THERE may be nine matches left in the All Rounder Bradford Premier League Premier Division season, but Bradford & Bingley cricket committee chairman David Markham already thinks that it is two from three for the relegation berths.

Cellar dwellers East Bierley, who have 69 points, have looked vulnerable all season, while the other place could well rest between Bradford & Bingley (102) and Scholes (106).

“I know that there are still plenty of points to play for, but we lost to Scholes last week, which was a blow, and there is a gap between Scholes, who are third from bottom, and the next club up, Lightcliffe, who have 125 points.”

Bingley travel to Lightcliffe tomorrow, and therefore have a chance to steal a march, while, in contrast, Scholes (at Farsley) and East Bierley (home to New Farnley) face clubs who are tilting for the title.

Markham added: “Our batting and bowling hasn’t been consistent enough,” but last weekend’s defeat at New Popplewell Lane cannot be laid at the feet of Ed Brown.

The Bingley all-rounder, who was their sixth bowler used, took 5-43 to peg Scholes back from 216-2 to 256-8, a setback which can also be attributed to off-spinner Brad Reeve (son of the late Howard), whose 15 overs brought him a miserly 2-39.

Then Brown came in when the score was 71-4 and made an unbeaten 103 off 92 balls to help his side to 219-9.

Brown, a recruit from Burley in the Aire-Wharfe League, hit nine fours and seven sixes and added 92 unbroken for the tenth wicket with James Wilmshurst, whose contribution was only nine.

However, Bingley’s batsmen and bowlers have not fired consistently enough, despite the efforts of Reeve, Brown and Jonathan Whitehead, a recruit from the Greater Manchester League who already has over 400 league runs to his name, including two centuries.

Markham said: “We are definitely missing overseas all-rounder Numan Ali, who was one of the best slow left-arm bowlers in the league, and opening bowler Yassir Abbas, who has gone to Lightcliffe.”

At the other end of the table, Markham is delighted to see second-placed Farsley, who are only nine points behind New Farnley, doing so well in the closely-fought battle for the title.

It has also cheered the former Telegraph & Argus journalist, who takes a wider view of things, to see established clubs such as Undercliffe and Keighley pitching for promotion in Championship Division One and Division Two.