WARLEY skipper Matthew Whitworth believes Sunday’s 131st Parish Cup final between his side and Triangle at Copley is too close to call.
“It’s a 50-50 game,” said the wicketkeeper/batsmen, a view supported by the rivals’ proximity in the Halifax League’s Premier Division table.
Warley are third and Triangle fourth and there was little between the sides in their one meeting so far this season, Whitworth’s side winning the away fixture by 17 runs in late May.
The pair were due to cross swords in last Sunday’s postponed T20 semi-finals at Stones and the return league clash is in eight days’ time.
Whitworth’s side beat leaders Thornton last Saturday and have shattered Booth’s hopes of completing a league and cup double for the third year running with three wins over Richard Laycock’s side in 2018.
However, Triangle have arguably the most dynamic batting line-up in the league and Whitworth said: “On their day Triangle can do the same to us as we have been doing to the other leading sides.”
Both clubs are used to Parish Cup success. Warley have lifted the trophy six times since 1992 but their last success was in 2004 when they were led by Rob Keywood, whose son Greg is a key member of the Paradise Lane club’s current side.
Whitworth said opening bowler Luke Duckitt, 26, was the only member of his largely young side to have played in a Parish Cup final before.
“It will be a different atmosphere to what we are used to. There will be a lot there watching and Triangle will bring a good following.”
Triangle have lifted the famous old trophy, which spends most of its life in a bank vault, a record 12 times.
They have won six of the last 26 competitions, most recently in 2015 when Christian Silkstone was skipper. He has been restored to the post in recent weeks when experienced all-rounder Michael Midwood, who is still in the team, stepped down.
The availability of the Atkinsons brothers, Chris and Ben, is a big boost for Warley. The talented pair, both Farsley AFC players, are likely to be at the head of the Warley batting order in Sunday’s Briggs Priestley Engravers sponsored game.
Whitworth said the returns of Amjid Azam - in the headlines recently for his late-order batting heroics - and Shazad Hassan from Mytholmroyd this season had been a big boost to his side.
Warley bat all the way down and have a varied bowling attack which includes too useful left-arm spinners, league side player Dan Syme and South African Cameron van Rensberg.
Triangle will be checking on bowler Liam Turner, who turned an ankle in last weekend’s rain-hit league contest at Mytholmroyd.
Rangy quick bowler Kurtis Whippey spearheads their bowling attack while Jack Gledhill is another very capable performer.
However, the confines of their small ground means they have always been able to attract batsmen with Adam Stocks and Chris Metcalf the most recent additions to a line-up which also includes prolific runmakers Silkstone, Nathan Madden and big-hitting Carl Fletcher.
All-rounder Gary Rodger brings experience and reliability to their line-up.
The wickets at Copley never disappoint batsmen on cup final day and it would be no surprise, given the favourable weather forecast for Sunday in midweek, if the team winning the toss elects to bat.
Routes to final - Triangle: Walkover v Old Town; Triangle 184, Bridgeholme 171; Shelf Northowram HT 250, Triangle 252-2; Triangle 305-7, Mytholmroyd 215.
Warley: Clayton 206, Warley 209-7; Leymoor 132, Warley 133-2; Warley 213, Booth 193; Sowerby SP 164, Warley 168-3.
Umpires: John Mullan and Mark Orchard