Aire-Wharfe League: Thriving Otley are in with a shot at title

Rob Carlill

Rob Carlill

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Otley continued their fine start to the 2014 Aire Wharfe season with a thumping 78-run win over Kirkstall on Saturday, writes Forrest Hamilton.

The thriving side could fancy their title chances, and, after 21 years. chairman Chris Smith admits such a trophy is certainly due.

Despite mustering just 152 on Saturday, captain James Davies leading the way with 40, Otley blew Kirkstall away for 74 thanks to an inspired spell of bowling from James Wilcox, who finished with figures of 7-29.

Chairman Smith beamed: “It was a very good win.

“At half-time I thought 152 would take some defending.

“We played some really loose shots but we got stuck into them and bowled superbly well, James Wilcox in particular.

“It looks very open this season.

“Most clubs have strengthened and there are no easy games, everyone is capable.

On Otley’s start to the season, Smith added: “We scraped by Rawdon in the first game but we’ve bowled out sides for less than 100 in the two games since then.

“We’re bowling pretty well, it’s just the batting that needs to come good now.

“It’s a very difficult competition.

“It would be nice to win a trophy, we haven’t won one since 1993 and we’ll certainly be doing our utmost.”

Elsewhere in Division One, promoted Ilkley remain at the top after a tense one wicket win over Rawdon.

Chris Gill (52) was the only significant contributor for Rawdon as they were bowled out for 130, Ilkley made hard work of the chase as Andrew Doidge took 4-31, but eventually scraped over the line.

2013 Champions Beckwithshaw returned to winning ways with a comfortable 30 run win over Pool, Yasir Ali (61) led ‘Shaw to 212 all out, Ben Platt taking 5-73.

Pool never seriously threatened to chase down the runs as Stuart Hudson took 5-36 and Pool finished on 182-9.

Ben Rhydding remain winless as their frustrating start to the season continued at Steeton, despite Lewis Bolton making a 37 ball 57 at the top of the order, Rhydding stuttered to 211, Jake Emmott taking 6-54.

Steeton suffered an early scare as they were reduced to 9-2 but Andrew Foulds (57) and Neil Spragg (48) ensured they chased the runs down with two wickets in hand.

Burley looked set to inflict a third defeat on Collingham but collapsed to a surprising four run defeat, Ed Brown continued his good form as he made 63 in reply to the home side’s 171.

Nick Brook was going well until he was trapped lbw by Ed Broadley at 146-5.

Jason Wright was run out six balls later with only one run added, and the tail was polished off with Burley still needing four to win. Guiseley cruised to an eight wicket win over Bilton, Marcus Brown took 4-26 as Bilton were bowled out for 81, Guiseley careered home in just 15.3 overs thanks to 52 not out from Brian Jackson.

Follifoot stayed top of Division Two as Nick Robinson hit 113 and Alex Fox followed up his 4-59 with 50 not out to see Follifoot home by seven wickets in their chase of 229.

North Leeds remain hot on the heels of Follifoot as they cruised past Skipton by 37 runs on Saturday.

Farhan Khan hit a quickfire 70 and Jack Burke starred with the ball, taking 5-45.

Mike Abbott scored 105 as Green Lane beat Tong Park Esholt by 93 runs.

Oliver Hardaker smashed 160, with 11 sixes, as Division Three favourites Horsforth racked up 318-5 against Addingham, eventually winning by 152 runs.

Was it worth it?: Gary Ballance, who will lead Yorkshire this summer, lifting the County Championship trophy at Lords in 2015.  (Picture: PA)

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