skipper John Wood feels the Bradford League title chase is now a two-horse race between his defending champions Cleckheaton and Woodlands.
Fresh from last weekend’s rare reverse, the Cleck’ captain is now demanding an immediate return to form as his men continue the chase for a terrific treble.
Cleckheaton are still in the hunt for a Bradford League, Priestley Cup and Black Sheep three-timer and host Division One’s bottom side Yeadon tomorrow – but with a reduced lead of 21 points after last Saturday’s loss to East Bierley.
Second-placed Woodlands slashed the deficit from 36 points after beating Farsley who are now another 19 points back in third with only another seven points covering the top flight’s top six.
Yet even with four games remaining, honest-talking Wood sees Woodlands as his side’s only title danger but a very big one at that.
“Woodlands are a good side and they will be pushing as hard as they can to get back into it,” Wood told the YEP.
“And they are back in it I suppose – we’ve opened the door for them really.
“I think Pudsey and Farsley are too far back to mount a challenge now and I think us and Woodlands would probably have to lose all our remaining games – and lose them poorly as well – and not pick up bonus points.
“I can’t see past ourselves and Woodlands really and obviously we’re in the best position.
“We’ve just got to get back on track and get our heads right and turn up on Saturday and try and beat Yeadon.”
Yeadon are 26 points adrift of safety but Wood warned: “I think every game is a bit of a banana skin in a way and Yeadon are in there fighting for their lives.
“Yes, they are down there and they have struggled this year but they’ve got a few lads who can play and with a bit of weather about you don’t know what kind of wicket you’re going to get.
“I think if you play on a really good wicket then the better sides generally win but if you play on a wicket that does a little bit, it sort of evens things out.
“All you need is some weather about and you end up playing a 20-over game and anybody can win of those.” He added: “I’m not taking anybody lightly and I think we need to turn up and have our heads on for a tough game.
“We’ve also got the Priestley Cup final coming up in a couple of weeks and we don’t want to be going there under pressure in the league and having lost a couple of games on the bounce.
“It’s vital that we get back to winning ways.”
Elsewhere in the Bradford League top flight, Woodlands host sixth-placed Bradford and Bingley as they look to keep the heat on Cleckheaton.
Hanging Heaton host Farsley, Morley have the chance to leapfrog East Bierley, Pudsey St Lawrence travel to New Farnley, whilst their local rivals Pudsey Congs welcome Lightcliffe.
In the Aire-Wharfe League, leaders Otley look to extend their advantage when they travel to Pool, whilst rivals Burley are away against bottom side Ben Rhydding.
Meanwhile, Collingham face Kirkstall, fourth hosts third when Beckwithshaw welcome Bilton, Ilkley entertain Steeton, and Rawdon and Guiseley play out the final fixture of the weekend.
In the ECB Yorkshire League, York face two local teams in as many days, hosting Harrogate on Saturday before they travel to Yorkshire Academy on Sunday.
Division 1: Beckwithshaw v Bilton; Ben Rhydding v Burley; Kirkstall v Collingham; Rawdon v Guiseley; Pool v Otley; Ilkley v Steeton.
Division 2: Tong Park Esholt v Bolton Villas; Adel v Green Lane; Thackley v Harden; Follifoot v Knaresborough; Colton v North Leeds; Upper Wharfedale v Skipton.
Division 3: Olicanian v Addingham; Bardsey v Alwoodley; Hall Park v Horsforth; Silsden v Illingworth; Menston v New Rover; Calverley v Woodhouse.
Division 1: Cleckheaton v Yeadon; Hanging Heaton v Farsley; Morley v East Bierley; New Farnley v Pudsey St Lawrence; New Farnley v Pudsey St Lawrence; Pudsey Congs v Lightcliffe; Woodlands v Bradford & Bingley.
Division 2: Baildon v Keighley; Bankfoot v Brighouse; Great Horton v Undercliffe; Idle v Windhill; Saltaire v Gomersal; Spen Victoria v Hartshead Moor.
Central Yorkshire League
Premier Division: Carlton v Birstall; Hopton Mills v Ossett; Hunslet Nelson v Mirfield PC; Methley v Scholes; Townville v Altofts; Wrenthorpe v Wakefield Th.
Championship: Batley v East Ardsley; Buttershaw SP v Oulton; East Leeds v Wakefield SM; Northowram F v Liversedge.
Craven & District League
Division 1: Bingley Congs v Cowling; Riddlesden v Crossflatts; Embsay v Ingrow St John’s; Foulridge v Haworth; Barrowford v Thornton; Oakworth v Haworth Road.
Dales Council league
Division A: Adel v Farnley Hill; Baildon v Cookridge; Leeds Sikh v Halifax Direct; Pudsey Congs v Shipley Providence; Pudsey St Lawrence v New Wortley; Savile Stars v Tong Park Esholt.
Division B: Bradford Moor v Drighlington Whitehall; Cookridge B v Pudsey Congs B; Farsley v Thornbury.
Drakes Huddersfield League
Drakes Premiership: Barkisland v Scholes; Holmfirth v Golcar; Honley v Delph & Dobcross; Meltham v Elland; Shelley v Hoylandswaine; Shepley v Slaithwaite; Skelmanthorpe v Kirkburton.
Jedi Sports Championship: Almondbury Wes v Emley Clarence; Armitage Bridge v Lascelles Hall; Cawthorne v Marsden; Hall Bower v Broad Oak; Moorlands v Clayton West; Thongsbridge v Linthwaite.
Division 1: Bishop Thornton v Alne; Blubberhouses v Dacre Banks; Burton Leonard v Spofforth; Hampsthwaite v Killinghall; Helperby v Goldsborough; Pannal v Ouseburn.
Division 1: Fairburn v Hooton Pagnell; Frickley Colliery v Ackworth; Monk Bretton v Fishlake; Old Sharlston v Streethouse; South Kirkby v Wombwell Main; Stainborough v Nostell St Oswald.
Division 2: Crofton v Askwern Welfare; Hatfield Town v Hemsworth MW; Rothwell v Barnby Dun; Sandal v Knottingley Town; West Bretton v Allerton Bywater; Whitley Bridge v Featherstone Town.
Division 1: Bilton in Ainsty v Old Modernians; Kirk Deighton v Shadwell; Old Leodiensians v Great Preston; Scarcroft v Barwick in Elmet; Sicklinghall Wetherby; Walton v Shads Broomfield.
Division 2: Crossgates v Kirk Hammerton; Garforth PC v Ledsham; Hillam and Monk Fryston v East Keswick; Saxton v Church Fenton; Scholes v Whixley; Thorner Mexborough v South Milford.
York Senior League
Premier Division: Beverley Tn v York II; Clifton Alliance v Hull Zingari; Dunnington v Stamford Bridge; Easingwold v Sheriff Hutton Bridge; Studley Royal v Sewerby; Woodhouse Grange v Fenner.
Division 1: Bridlington v Folkton & Flixton; Driffiled II v Heworth; Malton & Old Malton v Acomb; Selby v Pickering; Sessay v Bolton Percy; Whitkirk v Goole Tn.
Yorkshire ECB League
Premier: Appleby Frodingham v Sheffield United; Barnsley v Sheffield Collegiate; Doncaster Town v Cleethorpes; Rotherham Town v Driffield Town; York Harrogate.