WAKEFIELD Thornes will hope to step up their bid to be crowned CYL champions for the first time when they play title rivals Townville and Methley in their next two matches.
Thornes aim to avenge two defeats at Townville earlier this season when they host them on Saturday and they visit leaders Methley the following weekend.
With four matches remaining, Methley are just one point ahead of Townville, with Thornes a further five points adrift in third place in a wide-open championship race.
Methley, Townville and Mirfield Parish Cavaliers will represent CYL in the Yorkshire Council Championship first round on Sunday.
Methley and Townville play Pontefract League teams South Kirkby and Ackworth respectively and fourth-placed Cavaliers, who have taken Thornes’ place in the competition, visit South Yorkshire League Treeton.
If Townville and Methley win, they meet in the semi-finals at Poplar Avenue the following Sunday.
Methley completed the first leg of a potential league and cup double by retaining the Jack Hampshire Trophy with Sunday’s eight-wicket victory over Birstall in the final at Ossett.
Openers Richard Foster (94) and Marcus Walmsley (44) put on 152 as Methley comfortably overhauled Birstall’s 169-6 that included 69 by Eric Austin. Foster was also outstanding the previous day, hitting an unbeaten 85 off 81 balls as Methley eased to a nine-wicket win over Scholes.
But Methley failed to collect maximum points because they were unable to bowl out Scholes and Townville cut the gap by picking up six points against Altofts.
Jack Hughes (4-18) and Ritchie Bresnan (3-12) toppled Altofts for 162 and openers Matt Bremner (49) and Jonathan Booth (44) shared a century stand as Townville knocked off the runs.
An unbroken 136-run partnership between Wrenthorpe’s Joe Ellis (90no) and Jordan Sleighholme (71no) was in vain in a five-wicket defeat against Thornes.
Ossett’s in-form opener Shoaib Latif, the Premiership’s top scorer, took his total to 834 runs by hammering his fourth century of the season with a superb 136 in Saturday’s five wicket win at strugglers Hopton Mills.
Hopton are nine points adrift of third bottom Birstall who boosted their chances of avoiding relegation when Joe Woodhouse (61) guided them to a four-wicket success at Carlton.
Bottom team Hunslet Nelson slipped deeper into trouble when they lost to Mirfield Parish Cavaliers, for whom Nazar Hussain hit 46 and snapped up 5-22.
Batley are making a swift return to the top flight after relegation last season.
They need just two points from their last three matches to be certain of being promoted as champions after increasing their lead in the Championship to 17 points with Saturday’s win against East Ardsley, who were routed for 74 by Fawad Maqsood (4-31) and Tariq Hussain (3-31).
Batley completed a successful weekend by beating Liversedge in the Supplementary Yorkshire Council Championship first round the next day.
Batley, who won the competition in 2005, visit South Yorkshire League Conisbrough in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Buttershaw St Paul’s, who host Sheffield Collegiate in the other semi-final after trouncing Pontefract League Askern, are making a late bid to snatch promotion with seven wins in their last eight matches.
Saturday’s 22-run victory over Oulton put Buttershaw just one point behind second-placed Liversedge who lost at Northowam Fields.
Last season’s Division Two champions Azaad are poised to lift the Division One title after beating Rodley by 127 runs.