THE JCT600 Bradford League Division One title race is set for a dramatic finale on Saturday with four teams still in the hunt and Lightcliffe CC are one of them.
This is a remarkable achievement for skipper Joanthan Wilson and his player-chairman of cricket Chris Taylor in their very first season after last term’s promotion from Division Two.
Just 11 points separate faltering leaders Woodlands and fourth-placed East Bierley after another eventful day last Sunday, part two of a double-header weekend.
The final day fixtures – matches which were moved from the opening day due to rain – see Woodlands at home to Bradford & Bingley, Cleckheaton, chasing their first title, away to Pudsey Congs, East Bierley hosting Pudsey St Lawrence and Lightcliffe entertaining an Undercliffe side whose relegation was confirmed when they were bowled out for 98 at Pudsey St Lawrence to lose by eight wickets.
In late July Woodlands had not lost a game and were winning the title at a canter. However, with the winning post in sight, they have lost the winning habit and are limping to try and get over the line.
Meanwhile, Cleckheaton have strung six wins on the bounce, aided by former Hartshead Moor quickie Iain Wardlaw being loaned back to them by Yorkshire while East Bierley have kept chipping away.
However, Lightcliffe are the form team. Unbeaten since June, they have hauled back 100 points on the leaders. It will be one of the great triumphs of modern times if they can pull it off at Undercliffe’s picturesque ground where the biggest crowd for 30 years is expected.
Talisman Chris Taylor will be batting from the front and will be backed up by Alex Stead, Durham University’s Charles Roebuck, Alex Lees, gloveman Mark Horne, and spin triplets Khan, Greenwood and Wheatley.
Captain Jonathan Wilson, who returns after missing last weekend said: “At halfway in the season we were aiming for top four. Now we are aiming to be top, the kings of the league, the champions.
“We have come so far and to be still in with a shout is testament to our battling qualities. This is the one we are waiting for. Everyone has contributed in our season. It’s going to be a roller coaster of a day.”