Aire-Wharfe: Top-flight title race goes down to the wire

THE Aire-Wharfe League title race will again be decided on the final weekend with every single game washed out on Saturday leaving Otley narrowly top of the pile with Burley-in-Wharfedale hot on their heels.

Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 6:25 am
The washout at the weekend confirmed Leeds Modernians' (pictured) and Calverley St Wilfrid's relegation. PIC: John Heald

Otley were due to welcome third-placed North Leeds to Cross Green where a full 20-point haul would have given them the title, one year on from being pipped at the post by Beckwithshaw who won last year’s title by just eight points.

Twelve months later, bottom-placed ’Shaw have already been condemned to relegation with Otley in a more familiar position and staying two points ahead of second-placed Burley ahead of the final day.

Burley’s clash at seventh-placed Bilton was also cancelled because of the rain, leaving the fate of the division’s top two to be decided this Saturday.

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Canoe and umbrella weather at Leeds Modernians. PIC: John Heald

Otley have the luxury of home advantage as they welcome eighth-placed Horsforth who are comfortably clear of the dropzone.

Burley, meanwhile, who finished third last year, visit second-bottom Guiseley whose relegation has already been confirmed.

Guiseley’s home clash with Ilkley was cancelled on Saturday and both Guiseley and Beckwithshaw will spend next season in Division Two.

Collingham and Linton will be playing top-flight Aire Wharfe League cricket next year with their status as Division Two champions long confirmed before Saturday’s home clash with eighth-placed Kirkstall Education was declared a washout.

A washed out Leeds Modernians ground. PIC: John Heald

But second-placed Addingham, third-placed Tong Park Esholt and fourth-placed Horsforth Hall Park could yet join Collingham in the top flight by sealing the division’s second promotion spot.

Addingham have an eight-point cushion back to third-placed Tong Park who they now welcome to Main HQ this weekend.

Horsforth are only another two points back in fourth, giving them hope ahead of this Saturday’s home clash against Calverley St Wilfrids.

At the bottom of the division, the weekend’s blanket of abandonments confirmed the relegation of bottom-placed Leeds Modernians and second-bottom Calverley St Wilfrids with third-bottom Steeton and the teams above them now mathematically safe.

The Division Three title and indeed promotion race will go to the wire with leaders Bardsey eight points ahead of second-placed New Rover with another 14 back to third-placed Green Lane. Bardsey visit fifth-placed Harden this weekend with New Rover away at third-bottom but already-safe Alwoodley and Green Lane welcoming fourth-placed Bolton Villas who cannot finish in the promotion spots.

Old Leodiensans and Shadwell’s relegation had already been confirmed.

The only two pieces of action of any note on Saturday came in Division Five with Olicanian 52-1 at Calverley St Wilfrids and, in Division Six, with Thackley 45-1 at home to Leeds Modernians. Sunny intervals and a small chance of showers are forecast for this Saturday.