Aire-Wharfe League: Winter is warming to idea of a ‘double’

North Leeds wicketkeeper 
Dom Cowley.
North Leeds wicketkeeper Dom Cowley.
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North Leeds are “exceeding expectations” this season according to captain Rob Winter after his side went third in the league and progressed to a cup semi-final.

The Airedale and Wharfedale Cricket League was affected badly by weather this week with only two Division One games being played to completion and the Waddilove Cup quarter-finals also taking place. Firstly, the mid-table clash in Division One between Burley-in-Wharfedale and Collingham was won by Burley by six wickets. Burley chased down a total of 142 with Ricahard Brook and Jason Wright both scoring half-centuries. The result means that Burley are now fourth in the league with Collingham slipping to seventh.

It was a great weekend for North Leeds, who have gone third in Division One after defeating Bilton by 85-runs. Andy Carson top-scored with the bat netting 54 for North Leeds as the home side set Bilton 202 to win. In reply Bilton never got going and eventually succumbed to defeat after 30.3 overs.

North Leeds completed a terrific weekend by progressing to the semi-finals of the Waddilove Cup after beating Green Lane via run rate. Green Lane batted first but could muster only 135 all out. In reply, North Leeds were 65-2 when the rains came with them well ahead on the run rate, which sets up a semi-final tie with third division side Tong Park Esholt.

“We’re absolutely delighted (with the season so far),” said Winter. “We set out this season to improve on what we did last year and to be third is a great achievement.

“We’re a very young side and to be in the cup semi-final is a great result. We’re not going to take Tong Park lightly. I know they’re a third division side, but they’ve got some good, very experienced players and it won’t be an easy game for us but it’s a great opportunity to get to a cup final.”

North Leeds’ opponents in the Waddilove Cup semi-final, Tong Park Esholt, upset first division side Rawdon in the quarter-finals after winning via run rate. The tie between Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston was also decided by run rate with Burley being comfortably superior. Burley will face fellow first division side Otley in the semis after Otley beat Division One title rivals Beckwithshaw in a bowl out, 6-5.

Winter was coy about his team’s chances when asked about his side’s title aspirations in the league and cup: “I think we’ve got to be realistic; we’re exceeding expectations in the league. I don’t think, realistically, we can win the league, but we’ll certainly give it everything we’ve got to keep competing.

“The cup is a great opportunity for us to get to our first cup final since 2005 and, on the day, anything could happen. We’ve a sneaky feeling that we could get the cup, but either title would massively exceed my expectations”.

Next up for North Leeds in the league is a tricky fixture against fourth placed side Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Elsewhere, Division One leaders Beckwithshaw travel to Ilkley whilst title rivals Otley are entertained by Pool. There’s also a bottom-of-the-table clash as Steeton take on Kirkstall Educational.

Richard Atkins runs in for New Farnley against Pudsey St Lawrence. PIC: Steve Riding

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