YORK CRICKET CLUB face a potentially defining week in their season - and it's still only May.

The Clifton Parkers travel to table-topping Harrogate in the Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier League knowing defeat will leave them with a mountain to climb in a bid to secure an eighth successive league title.

They then go to County Durham the following day to meet Chester-le-Street in the third round of the Royal London Club Championship - the latest name for the ECB National Club Cricket Championship.

York trail Harrogate by five points in the table and, having not lost since the opening day of the campaign to Yorkshire Academy, vice-captain Nick Kay is keen to keep that run going.

"It's quite a big game," he said. "You don't want to fall two or three games behind with the weather the way it is at the moment. We have put a run together and established ourselves right at the top of the league. We know it is a long season with a lot of games to play.

"You can look back at these games and say these could be the ones that help you go on to win the league. We are looking to stamp a bit of authority on the game. They are very quick out of the blocks - they obviously do the right things in pre-season - while we can be quite slow starters.

"Castleford did us a favour by beating them a fortnight ago and, if we can win, we will be top of the league and it will be all to play for having played the same amount of games as Harrogate and the Academy.

"We have put together some very good cricket and, when you play at Harrogate, you have got to perform. You can't carry anyone with the bat, ball or in the field but there is no-one I would want to swap in our team and, if we are at our best, we will take some beating."

York, winners of the National Club Cricket Championship two years ago, visit the 2009 victors in Chester-le-Street for a match Kay believes could be "one of the toughest games that we will play".

He added: "We are playing a team that have won the National competition in the last five years. It's an hour and a half journey up there and they will have home advantage. We are quietly confident. We will have a full side out but it is one of those games we could win or lose.

"We have lost to Chester-le-Street a couple of times. If we could win, and get home advantage in the regional final, it would set us up nicely for a run at it. This could be one of the toughest games that we will play. They are a very fine cricket team."

Jack Leaning has been called into Yorkshire's T20 and County Championship squad so Richard Love comes into the side tomorrow and overseas player Travis Ilka will open the bowling.

Chris Burn retains his place for the weekend, with Glen Richmond coming into the side on Sunday in place of Ilka, who is ineligible to play in the Royal London Club Championship. Otherwise, York are set to be unchanged from the side that beat Sheffield United by nine wickets on Bank Holiday Monday.