AS DOUBLE-HEADERS go, this weekend does not get much bigger for Hanging Heaton.
The Batley-based outfit lock horns with Bradford League top-flight champions Cleckheaton at Bennett Lane tomorrow before another big home assignment in the second round of the Heavy Woollen Cup against holders Pudsey Congs 24 hours later.
Skipper Gary Fellows certainly does not need to be told twice about the seismic importance of this weekend either and rates it as their biggest of the campaign thus far.
The former Yorkshire player said: “I would say it’s the biggest of the season so far.
“We are out of the Priestley Cup and have been a bit up and down in the league and Cleckheaton have been the benchmark for the past few years along with Woodlands.
“Everyone who has any aspirations of winning the league have to beat these sides, especially Cleckheaton.
“For us, it’s not necessarily to win it, but to be in contention going into the last four or five games, you have got to match and face these teams and take points off them.
“There are four or five very good sides and two or three beneath that and that’s the strength of the Bradford League.
“Cleckheaton have scored a lot of runs in the past few weeks as well and the lads at the top of the order are batting well and they also bat a long way down, while with the ball, they have the likes of Iain Wardlaw.”
The Tewits produced the perfect way to head into this weekend’s acid test by way of an eye-catching seven-wicket win over Congs six days ago, when the runs truly flowed at the Britannia Ground.
A splendid unbeaten 123 from Nick Connolly spearheaded Heaton’s outstanding run chase, while Fellows contributed a meaty 73 to help the visitors home at 249-3 with just over seven overs to spare after the hosts opened with a presentable 248-4.
It represented a psychological fillip ahead of their cup meeting at Bennett Lane on Sunday and has boosted confidence levels for Fellows’ side, who had previously come up agonisingly short against several leading sides thus far this term.
Fellows added: “We passed the target with ease and that has boosted confidence and to beat a side like Pudsey Congs sets it up nicely.
“We have had two or three games this season where we have come off the pitch thinking that we could and should have won.
“There were some tight finishes against Pudsey St Lawrence and Bradford and Bingley as well and we were a bit disappointed with coming out on the wrong side.
“So it was nice to get a good win away from home against a good side.”
Elsewhere in Division One tomorrow, Pudsey St Lawrence, 25 points clear, welcome Bradford and Bingley. Second-placed Woodlands host Undercliffe.
New Farnley welcome Pudsey Congs and Farsley will be hoping to back up last weekend’s victory over East Bierley with another win, at Saltaire.
Division Two frontrunners Morley welcome struggling Idle, with nearest challengers Scholes visiting Windhill.
Spen Victoria and Hartshead Moor host Baildon and Gomersal respectively.
Yeadon visit rock-bottom Keighley.
CUPS take centre stage on Sunday and putting a piece of choice silverware in the cabinet assumes considerable importance for the likes of New Farnley.
The West Leeds side play host to Huddersfield League outfit Skelmanthorpe in a round two clash in the Heavy Woollen Cup at Lawns Lane, with the victors travelling to Central Yorkshire League side Townville in the quarter-finals.
Having reached the HW final in 2013 when they lost to Hanging Heaton in the showpiece, Farnley are seeking to go one better, having assembled a team of proven operators in the likes of Mark Lawson, James Middlebrook and Lee Goddard.
A week on Sunday, Farnley are also in Priestley Cup action at home to Yeadon and the next two Sunday’s are major ones in terms of their 2015 campaign.
Secretary Neil Stokoe said: “You want a good cup run. You probably get more kudos out of winning the Priestley Cup or the Heavy Woollen Cup than you would if you win the league, actually.
“Everyone remembers the teams who win the cups.”
Admitting Skelmanthorpe represent an unknown quantity, he added: “It is a bit like the old West Riding Cup in football. You would be drawn against a team out of Huddersfield and you didn’t know what you were going to get.”
Elsewhere in the HW Cup, Gomersal and Methley welcome Delph and Dobcross and Kirkburton respectively. Woodlands host Wakefield Thornes in a last-eight clash.
CYL action on Saturday sees Premier leaders Methley visit Mirfield PC, while Ossett – six points in arrears – have a derby at home to Wakefield Thornes.
Townville entertain Carlton, while Wrenthorpe are at home to Batley.
Aire-Wharfe League leaders Beckwithshaw welcome Rawdon and Otley make the trip to Ilkley.
Division 1:Beckwithshaw v Rawdon; Bilton v Collingham; Follifoot v Steeton; Guiseley v Burley; Ilkley v Otley; North Leeds v Kirkstall.
Division 2: Adel v Green Lane; Horsforth v Ben Rhydding; Knaresborough v Colton; Pool v Illingworth; Skipton v Tong Park Esholt; Thackley v Harden.
