A RECORD number of 34 teams have entered the Upper Airedale Junior Cricket Association’s Black Rat Festival.

It will be held at Skipton and Skipton CI’s grounds on Sunday, June 21, with 12 teams entered at both the under-11 and under-13 age groups and 10 at under-nines.

In fact, so attractive is the festival that there is a reserve list, with Upper Wharfedale and Settle on a waiting list for the under-13s and Settle likewise at under-11s.

The upward trend has been mirrored in the league, with 63 teams confirmed for this season, an increase of 11 despite the withdrawal of Wilsden.

A total of 362 league matches have been scheduled - the highest total since 2015.

There will be two conferences at both under-11s and under-13s, with the under-15s and under-18s each running one division.

Under-11 teams will have 12 fixtures as will the Under-13 North Conference sides, but the South Conference teams will have only 10.

Under-nine teams will also have 12 fixtures in a lengthy campaign that begins on April 19 and finishes on August 23, with some clubs preferring an earlier start to the season and others a later one.

If clubs are tied on points for a league championships it will be decided by net run-rate.

Cup matches will generally be played on a Monday, with the exception of under-nines (Fridays), while the under-18s have opted for a T20 format with coloured clothing after a proposal by Oakworth.

Settle will host the under-11 (10am) and under-15 (2pm) cup finals on Sunday, June 28, and Upper Wharfedale the under-nines (9.30am), under-13s (noon) and under-17s (3pm) cup finals on Sunday, July 5.

Trials for the under-10, under-11, under-12 and under-13 UAJCA representative teams will be held on Sunday, April 19 at South Craven School.

Trial details for under-15s and under-17s have yet to be announced.

Overseas visitors Turf India from New Delhi will face the UAJCA in three matches on Friday, June 19 - at Wilsden (under-10s), Harden (under-12s) and Bingley Congs (under-13s) - while the UAJCA will also host a Lord’s Taverner’s under-13 semi-final on Thursday, July 30 (11am) at a venue to be decided.