Halifax-Huddersfield union seniors start their campaign against Teesside at Cleveland on Sunday.
Frank Greaves’s side lost only to champions Sheffield in 2018 and finished runners-up in the Yorkshire Inter-District League.
Greaves is wary about the opening test, recalling that two years ago Teesside were bottom when they beat his side. “This will be a tricky start,” he said.
Cleveland hosted the County Championship in 2017 and many of the team have played there.
Union match play champion James Edwards, Adam Robinson, Steve Martin and Chris Lander are unavailable.
Team: Josh Morton, Harry Mowl (Huddersfield), Tom Calvert (Crosland Heath), Matthew Colcombe (Longley Park), Matthew Holden (Lightcliffe), Mark Birkett (Halifax), Josh McAspurn, Tom Hunt (Meltham), Sam Bridges, Mark Brayshaw (Bradley Hall), Ben Crowther (Dewsbury District), Scot Minto (Hanging Heaton).