Division 3: Alwoodley v Addingham; Bardsey v Olicanian; Calverley v Hall Park; Old Modernians v New Rover; Silsden v Menston; Upper Wharfedale v Bolton Villas.
Division 1: East Bierley v Lightcliffe; Hanging Heaton v Cleckheaton; New Farnley v Pudsey Congs; Pudsey St Lawrence v Bradford & Bingley; Saltaire v Farsley; Woodlands v Undercliffe.
Division 2: Bowling Old Lane v Bankfoot; Hartshead Moor v Gomersal; Keighley v Yeadon; Morley v Idle; Spen Victoria v Bildon; Windhill v Scholes.
CENTRAL YORKSHIRE LEAGUE
Premier Division: Buttershaw SP v Altofts; Hunslet Nelson v Birstall; Mirfield PC v Methley; Ossett v Wakefield Th; Townville v Carlton; Wrenthorpe v Batley.
Championship: Azaad v Hopton Mills; Caribbean v Northowram F; East Ardsley v Oulton; Wakefield SM v Liversedge.
CRAVEN & DISTRICT LEAGUE
Division 1: Bingley Congs v Haworth Road; Oakworth v Sutton; Ingrow St John’s v Chatburn; Haworth v Foulridge; Riddlesden v Embsay; Barrowford v Crossflatts.
DALES COUNCIL LEAGUE
Division A: Bradford Moor v Thornbury; Cookridge v Leeds Sikh; Farnley Hill v Savile Stars; New Wortley v Shipley Prov; Pudsey Congs v Halifax Direct; Tong Park Esholt v Pudsey St Lawrence.
Division B: Adel v Cookridge B; Baildon v Drighlington; Farsley v Morley; Woodhouse v Crompark.
Division 1: Burton Leonard v Killinghall; Pannal v Newby Hall; Helperby v Alne; Darley v Blubberhouses; Bishop Thornton v Hampsthwaite; Ouseburn v Spofforth.
Division 2: Scotton v Studley Royal 2nds; Pateley Br v Dacre Banks; Birstwith v Lofthouse & Middlesmoor; West Tanfield v Knaresborough F; Ripon 2nds v Ripley; Masham v Goldsborough.
Division 1: Ackworth v Old Sharlston; Askern Welfare v South Kirkby; Fairburn v Nostell St Oswald; Fishlake v Streethouse; Hooton Pagnell v West Bretton; Monk Bretton v Frickley Colliery.
Division 2: Barnby Dun v Featherstone Town; Crofton v Allerton Bywater; Glass Houghton v Hemsworth MW; Hatfield Town v Brook-Walton; Rothwell v Knottingley Town; Stainborough v Sandal.
Division 1: Bilton in Ainsty v Church Fenton; Garforth Parish Church v Old Leodiensians; Kirk Deighton v Barwick in Elmet; Scarcroft v Wetherby; Shadwell v Sicklinghall; St Chads Broomfield v Scholes.
Division 2: East Keswick v Kirk Hammerton; Headingley Bramhope v Ledsham; Hillam and Monk Fryston v Rufforth; Long Marston v Crossgates; Saxton v St Chads Broomfield A; Thorner Mexborough v South Milford.
YORK SENIOR LEAGUE
Premier Division: Beverley Town v Sheriff Hutton Bridge; Dunnington v Heworth; Easingwold v Clifton Alliance; Hull Zingari v Acomb; Scarborough v York II; Studley Royal v Fenner; Woodhouse Grange v Stamford Bridge.
YORKSHIRE ECB LEAGUE
Barnsley v Yorkshire Acad; Cleethorpes v Doncaster; Harrogate v Rotherham Sheffield Collegiate v Castleford; Sheffield Utd v Driffield Town; York v Hull.
AIRE WHARFE LEAGUE
Waddilove Cup, round 2: Addingham v Horsforth, Beckwithshaw v Burley, Ben Rhydding v Olicanian, Bilton v North Leeds, Calverley v Thackley, Colliingham v Follifoot, Old Modernians v Ilkley, Otley v Adel.
Dyson Skidmore Trophy, round 2: South Kirkby v Fishlake; Old Sharlston v Fairburn; Crofton v West Bretton; Glass Houghton v Hemsworth MW; Stainborough v Monk Bretton; Streethouse v Askern Welfare; Ackworth v Hooton Pagnell; Brook-Walton v Rothwell.
Heavy Woollen Cup
Round 2: Methley v Kirkburton, New Farnley v Skelmanthorpe, Hanging Heaton v Pudsey Congs, Gomersal v Delph & Dobcross.