At this stage of the season there are very few fixtures that dont have a huge importance – and none more so than at the top of the Second Division.
This season’s newcomers Scholes, currently second behind Morley, take on third-placed Baildon at Jenny Lane tomorrow (Sat) and then sit out Sunday, while Baildon play catch-up.
It promises to be a tense weekend for Scholes skipper James Stansfield and his team, who have perhaps surprised everyone except themselves this season.
Leaving the Central Yorkshire League was a big step for the club, but there was always a quiet confidence at New Popplewell Lane and that has proved justified.
With eight games to play, Scholes are well placed to at least take the runners-up spot. Morley look favourites to finish top and their nine-wicket demolition of Spen Victoria in their last game has left them 22 points ahead of the chasing pack.
But they have played a game more than their rivals and a setback tomorrow will open the door for Baildon to close the gap, or even overtake them, if they win at home to Keighley on Sunday.
It was Yasir Ali who proved Spen Victoria’s undoing in Scholes’ last game as he returned figures of 7-21, with no fewer than five men failing to score. In fact, Oliver Davison (30) was the only Spen batsman in double figures and Scholes overhauled their opponents for the loss of just one wicket.
In the First Division, Hanging Heaton skipper Gary Fellows continued his rich vein of form with 106 out of 259-7 at Woodlands, and followed up with 2-16 in three overs.
But with victory in reach, the big-hitting Sarfraz Ahmed hammered 38 off 17 balls for his side and they sneaked home by three wickets with seven balls to spare.
Although slipping back in the title race, a win for Hanging Heaton at home to leaders Pudsey St Lawrence this week will once again set the cat amongst the pigeons.
With Pudsey’s recent slips and Heaton’s failure to see off rivals Woodlands last week, there is a growing confidence at Moorend, where reigning champions Cleckheaton keep pecking away at the deficit and are handily placed to take advantage of any further slips by the top two.
In their last game, skipper John Wood saw his side restrict visiting Farsley to 234-8, with the help of a 4-57 return from leg-spinner Tanzeel Altaf.
Wood then hit a top-scoring 66 in his side’s match-winning 235-7 in only 38 overs.
Tim Jackson, the First Division’s second-highest run-scorer, hit 63 for Cleckheaton in that game and he will be hoping for more of the same at Undercliffe tomorrow.
Woodlands go to unpredictable East Bierley tomorrow but the Oakenshaw side are also in the race for honours on the cup front after a Heavy Woollen Cup semi-final victory over holders Pudsey Congs last week.
That set up a final showdown with Hoylandswaine at Ossett.