JACK Leaning hopes that a spell in the middle for York will help his preparation for Yorkshire’s County Championship clash at Middlesex.

The County regular will play for York against Acomb in Yorkshire Premier League North tomorrow before linking-up with Yorkshire for the trip to Lords on Monday.

He will be joined by Yorkshire team-mate Matthew Waite who is currently on a high after making his first class county debut in last week’s three-run victory over Somerset.

“Personally, I would rather play league cricket and hit a ball out in the middle than practice in the nets,” he said. “So this weekend’s game is a chance for me to get some competitive action in before hopefully playing at Lords.”

Leaning, the son of former York City goalkeeper Andy, has been a Yorkshire regular for four seasons now but has always been happy to keep playing for his ‘local team’ too.

And it was Leaning, 23, who also persuaded all-rounder Waite to join the club this season.

“I really enjoy playing for York and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Matthew and I are mates so I chatted him to about joining York and told him about the set-up and how we played. It was nice to get him on board.”

With York currently top of the table in the YPLN and Yorkshire hot on the heels of leaders Essex in the County Championship, Leaning could yet be involved in two title winning campaigns.

“We are doing well at Yorkshire and we are only a few points off the top of the Championship which is a good position to be in at this time of year,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we lost to Surrey this week ( in the Royal London one day cup) but all credit to them because they out-performed us in all areas.

“We are playing some great cricket at York, too, and the lads are gelling really well so I think we will definitely be challenging for the title.”

Leaning has no doubts that Waites, only 21, possesses the qualities to go a long way in the game.

“He has performed really well and I was glad to see him getting his opportunity for Yorkshire. He deserved his chance and to help us win by three runs was great. He is a fantastic player, very strong mentally, and he has a bright future in the game.100 per cent.”

York’s two main rivals for the YPLN title are reigning champions Harrogate and Yorkshire Academy.

Harrogate dropped to third in the table last weekend when their home game against struggling Hull was abandoned due to rain. That allowed Academy, who beat Clifton Alliance by five wickets, to move level on points with York who had a winning draw against Scarborough.

Harrogate will be looking to make up lost ground and inflict a sixth consecutive defeat on Clifton Alliance who are just outside the relegation zone.

Academy entertain Sheriff Hutton Bridge who have moved up to fifth on the back of a rich vein of form Fourth placed Stamford Bridge play host to bottom-of-the-table Easingwold while Woodhouse Grange play Driffield Town and Scarborough take on Hull.