KEIGHLEY have slumped to the foot of the Division One table in the Bradford League, but skipper Max Davidson insists bad luck and fine margins have played a major part.

That means he is not too worried about the prospect of relegation, despite the table showing just one win in their opening 11 games.

Davidson said: “Before the season, on paper, we had a very strong side.

“We had an overseas player in Muhammad-ul-Haq, who’s in Pakistan’s development side.

“He’s netted with us before and looked like a Rolls-Royce. He’s a student at Leeds Uni, but counts as overseas, and with Pakistan on the red travel list, we’ve been unable to get him over.

“He’s an opening bat and a spin bowler, the latter of which has been sorely missed.

“Our opening bowler Jamie Wilmshurst got injured after the first game, so now he’s having to bat in the seconds and I don’t see him bowling again all season.

“He tried to in the warm-up at the weekend, as he comes in if we’re short, but he couldn’t do it.

“One experienced batsman and spinner is missing for personal reasons, and our other opening bowler, Shahzada Khan, is playing through an elbow injury.

“Louis Horsfield is one of our top batsmen too but he sometimes works on Saturdays and can’t play.

“(All-rounder) Paul Quinlan was missing for the defeat to Bankfoot at the weekend, and he’s the only one of us really in form, but he should at least be available for the rest of the season now.

“We’ve also just had a lad who’s been in contact with someone with Covid, so we have had a run of really bad luck.”

Trying to focus on the positives, Davidson said: “We have a young side with a lot of talent in it, but that just means we lack a bit of experience.

“Myself, Paul and Shizzy (Khan) are the older heads but even I’m only 30.

“It’s not quite coming together yet but I’m not too worried, as we’ve been unlucky in a few games.

“We lost off the last ball to East Bierley in a game we should have won and then bowled out a top team in Undercliffe for 111 but just didn’t knock them off.

“We also had games against two weaker teams lost to the weather. We had Carlton three down for not many before that was rained off, so it could be a lot different.

“If we’d beaten East Bierley and Undercliffe for example, we wouldn’t be having this conversation (about Keighley’s struggles).”

Davidson finished off by saying: “You can get into the habit of losing, and it can be difficult to get back out there and convince yourselves that you’ve got this.

“But it only takes one game to change things round and we’ve still got half a season left.

“We’re going to have a players’ meeting and a barbecue after this Saturday’s game with Pudsey Congs too, which should hopefully prove to be a real positive.”