Burley and Rawdon tails up for crunch clash

Ilkley Gazette: TOP DOGS: James Wilcock celebrates a wicket for Otley – the only unbeaten team in Division One – against Ben Rhydding TOP DOGS: James Wilcock celebrates a wicket for Otley – the only unbeaten team in Division One – against Ben Rhydding

Burley and Rawdon have had mixed starts to the season but go into Saturday’s Aire-Wharfe League meeting on the back of good wins.

After three straight defeats following their return to the top flight, Rawdon have won two of their last three, beating Steeton and Bilton, teams who were challenging the front runners.

Much of that has been down to the batting of Aussie Conor McInerney who has passed 60 on four occasions, including a match-winning 99 against Bilton last weekend.

Burley, in contrast, won their first three games but then hit a wall until soundly beating defending champions Beckwithshaw. They will look to the consistent form of Nick Brook and Ed Brown to give them an edge over their visitors.

Defeat by Pool last week dropped Steeton out of the top two and they will need to up their game considerably at leaders Otley, the only undefeated team in the division.

Guiseley and Ilkley, who have only one point between them and are hot on Steeton’s tail, meet in what should be a close contest.

Tension is already starting to build at the bottom of Division Two, where only ten points separate five clubs.

Leading that bunch are Skipton after their defeat by Tong Park Esholt. They have the toughest task of all of them with the visit of unbeaten leaders Follifoot.

It won’t be much easier for Bolton Villas against second-placed Adel but Harden will hope to build on their win over Colton when they face fellow strugglers Upper Wharfedale.

Green Lane and Tong Park Esholt, who are hovering just above the bottom five, face tricky matches against Knaresborough and North Leeds respectively.

Thackley need to find some form against Colton if their season is not to be a continual struggle to get out of the bottom two.

There are no such worries at Horsforth, who have open-ed up a 17-point lead at the top of Division Three and will expect to at least maintain that against Menston.

With Iqbal Khan looking a strong candidate for the league’s leading wicket taker, having already picked up four wickets on four occasions, Silsden are likely to bowl out rock-bottom Woodhouse cheaply and bounce back from their defeat by Horsforth.

Calverley have got themselves back in contention after a shaky start and are likely to be too strong for Addingham, although they will have to be wary of in-form Will Atkins.

Olicanian will expect to beat Bardsey, while Bev Williams-inspired Hall Park will fancy their chances at Alwoodley.

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