An inspired bowling performance by 17-year-old George Powell proved too strong for Horsforth as they were soundly beaten by local rivals Rawdon on Saturday.
Powell ripped the heart out of the attack and took 5-18 to set his side up for a breezy seven-wicket win, and new skipper Andrew Duckworth was glowing in his praise for the youngster.
“George bowled very well,” he said, “he opened the bowling last year and in all honesty it probably wasn’t quite right for him.
“With James Harding and our overseas in the side now, it gives George a chance to come on at a time when he doesn’t feel the need to chase wickets, with the field spread and to just come on and bowl as many dots as possible.”
Powell’s years mean he still operates under the restriction of the ECB bowling directives, meaning his contribution on Saturday was limited to just seven overs.
“It’s a nightmare,” Duckworth joked, “He was on a hat trick with his last two balls and we had to take him off. He’ll have to carry that into next week now!”
Duckworth also praised his spin pairing of Bradley Reeve and Andrew Doidge, a youth and experience combination he says he can rely on.
“We’ve got more depth in the bowling than we did last year. Brad has bowled brilliantly in both games so far alongside Doidgey. Again, last year they were coming on when we were behind the game having to take wickets, this year they are coming on with no pressure, which has helped.”
One of Powell’s victims was familiar face Ben Heritage, who had spent the three previous seasons at Rawdon, including two as captain. Patient opener Heritage top-scored in Horsforth’s 147 with 43.
“We had a little plan and didn’t bowl well at Ben, to be honest. He got a few bad balls and put them away. I’d played with Ben previously and he’s a really good friend, so to beat him was nice.
“We’re fortunate enough to be playing with no expectations this year. If we win more than half the games we play, we’ll be happy. We’ve started well and that’s as much as I can ask for.”
Elsewhere in the division, Beckwithshaw were the weekend’s highest scorers as they piled on 298-9 against Pool.
No 7 Sam Moore scored 94 and there were major contributions from George Myers (47) and Alex Lilley (43), before only David Paynter (102) and Ryan Sharrocks (61) got going in the visitors’ 187.
Nick Brook (63) continued his red hot start to the season as he top-scored for Burley in their hard fought win against North Leeds. Sam Fox scored 33 and Jason Wright 51 as the hosts got to 188. North Leeds fell nine runs short, Benjamin Cawood top-scoring with 45.
Just down the road at Ilkley, the hosts would’ve been confident at the halfway mark after they had rolled star-studded Bilton for 160 thanks in the main to the evergreen Dave Pennett, who took 4-49. They never got going in reply and were rolled for just 85. It wasn’t the lowest score of the day, however, a distinction that goes to Collingham, who were dispatched for 46 by Guiseley’s South African overseas Heynrych Nel (6-20). Newly-promoted Guiseley made light work of the reply, which they knocked off one down inside twelve overs.
The league’s other new boys, Colton, were soundly beaten by a resurgent Otley. No 8 Brad Firn (39) top scored in Colton’s 139, which never seemed enough as skipper Ben Morley (63) and David Hester (49*) swatted the target away before the innings’ halfway mark.