Aire-Wharfe League: Otley title hopes are hanging by a thread after weekend wash-out

Otley captain Ben Morley hasn't given up on the title just yet.
Otley captain Ben Morley hasn't given up on the title just yet.
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captain Ben Morley says his Otley side have not abandoned hope of pipping Beckwithshaw to the 2017 Aire Wharfe League title despite seeing the rain wash their destiny out of their hands.

Second-placed Otley and league leaders Beckwithshaw were set to lock horns in a likely title decider at Killinghall Road on Saturday but continued rain meant no play was possible at the home of Beckwithshaw.

With both sides picking up three points each as a result of the cancellation, last season’s runners-up Otley still trail defending champions ’Shaw by 12 points with just one game to go.

Otley’s destiny is now out of their hands with Morley’s men hosting sixth-placed Guiseley this Saturday in their season finale as Beckwithshaw travel to third-bottom North Leeds.

With 20 points available, eight points would guarantee ’Shaw the title and North Leeds are already safe from the drop.

The scales are tipped firmly in the favour of last season’s champions but Morley is clinging to the hope that North Leeds could spring an upset.

“North Leeds have turned over some good sides this year and hopefully they can do it again,” said the Otley skipper.

“They have got some good players in their side and I’m not giving up hope yet.

“There’s every chance they can turn up and beat them on Saturday but we shall see.

“There’s still a chance and we’ve just got to turn up on Saturday and get as many points as we can and hope that North Leeds turn up and do us a favour on Beckwithshaw.”

Only one top-flight game was completed at the weekend as Guiseley recorded a 59-run success at home to already relegated bottom side Colton Institute.

Morley admits there was zero chance of any play at Beckwithshaw – for the second year running.

“You can’t control the weather,” admitted the Otley skipper.

“The ground wasn’t fit and there was nothing that anyone could have done about it.

“There’s nothing we can do about it and that’s just the way it is unfortunately.

“It’s a shame we have not had a competitive game for a couple of years up at Beckwithshaw.

“We’ll just have to keep waiting for the sun to shine.”

Beckwithshaw now look poised to shine in the glory of a second successive title, one year on after pipping Otley to the post by just three points in 2016.

Morley knows ’Shaw could technically lose to North Leeds and still win the league if achieving enough bonus points but the captain is determined to focus only on his side’s final task at hand.

Morley reasoned: “You can get 20 points maximum so they would need eight to guarantee it and technically they could get beat and do it if they picked up enough bonus points.

“We just try and play for maximum points every week so will play as hard as we always do and hopefully we can pick up the points.

“And I’m not looking at the weather – we’ll wait until Saturday for that one!”

n All six games in Division One of the Wetherby Cricket League were abandoned on the penultimate weekend of the 2017 season as heavy rainfall decimated last Saturday’s fixture list.

Rock-bottom Headingley Bramhope made it to 48-2 at South Milford and Old Leodiensians were 6-0 at Rufforth before the weather brought about early conclusions.

No play at all was possible in any of the other scheduled fixtures.

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