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Darley's unbeaten record has come under fire in recent weeks and will get another big test this weekend when it makes one of the toughest trips in the Ballarat Cricket Association.
The Lions, which have been pushed in clashes with Buninyong, North Ballarat and Napoleons-Sebastopol but managed to get over the line in all of them, take on the second-placed Mt Clear.
Wicket-keeper/batsman Anthony Taylor got married last weekend and is the key inclusion for the top-of-the-table showdown.
Darley coach Brian Wheelahan said the club was looking forward to what would be a huge challenge against one of the first grade benchmark teams.
"We have enormous respect for East Ballarat, Golden Point and about four or five (teams) but you know you are going well when you can beat Mt Clear at Mt Clear, I guess," he said.
Mounties skipper Darcy Thomson is keen to take on the league pacesetters in a two-day fixture after the Lions got the result under one-day conditions back in round two.
"It will be a hard contest and it will be good to see how we stack up against the competition's best," Thomson said.
Thomson will be without Nathan Hucker, who is on Victorian duties at the National Indigenous Cricket Championships, but has recalled John Butler after a week away.
The other top four battle of the round pits Golden Point against Wendouree.
The third-placed Point has welcomed back key players Dan White and Peter Appleton for the big battle at the Eastern Oval, while the fourth-placed Red Caps are expected to go in unchanged.
In a season which has seen very little red ball cricket, there's no guarantees Saturday's opening day will be completed. Weather forecasts suggest heavy rain, which could force wash-outs across the region.
Reigning premiers East Ballarat will be out to break back into the top four when it hosts Buninyong at Russell Square.
The Hawks get back Chris Jerram from a few weeks away overseas, but are without fellow top-order batsman Brad Whittaker who is unavailable.
The Bunnies are set to take an undermanned side into the clash, with David Ellis nursing an injured knee and Bobby Hind away. Talented all-rounder Harli Givvens has also indicated that he won't be playing for the rest of the season.
Elsewhere in round 13, Brown Hill hosts Naps-Sebas and Ballarat-Redan is at home to North Ballarat.