CLECKHEATON captain John Wood has labelled tomorrow’s trip to Pudsey St Lawrence as a ‘must-win’ fixture if the champions are to make it a hat-trick of titles in September.
The Moorenders head to current Bradford League Division One leaders St Lawrence on the back of some mixed form this season, with one hope of silverware dashed when they lost out to near-neighbours Lightcliffe in the last-eight of the Priestley Cup on Sunday.
Cleck’ are currently in fourth spot, forty points behind the frontrunners and with much work to do if they are to follow up their championships in 2014 and 2013, as Wood is quick to acknowledge.
Wood said: “With the way we have performed, anything can happen. We could either be brilliant or we could be rubbish. It has been a bit of a weird year really.
“We have either battled well or bowled well and have not really put both together in the same game.
“It’s been a bit disappointing and makes it really tough to retain the league.
“The only way we can do that is by beating Pudsey (St Lawrence) twice in the league and hope a couple of other teams beat them as well.
“If we were to lose on Saturday, that really is it.
“I can’t see anyway we could retain the title, if we were fifty points behind at halfway.
“Otherwise, we would have to make a lot of improvements and go unbeaten for the rest of the season if we were to try and win it.”
Cleck’s frustrations have been exacerbated by a knee injury to Wood’s brother Ian, which is likely to keep him out for a number of games for during the rest of the season.
It means that the Cleck’ attack are going to have to dig deep for the cause if they are to propel the club back into firm title contention.
Wood rued: “If my brother doesn’t play, we are a bowler short and I can’t bowl (anymore). It is really tough. My brother looks like he is going to miss quite a bit of cricket now as his knee is really bad, so we are going to be a bowler short for the rest of the year.
“I am not really sure how we are going to overcome that.
“It does mean that the four lads who have got to bowl have got an awful lot of bowling to do in games.
“We can’t afford to have one of them not fire for the rest of the season.
“They are all going to have to perform out of their skin and for half a season, that’s a big ask as bowlers every now and again have an off-day.”