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Priestley Cup final preview
Updated: Friday, January 1, 2016 18:17
Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup final Cleckheaton v Pudsey St Lawrence, Sunday, August 24 at Undecliffe Noon
Spen Victoria 1990
John Wood, third from the right, celebrates after helping Spen Victoria to victory in the 1990 final


Twenty-four years ago a young fast bowler announced his arrival on the Bradford League scene with a match-winning performance.

Tomorrow  that same player will be bidding to lead his club to their first Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup win. And just as in 1990 the team standing between him and cup glory will be Pudsey St Lawrence.


Start: Noon
Admission: £4 adults
£2 for concessions
Car parking: There is ample car parking inside the ground both on the grass alongside the scorebox, enter by the gate at the far end of the clubhouse, and on the hard-standing area alongside the clubouse. As at all JCT600 Bradford League finals, car parking is free.

Cleckheaton skipper John Wood still talks fondly of the day in 1990 when he was named man of the match after taking 7-20 to bowl Spen Victoria to a 158-run win.

Down the years Wood, now 44, has often reserved his best performances for matches against Pudsey St Lawrence and another one from the former Durham and Lancashire player would certainly help his team’s cause in Sunday’s final.

Cleckheaton, who are bidding for a league and cup double, are playing in only their second cup final.

 Wood, his brother Ian, the Nicholson brothers Ian and Mally plus Scotland paceman Iain Wardlaw, are the only survivors from the 2007 defeat by Pudsey Congs.

A sixth survivor, left-arm opening bowler Craig Wiseman, will be facing them in the Pudsey St Lawrence side.

The formbook suggests that Cleckheaton will start the final as favourited as St Lawrence have proved wildly inconsistent in recent times.

It is difficult to predict which St Lawrence side will turn up.  At their best they are extremely good as they were when thet defeated Woodlands on successive days earlier in the season, but when they are bad as they were against New Farnley last week, they are awful.

However, St Lawrence have the ability to produce a big performance in a one-off game.
They have batsmen of the quality of Mark Robertshaw, Adam Waite and James Smith who are capable of big performances, while their three spin bowlers Steve Watts, Chris Marsden and Tom Hudson could play a big part in the game.

Leg spinners have been rarely sighted in recent couple finals so it is good that there will be two in direct opposition. Cleckheaton’s overseas player Tanzeel Afzal has proved a big hit in more ways than one. His leg spin bowling has been a key weapon for the league champions  while his explosive batting is capable of lighting up any match.

Hudson gets less acclaim but has proved a good acquisition for St Lawrence and will be keen to perform well at Undercliffe, one of his former clubs.

It has been a long time since we have had a close-fought final and it would be good if Cleckheaton and Pudsey St Lawrence could produce one as the league’s showpiece makes a timely return to Undercliffe.

James Smith
James Smith lifted the cup in 2011 and will be hoping to do so again
Round One: Brighouse 130 (31.0 overs) (Johannes Van Ee 61, James Lee 3-32, Andrew Deegan 3-47), *Cleckheaton 132-4 (25.1 overs) (Richard Whitehurst 47 not out, Johannes Van Ee 3-48)
Cleckheaton bt Brighouse By 6 wickets
Round One: Farsley 186-9 (50.0 overs) (Joseph Sayers 100 not out, Chris Marsden 3-23), *Pudsey St Lawrence 187-8 (44.3 overs) (James Smith 45,Matthew Duce 31,Jordan Thompson 31 not out, Ian Philliskirk 4-36)
Pudsey St Lawrence bt Farsley By 2 wickets
Round Two: *New Farnley 161 (48.2 overs) (Scott Richardson 44, Richie Lamb 4-27), Pudsey St Lawrence 163-2 (30.4 overs) (Mark Robertshaw 39,Adam Waite 58 not out)
Pudsey St Lawrence bt New Farnley by 8 wickets
Round Two:*Windhill 104 (37.0 overs) (Ian Nicholson 5-25, Andrew Deegan 3-33), Cleckheaton 105-1 (16.2 overs) (Tim Jackson 34,Andrew Gorrod 46no)
Cleckheaton bt Windhill by 9 wickets
Round Three:*Cleckheaton 195 (45.5 overs) (Michael Nicholson 49, David Stiff 4-52), Hanging Heaton 157 (42.5 overs) (Imran Dawood 48,David Paynter 31, Tanzeel Altaf 4-29, Iain Wardlaw 3-31)
Cleckheaton bt Hanging Heaton By 38 runs
Round Three:Pudsey St Lawrence 139-7 (50.0 overs) (Mark Robertshaw 31, Chris Brice 4-21), *Woodlands 78 (27.2 overs) (Richie Lamb 3-22, Craig Wiseman 4-19)
Pudsey St Lawrence bt Woodlands By 61 runs
Semi-final:Undercliffe 108 (34.3 overs) (Andrew Deegan 5-20), *Cleckheaton 110-2 (26.1 overs) (Tim Jackson 38 not out,Tanzeel Altaf 41)
Cleckheaton bt Undercliffe By 8 wickets
Semi-final:Pudsey St Lawrence 283-4 (50.0 overs) (Mark Robertshaw 91,Adam Waite 106,James Smith 45 not out), *East Bierley 280-9 (50.0 overs) (Gavin Hamilton 86,Nick Rushworth 33,Richard Atkins 78,Neil Gill 31, Thomas Hudson 4-66)
Pudsey St Lawrence bt East Bierley By 3 runs

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