AS the Aire-Wharfe League season moves towards the halfway point, Ben Rhydding face their biggest challenge yet in their bid to win promotion from Division Two.

On Saturday, they entertain leaders Adel, who are already 12 points above them and have looked by far the strongest side in the division, with only one slip up - against Leeds Modernians.

Since an opening-day defeat by Skipton, Ben Rhydding have also impressed in all departments.

New Zealand all-rounder Shane Wineti is averaging 50 with the bat, and Sam Housam, fresh from last week’s century, is close behind him.

And they have depth in their bowling, led by Rob Withers and Henry Barrow, who between them have picked up 39 wickets at an average of under 13.

But Alex Miller’s men need to win this one - not just because of the points but psychologically to register a first win over their promotion rivals in the top four – they were beaten by Follifoot and their clash with Tong Park Esholt was rained off.

Meanwhile, those two rivals will start as hot favourites to win at Skipton and Addingham respectively, and could push Ben Rhydding down the pecking order.

Hall Park showed some improvement last week against Ben Rhydding, and if they can build on that they will test Steeton, who are only one place above them.

Calverley are having a hit and miss season – last week was definitely a miss when bowled out for 68 by Tong Park Esholt – and that will give hope to Thackley, who are desperate for a second win as they are already 31 points adrift of safety.

There are some titanic clashes in Division One, with third-placed Otley entertaining unbeaten leaders Beckwithshaw, while second-placed Burley host fourth-placed Bilton.

At the other end of the table, Horsforth will try to build on last week’s win that lifted them off bottom spot, but will find Pool a tougher opponent than Collingham.

Rawdon face a tricky trip to North Leeds, who have suddenly sprung to life with two wins in a row.

And with only one win – against struggling Colton – in their last five matches, Ilkley need get back on track at Collingham or be sucked into the dogfight near the bottom.

Division Three also has a mouth-watering clash as leaders Saltaire entertain third-placed Bardsey, who have exceeded all expectations this season.

Second-placed Olicanian sit this week out, so Harden should be able to overtake them with a victory at bottom-club Alwoodley, while Bolton Villas look to make it three wins in a row at St Chads Broomfield.

They will be hoping St Chads have one eye on the following day’s Waddilove Cup quarter-final, where they are the only Division Three representative with the formidable task of taking on Bilton.

The winner of that will book a semi-final against either Ilkley, who last won the trophy in 1975, or Pool, whose only win came ten years ago.

Horsforth and Addingham will create seismic shocks if they prevent the second semi-final being between their opponents on Sunday - Beckwithshaw and cup specialists Burley, who have lifted the trophy in three of the last seven years.