Aire-Wharfe League: Top two to lock horns in decisive showdown

The covers came on for the abandoned Aire-Wharfe clash between Rawdon and North Leeds - a familiar sight last Saturday. PIC: Steve Riding
The covers came on for the abandoned Aire-Wharfe clash between Rawdon and North Leeds - a familiar sight last Saturday. PIC: Steve Riding
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Division One is set for a title showdown at the weekend as top two Beckwithshaw and Otley lock horns.

There are only two games left but there is still a lot to be decided across the three divisions.

Firstly, the Division One title race is set to go down to the wire between Otley and Beckwithshaw as both teams won comfortably last weekend to set up a possible decider on Saturday.

Beckwithshaw had the harder match on paper at the weekend as they took on fourth-placed Horsforth. But Beckwithshaw showed their title credentials as they ran out comfotable winners by eight wickets.

This came after they bowled Horsforth out after just 23 overs, conceding 64-runs. Istikhar Hussain took 7-32 in the proccess. In reply Alex Lilley’s 39 not out led Beckwithshaw to victory after 10 overs.

Otley also stayed on course to retain their title as they dispatched bottom side Kirkstall Educational in similar fashion after James Davies’ 5-34 helped restrict Kirkstall to just 82-runs. Otley secured an eight-wicket victory after chasing down the total in 11 overs.

The result means Beckwithshaw carry a slim two-point lead going into Saturday’s showdown when they’ll be hosting Otley.

Elsewhere in Division One, Kirkstall’s defeat all but confirmed their relegation, but Steeton gave themselves some hope as they took victory in a close match against Collingham.

Steeton defended their 173 total by eight-runs thanks to the bowling efforts of Paul Hardwick, Stephen Pearson and Josh Gill. The result means Steeton still need to win their remaining two fixtures to avoid relegation.

Pool look like they could be set for a top-four finish as they continued their fine form by beating Bilton by five wickets.

Burley have also had another strong campaign and look set to finish third after the beat Ilkley by 65-runs.

Division Two will be without Colton Institute next season as they confirmed their promotion at the weekend following a five-wicket victory over Harden.

David Wright shone with the ball as the league leaders restricted bottom-of-the-table Harden to 149. In reply, Danny Wilbor led the way with 63 as Colton finally booked their place in Division One.

Colton are likely to be joined by Guiseley, who are 37-points clear of third-placed Knaresborough after Guiseley were denied confirming their promotion after their game against Folifoot was abandoned.

Elsewhere in Division Two, Illingworth’s hopes of survival took a knock as they lost by eight wickets to Addingham.

Third-bottom Thackley were unable to capitalise, however, after they were unable to chase down Calverley St Wilfrid’s relatively small target of 103-runs.

Division Three’s race for promotion is also set to go down to the last game of the season with five teams still in contention for promotion.

Horsforth Hall Park are the favourites after they beat their closest rivals Leeds Modernians by seven wickets at the weekend.

However, Tong Park Esholt’s comprehensive victory over Alwoodley has kept them right in contention.

And Green Lane are still in touching distance despite their game at the weekend being abandoned.

WETHERBY LEAGUE

Bilton-in-Ainsty ensured the Wetherby League title race was not done and dusted by closing the gap to leaders Kirk Deighton on a rain-affected weekend.

With three matches left to play, Deighton hold a 13-point advantage at the top and will secure a maiden championship with a home win over Shadwell this Saturday. However, the trophy would have already been at Mark Lane had Deighton reached 20 overs in their clash at South Milford on Saturday.

Rain clouds caused for disruption throughout the contest and when the players eventually got onto the field, Milford made an under-par 123-7 batting first, with Ben White unbeaten on 42. Deighton were charging towards the target on 68-2 when rain dampened the league leaders’ mood.

Bilton took full advantage of Deighton’s misfortune as unbroken half centuries by Luke Schumann (63no) and Tim Lambert (50no) took them to a seven-wicket win over Garforth Parish Church.

Garforth had made a competitive 177-2 in the first innings, with James Stockton (72) and Luke Walker (49no) impressing. Shadwell’s home match against neighbours Scarcroft was the only other top tier game to reach a climax with the hosts claiming a six-wicket win. Long-term title contenders Scarcroft batted first but were ripped apart by Tariq Muhammad’s spell of 6-28 and were dismissed for 90. Muhammad added 27 not out as the hosts won by six wickets.

Bottom side Church Fenton require maximum points from the last three games to have any chance of survival after their clash against Barwick-in-Elmet was rained in the second innings. Barwick had been bowled out for just 90 in the opening knock but Fenton were struggling on 19-4 when the rain halted play. St Chad’s Broomfield required just 40 more runs to beat out of form Hillam and Monk Fryston when the weather interrupted.

