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Leaders Colton will provide Tong Park Esholt with serious test
Buy this photo » Neil Spragg goes on the attack for Steeton against Thackley last weekend
Tong Park Esholt made a number of changes to their Aire-Wharfe League side in a bid to bounce straight back from last season’s relegation to Division Three, and on Saturday they face a serious test of their ambition when they take on leaders Colton.
Hot favourites Colton have already opened up a seven-point advantage, despite dropping five points to Addingham while, under new skipper Ross Todd, Park are locked in second place with Woodhouse and Menston.
After four straight wins, Park crashed to defeat at Woodhouse last week and need to show they can tackle the top clubs if they are to keep on the leaders’ coat-tails.
With Gareth Lee having already picked up three five-wicket hauls this season, Menston should be too strong for Addingham but will be mindful of the danger posed by Ricky Palacio, while Woodhouse will start as hot favourites against a Horsforth side that have lost four of their last five.
Majid Inayat has amassed 174 runs in his last three innings as Silsden have started to climb away from the basement, and they should be able to overcome perennial whipping boys Alwoodley, but Skipton might find the going hard at home to Hall Park, who are confident after two straight wins.
The top clash in Division One sees leaders Steeton travel to pre-season favourites Beckwithshaw.
Although still unbeaten, Steeton’s charge has slowed a little with two draws in the last three matches, and they face a side where Bryan Vance is finding form with the bat and is backed up by the lethal, former Green Lane attack of Yasar Ali and Istikhar Hussain.
But Beckwithshaw’s fourth place might be false in that they have stumbled when faced with top sides, and Steeton should be able to come out on top.
They will also be looking for Burley and the consistency of Nick Brook and Charlie Davy to do them a favour by taking something off second-placed Collingham.
Defending champions Thackley are still not firing on all cylinders but should be too strong for Ben Rhydding, who have lost four of their last five, while Guiseley’s improvement in form should give them the edge over Bilton.
Otley have only one win in their last five but have the chance to pick up all six points at an Adel side that already looks destined to have a difficult summer.
The top of Division Two sees four clubs covered by three points but that will change after Saturday's clashes when leaders Harden travel to fourth-placed Pool, and second-placed Rawdon go to third-placed Green Lane.
Harden have drawn two of their last three and will be aware of the danger of swing bowler Matthew Naylor, who has stood out as Pool have dropped only one point in that period.
Rawdon bounced back from defeat by Ilkley to beat North Leeds but will need to step up another gear against Lane, who took five points off Harden and in Davin Charleston have a potentially match-winning batsman.
Calverley can start to ease away from the bottom three if they get the better of Knaresborough, the side immediately above them, while Bolton Villas will expect to extend their two wins from three against an Olicanian side that are already nine points adrift of safety at the bottom.
Ilkley are undefeated in four matches but face a tough challenge from the always-dangerous Bardsey.