Townville may have had a tricky start to the defence of their Central Yorkshire League crown, but skipper Nick Bresnan is certainly not ruling them out from making a strong challenge just yet.
Bresnan, older brother of Yorkshire and England star Tim, reckons this year could be one of the most wide open for years with several sides improving from last year to challenge the domination enjoyed by Townville and local rivals Methley last year.
He has seen for himself how one of the teams in particular has made big strides with Scholes beating Townville by six wickets. They are proving the real surprise packages so far with an unbeaten start to lead the way in the Premiership.
Yet although Townville are down in eighth and have lost twice and had two games rained off, including last Saturday’s intended match against Altofts, they are only nine points behind the early pacesetters.
“A few sides have improved and signed players this year and everyone is beating each other,” said Bresnan.
“I think there will be four or five sides challenging for the title this year and it’s more competitive. I have every confidence in our team and if we can get a few six-pointers who knows what will happen. We have a good set of lads.”
Townville have lost South African all-rounder Kyllin Vardhan from last year and he is a big miss after the successful season he had with bat and ball in 2013. But they have signed young Australian player Matt Bremner from Victorian Premier League club Fitzroy-Doncaster as their overseas replacement and have high hopes he can be a big contributor.
Bresnan added: “Kyllin Vardhan got 1,000 runs and 60 wickets for us last season so it’s a big gap to fill.
“But Matt Bremner has settled in well. Now the wickets are getting a bit harder he is coming into his own. In Australia, he’s used to playing on motorways every week and he likes the ball coming onto the bat.
“Matt is predominantly a batter and doesn’t really bowl so he will get the runs for us, but we’ve 60 wickets to find in the side if we want to achieve what we did last year.
“Everybody has got to step up a bit and play their part in getting the extra wickets.”
Townville were in winning form when they managed to play their rearranged second round Heavy Woollen Cup tie away to Huddersfield League side Moorlands on Sunday.
Batting first in a game reduced to 35 overs-a-side, Townville made 186-8 with Kris Ward (52) top scoring and valuable knocks also coming from Jonny Booth (51) and Bremner (43).
Moorlands were never in the hunt in their reply and were all out for only 76 with Jack Hughes taking 4-20 and Dean Woolsey 3-28.
Townville are now through to the quarter-finals when they are away to Shepley on Sunday, June 8.
Skipper Bresnan was pleased with the display.
He said: “We made a good start and although we lost our way a bit in the middle there was some good hitting at the back end and we got a decent score.
“We bowled well as a unit and it was a good all-round performance.
“We won at Shepley in the Heavy Woollen Cup semi-finals in 2012 so hopefully we can go there and do it again.”
Methley’s Heavy Woollen Cup second round tie against New Farnley at Little Church Lane was again postponed last Sunday. It has been rearranged as a 20-over game with the winners to visit Central Yorkshire League leaders Scholes in the quarter-finals.
Holders Methley, meanwhile, continue their defence of the Jack Hampshire Trophy with a home second round tie against Division One side Gildersome this Sunday.
They had their scheduled Premiership game at Scholes abandoned without a ball being bowled because of heavy rain last Saturday and remain in fourth place in the table, five points off the top.
Townville host Wakefield Thornes twice this weekend.
The teams meet in a Premiership game on Saturday and will do battle again a day later in a second round Jack Hampshire Trophy tie with Townville looking to avenge their defeat to Thornes in this competition last year.
All last Saturday’s matches in Pontefract and District Cricket League’s eight divisions were abandoned without a ball being bowled because of wet weather.