Tension in the air for Aire-Wharfe League Otley v Ilkley derby

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Skipper James Davies has been in fine form for Otley this season Skipper James Davies has been in fine form for Otley this season

Having shaken off the early-season ring rustiness, Aire-Wharfe League teams now face two tough weeks of double headers.

This weekend, Saturday's league matches are followed by the first round of the Waddilove Cup on Sunday.

Then next week there will be full league programmes on Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday to clear the decks for the weekend of ‘Le Tour’.

There is no doubting the top fixture on Saturday, with the clash of the only unbeaten Division One sides, separated at the top of the table by a single point.

Second-placed Otley, with James Davies and James Wilcock already in good form, entertain leaders Ilkley, who have returned to the top flight after a 20-year absence as though they had never been away.

While that looks set to be a tense affair, third-placed Steeton will hope to have a more comfortable afternoon against bottom side Rawdon, who have yet to make a mark following promotion.

Burley should stay in the leading pack with a win at Bilton, while Ben Rhydding will do well to break their duck at Guiseley, where Nasir Jamal has quickly settled into wicket-taking mood after his switch from Thackley.

He was one of several departures from there and the new line-up have yet to register a win in Division Two, and won’t find it easy at Skipton, who have looked comfortable following promotion.

Harden and Tong Park Esholt are in a group of three clubs just above Thackley, and both face difficult road trips to North Leeds and Adel respectively.

The toughest job of the day falls to Green Lane, who take on a Follifoot side that are brimming with confidence and are already 22 points clear of third-placed Knaresboorugh, while Bolton Villas need to find their opening-day form when they face Colton.

Division Three front-runners Silsden travel to New Rover, who are always likely to mount a high score at home, and any slip up could be to third-placed Horsforth’s advantage because they look far too good for struggling Bardsey.

Calverley are at home to second-placed Illingworth - their fourth clash with promotion hopefuls. But with a win over Hall Park under their belt and a dominating display against Menston before rain intervened last week, they might pull off a surprise.

Addingham will fancy their chances of picking up a first win when they travel to regular strugglers Alwoodley, while Hall Park look too strong for Menston.

Burley, who have won the Waddilove Cup in three of the last four years, start their defence at Silsden, while ten-times winners Otley also face Division Three opposition at New Rover.

The eye-catching tie is at Brownberrie Lane, where local bragging rights are at stake as well as a place in the second round when Horsforth entertain Hall Park.

Steeton have an all-Division One tie at Collingham, while Ilkley travel to in-form Knaresborough, whom they beat on the last day of last season to clinch the Second Division championship.

Other ties are: Beckwithshaw v Bilton, Ben Rhydding v Thackley, Bolton Villas v Adel, Calverley v Rawdon, Green Lane v Colton, Harden v Pool, Illingworth v Guiseley, Kirkstall v Upper Wharfedale, Menston v Woodhouse, North Leeds v Bardsey, Olicanian v Addingham.

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