The Bradford Premier League clubs have a distinct disadvantage when playing the Drakes Huddersfield League sides this weekend. Having started their season a week later they will take the field without the benefit of a league match under their belts.
The outstanding tie is at Albert Road where three times winners Woodlands take on the cream of the Drakes Huddersfield League in Hoylandswaine.
The visitors have made the Heavy Woollen Cup final on three successive occasions in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and lost each time. Their conquerors in 2015 and 2017 were Woodlands in keenly-contested matches, and they will doubtless look to take their revenge.
It could well be a baptism of fire for Woodlands new Kiwi batsman Bradley Schmulian, who will be keen to make a good impression on his debut.
Hoylandswaine have named a strong eleven with Durham’s Alex Lees included, and also Usman Arshad, Gurman Randhawa, Chris Holliday and Waqas Maqsood. Woodlands are at full strength apart from off spinner Kez Ahmed who is on tour with the MCC in Mexico.
Farsley make a welcome return to the competition and face Wrenthorpe, who dominated the competition a few years ago. The Red Laners might have lost James Wainman and Dan Hodgson this season, but have recruited well with Josh Poysden, Chris Beech and Ben Morley all signing on.
Current holders Hanging Heaton go to Shelley whom they faced in the same competition in 2012. That day, Shelley made 211-8 and Hanging Heaton won on a faster run rate after making 136-4 before rain stopped play.
Hanging Heaton has retained all of their trophy laden side with the addition of Callum Bethell from Whitley Hall.
Four-times winners Gomersal go to a much-strengthened Elland in what should be a difficult game. It is an early return by Liam Fletcher who transferred to Gomersal from their opponents in the close season.
Townville will be favourites to beat Birstall, despite the latter’s vastly-superior Heavy Woollen Cup record. With Townville’s skipper Jack Hughes now fully fit they could go a long way in this cup.
Beaten finalists last year, and winners in 2016, New Farnley should carry too many big guns for Crossbank Methodists. However, the Conference club has taken a liking for this competition, beating Rastrick and Cawthorne in recent years in what was considered big cup upsets at the time.
Methley, who are now skippered by Yorkshire’s Jared Warner, have an intriguing home match with South Yorkshire Premier League club Wickersley Old Village.
Ossett have strengthened considerably, but will find it tough against Shepley who won this trophy as recently as 2011.
Farsley v Wrenthorpe
Shelley v Hanging Heaton
Elland v Gomersal
Townville v Birstall,
New Farnley v Crossbank Methodists
Elsecar v Scholes (H/L)
Barkisland v Rastrick
Methley v Wickersley Old Village
Treeton v Cawthorne
Ossett v Shepley
Woodlands v Hoylandswaine
Byes: Whitley Hall. Barnsley Woolley Miners, Spen Victoria, Buttershaw St Paul’s, South Kirby
Top picture: Hoylandswaine have included Durham's Alex Lees is their side Picture:RaySpencer
Preview by Reg Nelson