Woodlands can clinch fifth title

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WOODLANDS will be aiming to clinch a fifth Bradford League Division One title in seven years when they face two games over what will be an important weekend at both ends of the table.

The champagne corks could be popping at Oakenshaw tomorrow if Woodlands overcome close rivals East Bierley and other results go their way.

It is likely, however, that the bubbly will remain on ice for another 24 hours at least when the champions-elect travel to struggling Farsley on Sunday.

Woodlands hold a 33 point advantage over second placed Cleckheaton and would need to beat Bierley tomorrow and then hope John Wood’s Moorenders lose at home to Bradford & Bingley and fourth placed Lightcliffe are beaten by Hanging Heaton for the celebrations to start.

Pieter Swanepoel got his hands on the league trophy last season and to lead his side to back-to-back titles would be a terrific achievement.

Woodlands have been the most consistent side this year, winning 12 of their 14 games to beat the weather, but they are stuttering over the finish line having lost overseas player Sarfraz Ahmed.

Victory for East Bierley would maintain their own hopes of overhauling Woodlands, while also keeping alive Cleckheaton’s chances of winning a first top flight title.

The games on Sunday have been re-arranged from April 28 and Cleckheaton, who are chasing their highest finish in the Bradford League, entertain a Hanging Heaton side who are still searching points to keep out of the relegation zone.

Both Cleck and Heaton will have more than a keen eye on the game between Farsley and Woodlands, while Bierley are away to Manningham Mills in their Sunday fixture.

Those two sides will get to know each other very well in the last few weeks of the season, with a Priestley Cup final replay scheduled for September 16 at Spen Victoria.

Bierley were struggling on 99-6 when rain stopped play in the original game on August 26 and the reserve day on Bank Holiday Monday was also washed out.

Spen are likely to finish mid-table in Division Two but they finish with three home games, so have the chance to climb.

Spen entertain Bankfoot tomorrow, before welcoming Gomersal for what should be a cracking derby on Sunday.

Gomersal have not yet given up hope of a top-two finish but they would need to gain plenty of bonus points from their trip to Windhill tomorrow and Sunday’s game with Spen.

Gomersal trail second placed Yeadon by 40 points but they have a game in hand.

Yeadon travel to Great Horton tomorrow and their final game is against second placed Morley on September 15, so Gomersal will be looking to cash in should they slip.

Hartshead Moor sit out tomorrow’s round of matches but return on Sunday when they host Brighouse, who are in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.