Aire-Wharfe League: Champions Otley prove too strong for brave Tong Park

Division Three leaders Old Modernians were able to celebrate after beating New Rover by seven runs thanks to
 Johnny Wiggan, pictured, who bowled the last over in which he conceded only three runs to win the game.
Division Three leaders Old Modernians were able to celebrate after beating New Rover by seven runs thanks to Johnny Wiggan, pictured, who bowled the last over in which he conceded only three runs to win the game.
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Otley are once again Waddilove Cup champions after defeating brave Tong Park Esholt.

Otley were determined to defend their Waddilove Cup crown at the weekend but were confronted by third division side Tong Park Esholt, who had been on a great run to get to the final and were dreaming of another cup upset.

However, Otley showed their class and just why they are top of Division One as they set 376-3, breaking a record for the final which they set themselves two years ago.

Otley did lose an early wicket but Ben Morley’s 52 and a brilliant 254 third-wicket stand between Jamie Pickering (154*) and captain James Davies (145) set Tong Park the near-impossible target of 377 to win.

Tong Park’s reply was in trouble from the start after Davies picked up a wicket in the opening over and, despite a little resurgence to 67-3, Tong Park continued to lose wickets at regular intervals and eventually fell on 186 after 36 overs.

Otley’s Ricky Hollaran (3-19) and Nicky Bullock (3-41) did the most damage with the ball.

“Obviously we were clear favourites with us being top of the league and them being in the third division, but they’ve got some good players and we were never expecting just to turn up and cruise to it,” said Otley chairman Chris Smith.

“We batted as we can bat and we took them apart really and the game was really over at that point and it was a thoroughly professional job.

“We bowled reasonably well and they had a spirited go at it in the second half but you aren’t going to chase 377 down in 45 overs, whoever you are.

“I’m especially proud of the team; we’re having a good spell at the cricket club and, as the captain said in his speech, we have six cup finals to go as it’s going to be very tight in the league.

“I don’t think any team between ourselves, Beckwithshaw and Burley can afford to lose more than one game in the league between now and the end. I’m confident with the bunch of players we’ve got that we have a good chance (to win the league).”

The Airedale and Wharefdale first division was also in full flow at the weekend with all teams in action.

Otley retained their 13-point gap at the top to cap off a great week after they comfortably dispatched Bilton by nine wickets.

Bilton were bowled out for just 59 with Davies taking figures of 7-26.

Otley’s reply was comfortable, losing just one wicket and taking only six overs to reach 50.

Beckwithshaw remain Otley’s closest rivals after they too won comprehensively, beating Steeton by 206-runs.

Burley are a further 13 points off the lead after they beat Horsforth by 51-runs to all but end Horsforth’s title challenge.

It promises to be a thrilling end to the season with Otley still having to play their two closest rivals away from home before the season is over.

Away from the title chase, Kirkstall Educational look destined for the drop after they lost by four wickets to Collingham.

Pool, meanwhile, continued their inspired run of form, beating North Leeds by just seven runs.

And, to wrap things up in Division One, Ilkley beat Rawdon by six wickets.

Ralph Middlebrook.

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