FORMER county player John Wood is inspiring Cleckheaton’s Bradford League Division One title challenge.
Although Wood was regarded as a bowler during his county career with Durham and Lancashire, it is with the bat that the Moorenders captain is leading the way.
A series of excellent knocks, including recent back-to-back innings of 93 and 97, have fired Cleckheaton into second place, just 15 points behind leaders Woodlands.
Wood has shown his commitment to the Cleckheaton cause by also figuring heavily in their Twenty20 side and he smashed a superb 123 from just 46 balls in last week’s victory over Gomersal.
Cleckheaton have never won a top flight Bradford League title but they will be aiming to pile further pressure on Woodlands tomorrow when they entertain Undercliffe (1.30pm).
The Moorenders are waiting on the availablity of opening bowler Iain Wardlaw, who made his County Championship debut in Yorkshire’s Roses match against Lancashire at Headingley this week.
Wardlaw picked up his maiden first class wicket when he had Tom Smith caught by wicketkeeper Johnny Bairstow.
Former Hartshead Moor man Wardlaw ended Wednesday’s first day with 1-68 from 13 overs.
Woodlands again lived up to their billing as title favourites when they overcame local rivals East Bierley in a rain effected game last week.
Woodlands face another tricky game tomorrow when they travel to Farsley, who saw their own title ambitions dented when they were docked 10 points for playing an unregistered player.
There are also two key games at the other end of the table, with Gomersal and Baildon battling against relegation.
Gomersal are bottom, 14 points behind Baildon and 41 adrift of third-bottom Manningham Mills.
Gomersal, who will meet Shepley in the Heavy Woollen Cup final next Sunday (July 31), entertain Bradford & Bingley tomorrow and they will also be looking for a favour from East Bierley, who travel to Baildon.
Hartshead Moor have climbed to seventh in Division Two and they have a good chance of making further progress if they can overcome fourth-placed Great Horton.
Spen Victoria are third-bottom, 44 points ahead of second-bottom Brighouse and they entertain Morley.
Liversedge are embroiled in a fierce battle to win promotion from Central Yorkshire League Division One.
They lie fourth, five points behind new leaders Moorlands, and have the advantage of having a game in hand on all the sides above them.
Liversedge travel to lowly East Ardsley tomorrow looking to pile further pressure on the sides above them.
Scholes are riding high at the top of Division Two, five points clear of nearest rivals Wrenthorpe A.
Scholes are well set to make a quick return to the first division as they hold a 10-point lead over third placed Altofts A.
They will look to make further progress tomorrow when they travel to bottom side Netherton, who have lost all 14 games this season and have only managed to pick up two bonus points.