Jai Mistry’s three wickets bowled Hillam out for 113 but the hosts were saved by the rain, with Chad’s poised on 74-3.

Old Leodiensians bagged five points as the rain rules played in their favour at home to Sicklinghall. Defending a highly competitive 183-3, Leos reduced Sicklinghall to 98-6 when rain intervened – with ‘Hall under the required 4.8 per over run rate.

Rain also had its say in the Division Two promotion race as Rufforth sealed a return to the top tier for the first time in more than 20 years.

The league leaders came off for rain two overs before the 2016 rain rules kicked in against Headingley Bramhope, whilst in a precarious position.

Having conceded 169-8 in 34 overs to the visitors, Rufforth were short of the required run-rate on 65-3 after 18 overs when rain forced the fielders off.

League rules permit 20 overs must be played for a result to take shape and the points were shared.

Rufforth’s title hopes were also boosted as the rules played against Ledsham, who lost at Thorner Mexborough.

Thorner were all out for 116 but Ledsham failed to make the total and ended on 71-4.

Scholes smashed 233-9 at home against Sherburn with Gul Hussain (40) and Scott Smith (44) topscoring. And Sherburn finished on 102-6 when rain stopped play.

Elsewhere, Garforth Parish Church A’s (73-2) relegation was confirmed in a rain-affected defeat at home to Long Marston (166/4), while Meanwood (144-5) sent second bottom Kirk Hammerton (143/9) closer to the drop in a five-wicket win.

St Chad’s A (91-6) and Saxton (155-5) was washed out before the 20-over limit in the second innings.

NIDDERDALE LEAGUE

Ouseburn sealed a third Nidderdale League crown in six years after lifting the 2016 title with two games still to play.

However, the winning moment came courtesy of the weather as Ouseburn got the required point in a rained-off fixture at fierce rivals Spofforth. The league leaders required just a point from their last three matches and it came sooner than expected as rain stopped play at Spofforth with just 15.4 overs possible.

The hosts had reached 49-1 when the wet stuff arrived with Nick Robinson battling for 55 balls for 27 not out. Ouseburn hold a 15-point cushion on second-placed Darley with only two games remaining – due to the cancellation of the rearranged opening day fixture.

Birstwith had been the only team able to catch the champions but their title charge came to an abrupt end as they were bowled out for just 117 at Burton Leonard.

Nicky Smith (6-31) did the damage before Sam Crompton’s 42-ball 55 saw Leonard across the line.

Darley took advantage of Birstwith’s slip-up to move into second spot courtesy of a comprehensive 91-run win over Bishop Thornton. Talented opening batsman Chris Gill (61) set the foundation for the hosts again while Rory Best (56no) and Brad Stephens (48) continued the entertainment as Darley totalled 260-5.

Gill (4-340 capped an impressive display with the ball as he wrapped up the tail.

Brad Stephens and Joe Furniss also took three wickets apiece.

The defeat meant Thornton slipped onto the bottom of the table as Pateley Bridge claimed a thrilling six-wicket win at West Tanfield.

Nick Shirt’s unbeaten century led Bridge past Tanfield’s 221-9, with an over spare.

Tanfield had been set up Julian Hulbert’s 60, while Tom Fryer took 4-66.

Knaresborough Forest lost a classic at Hampsthwaite as they fell nine short of victory chasing 155.

A century opening stand between Luke Manion (62) and Richard Barritt (49) proved decisive as Hamps’ collapsed to 154 all out, with Forest skipper Stewart Pyke taking five.

Aaron Brunner’s 62 looked to be guiding Forest to victory but Manion’s introduction turned the game on its head and he finished with figures of 7-27.

Meanwhile, Helperby made 146-3 against Adel when rain arrived 26 overs into the match.

Goldsborough are as good as promoted in Division Two having beaten basement boys Thornton-le-Moor by eight wickets.

The second-placed side were made to work hard for victory, however, as Thornton posted 216-8, thanks to James Broadwith’s half century.

Stalwart Damon Ive hit 97 not out in response, while Ben Mackrill added 67 not out as Golds won in 34.5 overs.

Dacre Banks stunned champions Masham by ten wickets following a brilliant sox-wicket haul by Stephen Ellison.

Masham were all out for just 101 and Ellison (40no) and Masood Ahmed (49no) had no worries chasing it down.

Elsewhere, Newby Hall (103-3) beat Blubberhouses by seven wickets, Studley Royal chased 175 at Ripley and Markington surpassed Scotton’s 107-5 with five men spare.

Raskelf (195-5) and Harrogate 3rds (96-0) was rained off without a result.

Scholes' 
Yassir Ali celebrates after getting the important wicket of Wrenthorpe opener Jordan Sleightholme for 22. PIC: Steve Riding

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