Halifax Cricket League: Minnows will not be taken lightly

All-rounder Babar Malik is one of the players who came to Northowram as part of the merger with Shelf
All-rounder Babar Malik is one of the players who came to Northowram as part of the merger with Shelf

Buoyant Shelf Northowram Hedge Top insist that they will not underestimate Luddenden Foot this weekend.

A trip to play opposition from two divisions lower would appear to represent a golden opportunity for the fourth-placed side in the Premier to earn a rare appearance in the semi-finals of the Halifax Parish Cup.

However, the hosts from rural High Lea Green fall very much into the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” category, having already embarrassed top-section sides Sowerby St Peter’s and Copley in this year’s Briggs Priestley-backed competition.

Hedge Top spokesman Andy Dimbleby indicated that it would be a case of familiarity NOT breeding contempt in Sunday’s showdown.

The club’s junior organiser and second team player said: “We know Luddenden Foot are not a bad side, even though they play in Division Two.

“Some of our players are mates with some of theirs. We are pretty familiar with them so we will not be taking them lightly. We’re expecting a tough game.”

Dimbleby is one of those who moved down the road from Shelf as part of the merger prior to last season.

He concedes that the firsts are “probably punching above their weight” at the moment but believes the side has been strengthened and that the players are maturing and playing more sensible cricket.

Swing bowler Aamir Rashid and left arm slow bowler Jack Hembleys have 47 wickets between them already this season.

Dimbleby said the bowlers had been so effective that the batsmen had been left with largely modest totals to chase.

Dan Cole, the side’s top batsmen in 2018, already has 300-plus runs this time. He added 26 last Saturday when Hedge Top were the only first team winners on another wet day, thanks to the determined efforts of the ground staff. Dimbleby revealed that Cole had been urged to quicken his scoring with rain clouds gathering. The five-wicket win had been achieved as the heavens opened again.