Cleckheaton are in the happy position of being able to give the Yorkshire Cup a real go this season.
They head to Wharfedale on Saturday for a quarter-final knowing that it is a matter of when and not if they will be promoted from SSE North One East.
Leading by 13 points with four matches remaining, ther Moorenders have named their strongest possible side against opponents who also treat the county’s premier knockout competition more seriously than most.
“Prop Paul Turner has been out for two weeks with a ‘dead leg’ and is on the bench, but we are looking forward to testing ourselves against players who play week in, week out at a higher level,” said Cleckheaton’s fixture secretary Alan Bentley.
“We have nothing to lose. We may get hammered – if we get hammered, we get hammered – but we could also earn ourselves a semi-final against Huddersfield or Hull Ionians.
“It could also give us some momentum going into the season’s final run-in.
“Of course, if we weren’t in such a strong position in the league or if we were battling against relegation, our team selection might be different.
“But, as far as I am conerned, the Yorkshire Cup is not something to be treated lightly or ignored.”
Bentley added: “I don’t know whether we are stronger than last season or North One East is weaker – that is something to discuss at the end of the season –but we are certainly doing well under player-coach Rob Afoa Peterson, who has bought into our culture and is a very popular team member.”
Cleckheaton make only one change from the 15 who started in the derby romp last weekend against Old Crossleyans, James Marshall being preferred on the wing to James Wilson, who is among the replacements.
Cleckheaton (at Wharfedale): R Hayden; James Marshall, O Depledge, Matt Piper, M Woodhead; Michael Piper, J Bickerdike; C Piper, J Crowther, A Piper, G Turton, A Daw-son, R Piercy, R Afoa Peterson, O Akroyd. Replacements: J Wilson, G Lamb, J White, J Seddon, C Blackburn, S Crowther, P Turner.