Doubts seep in as Aire-Wharfe formbook is thrown away

Keighley News: Rawdon's George Myers appeals for a dismissal during their victory last weekend against Ben Rhydding Rawdon's George Myers appeals for a dismissal during their victory last weekend against Ben Rhydding

In the lead up to the opening overs, there may well be a few moments of uncertainty around Aire-Wharfe League grounds on Saturday as the season reaches its halfway point.

Clubs had already been dealing with the vagaries of a damp summer and working out how to get the most benefit from the new points system when last week the formbook was turned on its head across all three divisions, putting doubt in some minds and raising hopes in others.

One team seemingly on the up are Rawdon, who, after losing the first three matches on the return to the top flight after two years in Division Two, have won three of the four they have completed since.

With Aussie Conor McInerney already passing the half-century mark four times, including 99 against Bilton, and former Undercliffe captain Ben Heritage leading the way in last week’s win over Ben Rhydding with a fine 75, Rawdon are starting to look a side to be reckoned with.

So, tomorrow’s visit to the team just below them in the table would seem the ideal opportunity to increase the two-point gap between them.

The problem with this theory is that they are at under-achieving, defending champions Beckwithshaw, who roared back to form last week with a thumping win over leaders Otley. Much will depend on which Beckwithshaw side turns up.

Otley will expect to bounce back from that defeat when they entertain bottom side Collingham, and second-placed Kirkstall, although faltering of late, will fancy their chances at Ben Rhydding.

The rest of the chasing pack, separated by only 11 points, slug it out, with Burley entertaining Ilkley and Steeton travelling to Guiseley.

Thackley and Bolton Villas are starting to get cut adrift at the bottom of Division Two and both face difficult matches against Tong Park Esholt and Green Lane respectively.

Harden face a Follifoot side smarting after their first defeat, while Skipton will hope to build on their win over promotion-chasing Adel when they meet Knaresborough.

Having lost their unbeaten record last week, Horsforth will be aware that their spot at the top of Division Three could be under threat because closest rivals Illingworth should have an easy win at rock-bottom Woodhouse. Meanwhile, Horsforth travel to New Rover for what promises to be a high-scoring game.

There could also be plenty of runs at Olicanian if the home side don’t find a way to stifle Hall Park’s prolific South African Bev Williams, who will be hunting his fourth century of the season.

Calverley will have to take Bardsey seriously after their high-scoring win last week, while Silsden will be keen to halt a recent slide at struggling Addingham, and Menston take on the side just above them, Alwoodley, both teams gaining confidence with wins last week.

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