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Top two face off for Yorkshire Cricket League glory
SKIPPER Dan Woods is confident leaders York can cope with the pressure of a Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier Cricket League title showdown with Harrogate.
Bidding for a record sixth successive league crown, reigning champions York head into tomorrow’s Clifton Park head-to-head with a four-point advantage over their unbeaten visitors.
The season comes to a close on Sunday, when York host Sheffield Collegiate and Harrogate travel to Barnsley.
A York victory tomorrow would render the final round of fixtures meaningless, but a Harrogate win would set up a grandstand finish to the campaign.
Woods’ men fought back from 14 points behind to overhaul Harrogate and the captain, in his first year in charge, is calling for his side to finish the job in style.
“There is always pressure if you want to be a good team and want to be successful,” said former Lancashire second-teamer Woods.
“I don’t know who is under more pressure, us or Harrogate. It is just a game of cricket and we will be doing everything we can to win it.
“We’ve played a lot of good cricket recently, but we’ve also been very lucky with the weather having bemoaned it at the start of the season.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work and effort to get into this position. To sit back on Bank Holiday Monday late last month and realise we were top of the league was a really good feeling. But we’ve not achieved anything yet. We realise there is a lot of hard work still to do.
“We are confident, but we also know that Harrogate are a fantastic team. Whoever wins will probably win the league, so it should be a fantastic game.”
Woods is the league’s leading wicket-taker with 55 victims, four ahead of Harrogate’s former Yorkshire all-rounder Vic Craven.
Identifying Craven as Harrogate’s dangerman, Woods said: “Vic Craven seems to be their stand-out player. If you look at the stats, he’s been unreal.
“They’ve also got an experienced captain in Ryan Bradshaw and we owe them a lot of respect. We know they will take a lot of beating, but we are excited about the challenge.
“I remember last year we played Rotherham late in the season and while that didn’t decide the title we knew whoever won would go on to win the league. We managed to win it and hopefully that experience will help us.”
Woods added that “everyone is fit and raring to go” as he confirmed batsman Simon Lambert would replace bowler Jake Murphy tomorrow.
That move is designed to strengthen the middle order, with Murphy unfortunate to miss out having claimed 6-49 in last weekend’s win at Cleethorpes.
However, Murphy is on standby to return to the side on Sunday with spinner Tom Pringle being monitored as he is still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury.
York opener Duncan Snell heads into the weekend 29 short of 1,000 league runs for the season.
• York are taking a supporters’ coach to the ECB National Club Championship final against Wanstead & Snaresbrook at Derbyshire’s County Ground on Sunday, September 16 (11am).
Further information for anyone interested in travelling to the game is available by phoning club secretary Nick Kay on 07815 809596.