Pudsey Congs v East Bierley
Wrenthorpe v New Farnley
Ossett v Methley
Keighley v Hanging Heaton
Pudsey St Lawrence v Scholes
Gomersal v Woodlands
Bradford & Bingley v Morley