YORK captain Dan Woods has credited the strength of the Hunters ECB Yorkshire Premier League North for his own team’s run of indifferent results in July.

The Clifton Park outfit, last year’s title winners and county champions for eight of the nine years between 2007 and 2015, unusually claimed just two winning draws from their six fixtures last month.

That modest return also included cup defeats on back-to-back weekends against Woodhouse Grange - tomorrow’s hosts in a top-of-the-table clash.

Woodhouse, who have won seven of their last eight contests, overcame York in the Hunters T20 Blast final and then in the quarter-finals of the Yorkshire League Knock Out Cup.

Other results, meanwhile, saw Stamford Bridge get the better of Woods’ men in a winning draw after Harrogate had secured victory at Clifton Park.

Rather than criticise his own team’s performances, though, Woods feels his team’s patchy July is more indicative of the league’s rising standards.

“It’s a very strong league and we’re playing a good standard of cricket against a lot of good teams,” he reasoned.

“We’re still top of the league at the moment, which is great and we’ve got to keep enjoying our cricket and keep doing our best to see where that takes us.”

York hold a slender five-point advantage over Grange going into the Sandhill Lane showdown and Woods is full of respect for the home side, whilst also stressing that the title is far from a two-horse race this term.

He added: “Woodhouse are having a very good season.

“They’ve got a lot of good players and are captained very well by James Finch.

“They are a really strong cricket club and it’s one of the games we really look forward to playing.

“It’s a different format and a league game rather than a cup tie, but we’ve had two really good games against them.

“It’s not just us and Woodhouse fighting for the league though. There’s Stamford Bridge and Sheriff Hutton Bridge as well and there are no easy games.”

All-rounder Jonny Moxon is unavailable for York this weekend and bowler Guy Darwin is another absentee, having broken his finger, leading to likely playing promotions from within the club, whose second team are currently competing chasing Dunnington at the top of the Hunters League premier division table

“We haven’t confirmed the team yet, but it will be a young side and there will be some lads coming up from the seconds, so it will be a good experience for them and us,” Woods explained.

Elsewhere, third-placed Stamford Bridge will know they can make ground on at least one of their championship rivals with a victory at Castleford.

Sheriff Hutton Bridge, in fourth spot, will also be hoping to make inroads at the top when they host second-bottom Sessay.

Bottom club Acomb’s search for a first victory of the campaign will see them host a Harrogate side looking to claw themselves away from the lower reaches.