AIRE-WHARFE Division One leaders Otley can take a giant step towards their dream of a league and cup double when they play hosts at Cross Green to two massive games this weekend.
Tomorrow they take on second-placed Burley in the league, and on Sunday go head to head with Collingham in the final of the Waddilove Cup.
Otley will start favourites in both matches but they are wary of both opponents.
Otley have won the cup ten times – more than any other club – but not since 1988.
Collingham have only had their name on the trophy once but that was two years ago when they did the double.
So in players like Toby Jacklin, man of the match in the 2012 one-run cup win against Ben Rhydding, they have potential match-winners who have experience of the pressure of a final.
Otley have lost only three times this season but one of those was at home to Collingham, and they will still be bruised by just missing out at Ilkley last week.
However, Collingham have slipped down the table since beating Otley and are not safe from relegation, and they are much more likely to be fearful of a dressing room packed with players like James Davies, David Hester, Ben Morley, Jamie Pickering and James Wilcock, all of whom are capable of ending that 26-year cup drought.
Burley will travel to Otley keen to get their challenge back on track after also coming up shy last week when they were bowled out six runs short of beating Bilton.
Both sides will be hoping Guiseley can halt the charge of defending champions Beckwithshaw, who have gone from the relegation spots to only 21 points behind Otley.
Rawdon will hope to catch Collingham with their minds on the cup and climb above them in the table, while Ben Rhydding go to Bilton knowing that all six of their remaining games are ‘cup finals’ as they bid to escape the drop.
Ilkley can do them a favour by beating Pool and keeping them in the relegation mix.
The battle to avoid relegation will also be tense in Division Two, where bottom club Bolton Villas – with only a double win over Skipton so far – take on Upper Wharfedale, the side immediately above them.
Villas simply can’t afford to let that 21-point gap get larger.
Above them, Thackley have a difficult trip to second-placed North Leeds and Skipton entertain in-form Colton, while Harden go to Green Lane, whose hopes of promotion look to be slipping away.
Tong Park Esholt can ease any fears of relegation with a win at Knaresborough.
After three straight defeats and two washed-out matches, Calverley’s hopes of winning promotion a year after dropping into Division Three seem to be fading, and they won’t relish going to face Horsforth, who look nailed on for the title.
Hall Park will need their A-game if they are to upset second-placed Illingworth, and Addingham take on promotion-hopefuls New Rover.