Cleckheaton chase key win at Farnley

Yasser Ali in action for Scholes against Methley.
Yasser Ali in action for Scholes against Methley.

Cleckheaton will call on experienced shoulders when they travel to New Farnley for a key game in their fight against relegation from the All Rounder Bradford Premier League on Saturday.

The Moorenders have called up 53-year-old Neil Nicholson, who returns to first team action seven years after first playing in a Cleckheaton shirt, and the former Yorkshire batsman will figure alongside sons Mally and Ian.

The decision to select the experienced head of Nicholson senior comes after three straight defeats saw Cleckheaton slip to third-bottom in the Premier Division table, just 15 points above the relegation zone.

Cleckheaton are certainly capable of competing with the leading sides, as victory over champions Pudsey St Lawrence on June 3 showed, but as they move into the second half of the season they feel experienced voices in the dressing room could be key.

New Farnley’s 61-run win over second-bottom Pudsey Congs last week saw them move above Cleckheaton but the sides could swap places again if John Wood’s men return from Lawns Lane with winning points.

East Bierley are just four points better off than Cleck following an 18-run defeat to Bradford & Bingley and they travel to Lightcliffe, who moved into mid-table by overcoming Cleckheaton last week.

Woodlands are right in the title mix at the halfway point of the season after Pudsey St Lawrence inflicted a first defeat on leaders Hanging Heaton last Saturday.

Woodlands are fourth, following their hard-fought 18-run triumph over bottom side Batley, and are within 12 points of the leaders and also have a Heavy Woollen Cup semi-final at Townville to look forward to on Sunday week.

Scholes will look to bounce back from their first defeat in Championship One, at the hands of Methley, when they entertain near neighbours Gomersal for what should be a keenly contested derby.

Scholes had swept all before them in their opening nine matches but lost for the first time against one of their promotion rivals last week.

Scholes still hold a 15-point lead at the top but will want to extend that as they must play second placed Wrenthorpe twice and face a return game against Methley in the final six weeks of the season between August 12 and September 16.