Plenty of issues to be decided in Aire-Wharfe League

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A half-century will make Guiseley's Dean Russ one of the top three scorers in an Aire-Wharfe League season A half-century will make Guiseley's Dean Russ one of the top three scorers in an Aire-Wharfe League season

The Aire-Wharfe League season comes to an end on Saturday with several key issues to be decided in all three divisions.

While Thackley are already confirmed as champions, they will want to do the double over their nearest rivals Kirkstall to underline their superiority but it won’t be easy against a team that has dominated the second half of the campaign.

Another side to flourish since mid-season are Guiseley, who have gone from the relegation spots to fourth and could still move up to third if they can overcome the two-point gap to Burley in their match at Bilton.

Burley, however, won’t make it easy as they will expect to win against a Follifoot side that has won only one of their last five finishes.

Much of Guiseley’s success has been built on the displays of opener Dean Russ, who already has more than 1,200 runs to his credit and with a half-century against Bilton could enter the league record books as one of the top three scorers in a season.

There is bound to be plenty of tension at two grounds, where it will be decided who goes down with Rawdon.

Green Lane, who currently fill that slot after a six-match losing run, are one point adrift of Adel.

Lane travel to Collingham, who lost to Adel last week, and while their recent record has not been good, Lane won the encounter earlier in the season and if Yasser Ali and Istikhar Hussain hit form, they could well repeat that.

Meanwhile, Adel travel to Beckwithshaw, who have struggled in recent weeks, despite the efforts of John Inglis.

Rawdon end their spell in the top flight at Otley, who still have an outside chance of taking third place.

While promotion and relegation are settled in Division Two, there is still the matter of who finishes as champions, with Steeton currently two points clear of Ben Rhydding.

Steeton travel to fifth-placed Pool, whose dangerman is Brad Loveluck - a batsman capable of turning any match.

But the leaders also have a strong batting line-up, with Shane McNamara, the most consistent batsman in the league, needing 69 for a 1,000 runs this season, and John Akrigg with 780 already under his belt.

Ben Rhydding have a tougher-looking game at North Leeds, but they have won seven of eight finished matches in the second half of the season and already have a victory over their opponents earlier in the campaign.

Calverley and Harden, two sides who are relieved to have escaped relegation, meet, while Bolton Villas travel to Knaresborough and Olicanian entertain Upper Wharfedale.

And what next season could be a Division Three promotion battle will see the two relegated clubs, Tong Park Esholt and Menston, fight it out, Menston looking to do the double over their rivals.

The big question in Division Three is can Ilkley avoid coming third for the third year in a row? They are one of five clubs still in with a mathematical chance of joining Bardsey in promotion and they look to have the easiest task of the challengers when they travel to the league’s whipping boys, Alwoodley.

But will a win there be enough to make up the four points they need to overtake Colton?

That depends on the result as their rivals meet Woodhouse, who are themselves only a point behind Ilkley.

And don’t count out Illingworth, who should beat New Rover and then hope the results above them work out in their favour.

Addingham entertain a Horsforth side looking to stretch their run to five wins from six games, Hall Park face Silsden, while Skipton have the task of denying Bardsey the four points that would set a new league points record.

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