THE Bradford League Division One title race is set for a thrilling conclusion with four sides still in with a shout of lifting the crown going into tomorrow’s final matches (start noon).
Champions and league leaders Woodlands have lost their last three games to see a massive advantage cut to just four points by Cleckheaton.
Batsman Richard Whitehurst has gone the extra mile to ensure he plays in the Moorenders’ biggest game in years as he will fly home from a family holiday in France and is due to land at Stanstead Airport sometime today.
Lightcliffe and East Bierley will also have a keen eye on the games involving Woodlands and Cleckheaton as they too can still win the championship.
Woodlands remain in the box seat but they must beat Bradford & Bingley if they are to clinch a fifth title in seven years and if they slip up, John Wood’s Moorenders can pip them to the post should they win away to Pudsey Congs.
Rumours were circulating that the champions were contemplating flying overseas star Sarfraz Ahmed back for the Bingley game but Woodlands officials have quashed those.
While Cleckheaton were delighted that Whitehurst would cut short his family holiday to play against Pudsey Congs, the news is not so good on popular wicketkeeper/batsman Mally Nicholson, who will miss out on the showdown.
Nicholson left the field feeling unwell in last Sunday’s victory over Hanging Heaton and he was later taken to hospital and had an operation on his appendix.
There are sure to be more twists and turns throughout tomorrow, with both Bierley and Lightcliffe still in the hunt, trailing the leaders by 11 and 10 points respectively.
Bierley end their league campaign at home to Pudsey St Lawrence, while Lightcliffe host relegated Undercliffe.
Bradford League officials will have the championship trophy on hand to whisk to the ground of the winning team, which adds to the excitement of the final day.
Should East Bierley leap from fourth to top tomorrow, there will be little time for them to celebrate as they meet Manningham Mills in the Priestley Cup final replay at Spen Victoria on Sunday (start 11am).
Bierley were struggling on 99-6 in the original game, which was abandoned by heavy rain.
Spectators will be admitted free to Sunday’s replay but there will be a ban on taking alcohol into the ground after unsavoury incidents at the original game on August 26.
Woodlands second team play Baildon at Shepley in a re-arranged Crowther Cup final on Sunday (11.30am), while it is also the final of the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy between Wrenthorpe and Whitley Hall at Elsecar (noon).