Big weekend in store for champions

Collingham v Rawdon Aire Wharfe League sat 9th july 2011'Four runs for Toby Jacklin of Collingham
Collingham v Rawdon Aire Wharfe League sat 9th july 2011'Four runs for Toby Jacklin of Collingham

Reigning league and cup champions Collingham and Linton face a major test of mettle this weekend, as they stay in the hunt to retain both their titles.

Sam Anderson’s troops first visit mercurial outfit Bilton in Division One on Saturday, before a showdown at home to old foes Burley in Sunday’s Waddilove Cup quarter-final.

With the season now at half-way, the Harewood Road skipper is well aware there’s a long way to go, but says this is a pivotal weekend as Collingham bid to stay in both races.

Otley inflicted a seven-wicket defeat upon the champions last weekend, and Anderson wants his squad to bounce back immediately.

“It’s been an interesting season so far and this is a massive weekend for us in the league and the cup,” he said.

“It could make or break our season.

“In terms of the double at the moment it’s not looking too likely.

“We’re fourth at the moment and Beckwithshaw are running away with it.

“But no season’s won at half-way, they’re the favourites but we just have to play well for the second half and hope they go on a bad run.”

Collingham’s batsmen struggled to post a score of their usual standard against Otley, achieving 149-8.

Otley pulled home at 152-4 in reply, Dave Girling claiming 2-32.

“Otley outplayed us, the toss is important but they just played better than we did on the day,” said Anderson.

“Toby’s coming into some good form with the bat, but nobody else really did well batting-wise.

“Everyone’s capable of scoring runs, but not everyone’s playing well at the same time at the moment and we really need to be doing that week after week.”

As far as tomorrow’s opponents are concerned, Anderson is waiting to see which Bilton turn up.

Chris Peareth’s troops are more than capable of inflicting a defeat but haven’t been consistent every week.

However, Collingham will arrive in Harrogate with a new secret weapon.

This week they acquired the signature of Bradford Leaguer Alex Hewitt, a front line bowler from Baildon.

“We never really know what to expect with Bilton,” said Anderson.

“They’re a side which can beat, or lose, to anyone, very up and down.

“They’ve done well against us recently but we’ll have a strong team out this weekend so hopefully we’ll get the points.

“Alex joining too gives us a bit more strength, he’s a bowling all-rounder and should make a difference to us in that area.”

On to Sunday and Collingham are determined to secure a Waddilove Cup semi-final berth, providing they can make it past Burley.

Anderson is hoping home advantage will give Collingham the edge.

“It’s a tough game, no doubt about it,” he said.

“It will be a big battle, but we’re at home so hopefully that will give us a bit of an advantage.

“Having said that, Burley hammered us at home earlier this year so they won’t make it easy.

“But we should have a strong side out, we’ll certainly be up for it as we want to keep our cup.”