Lightcliffe are firm favourites for derby

Rich pickings: Chris Taylor
Rich pickings: Chris Taylor

THERE is a 100-point chasm between Lightcliffe and Brighouse in Division Two of the Bradford League and only a brave man would bet against that being reduced tomorrow.

The pair meet in their first derby meeting of the season at Wakefield Road and Jonathan Wilson’s hosts, refreshed after a weekend off, will be expected by many to make it nine wins out of 10 this season if the weather permits.

Lightcliffe have a 30-point lead at the top of the table in their quest to step up on last year’s near miss in the promotion stakes while ever-changing Brighouse are next to bottom and lost by 58 runs at home to Saltaire six days ago.

Long-serving Lightcliffe first teamer James Horne said his side had to be fairly confident.

“Things have gone very well so far - the batsmen are scoring runs and the bowlers are taking wickets,” he said.

In fact Lightcliffe have two of the top three runmakers in the section in Chris Taylor and Alex Stead and two of the top seven wicket-takers in Chris Greenwood and Evan Evans.

Horne is expected his skipper to warn the players about complacency and has been keeping a close eye on Brighouse this season.

“They have only had one win but that was against Keighley who are a very strong side,” he said.

“They have a lot of new players, including some good lads from Spen Victoria, but from their results this season they have not been performing as they can.”

Lightcliffe could come up against one of their players from last season. Bowlers Adil and Aleem Ladak made the switch to Russell Way in search of more opportunities when Lightcliffe strengthened their squad in the close season and although Horne believes Adil is in Trinidad, he expects Aleem to play if free from his work commitments as a doctor.

Lightcliffe have one enforced change with Taylor’s brother Matthew, who usually bats at five, unavailable.

His place is filled by left handed batsman Rhys Jowett, who joined last season from Cleckheaton and is back from university.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Rob Crookes has returned to Lightcliffe after a short stint with Almondbury Wesleyans in the Huddersfield Central League and is likely to resume in the seconds.

Umar-Umar Salim has departed for the Huddersfield League, his opportunities to bat having been limited by the strength of Lightcliffe’s top order.