Aire-Wharfe: New captain Craven already setting his sights on title

Andrew Carson of North Leeds strikes the ball. Picture: Steve Riding.
Andrew Carson of North Leeds strikes the ball. Picture: Steve Riding.
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IT’S three wins out of four at Bilton – yet it’s the opening day defeat to Otley that still wrankles most.

Bilton have not been crowned Division One champions since 2005 but the Harrogate outfit were fourth last year and went even closer when second in 2013.

When assessing his side’s first four games to the 2015 campaign, new captain Vic Craven leaves no doubts that title intent is firmly on his mind.

Bilton moved into third and four points behind leaders Beckwithshaw with Saturday’s 82-run defeat of winless North Leeds, after which former Yorkshire star Craven mused: “I think it’s a title charge and we have started off pretty well.

“But obviously we were disappointed to lose the first game to Otley.

“The batsmen hadn’t got any runs under their belt so they were possibly a bit out of form, if you like, chasing 180.

“I think if that was now we’d stand a good chance of knocking it off. But we’ve come back really well and I couldn’t have asked for any more.

“We keep pulling a few points back but we have got a bit of a test on Saturday as we play Follifoot, who have started quite well and then the following week we’ve got Beckwithshaw, who are obviously top of the league.

“They have started very strongly, too, so I’ll know more in a couple of weeks!”

Bilton raced to 249-9 on Saturday led by Michael Donnelly (54) and Odje Davey (67), despite Taran Chana taking four wickets for 64 runs.

North Leeds could only manage 167 all out despite the best efforts of Andy Carson (47) and Chana (48) as Mustahsan Ali Shah took 3-40.

Beckwithshaw maintained their unbeaten start with a 46-run victory at fifth-placed Follifoot.

The visitors batted first and set Follifoot a target of 178-8 to win thanks to a high score from John Inglis (85).

Raees Ishtiaq took an impressive 4-49 for Follifoot but a superlative performance from Harry Lister (4-24) meant the hosts could only manage 132 all out.

Otley sit two points behind ‘Shaw in second after their 139-run victory at home to Steeton. The hosts set Steeton a target of 271-8 before the visitors made 132 all out.

There are another 13 points back to fourth-placed Burley who were defeated at Kirkstall by four runs.

Kirkstall made 100-6 but Burley could only manage 96 all out to succumb to back-to-back defeats.

There was no play in the fixtures between Guiseley and Rawdon or Ilkley and Collingham.

Illingworth remain top of Division Two after their 19-run success at home to Green Lane, writes DAISY YOUNG.

The hosts won the toss and decided to bat first and set their opponents a target of 172 to win with Stephen Cook top-scoring with 50. With rain cutting play short, both teams played just 40 overs and Green Lane could only manage 153-9 thanks to Luke Brooksby taking 3-33.

Horsforth moved up to fourth with a six-wicket victory over ninth-placed Adel.

Adel batted first and hit 
128-8 after 38 overs thanks to Mahir Ali (3-36) and Gareth Lee (3-34) taking three wickets each. Horsforth scored 134-4 thanks to Ryan Sharrocks (51).

Harden secured their first win of the season with a nine-run success over bottom side Tong Park Esholt.

Harden set the hosts a target of 149 to win despite the best efforts of Lyle D’Rozario (5-33).

Tong Park could only manage 140 all out, thanks to a superb performance from Leng (6-29).

Thackley moved up to 10th following a close-fought 21-run victory over fellow strugglers Ben Rhydding.

The hosts reached 125-9, but Ben Rhydding could only manage 104 all out to succumb to their third defeat of the season.

Alwoodley remain top of Division Three despite their eight-wicket defeat at Bardsey. The hosts were all out for 110 thanks to Clayton (7-14), who continued his fine form by hitting 44 not out.

Calverley closed the gap on their opponents Addingham in second-place after a 30-run victory over their rivals.

The hosts were all out for 194, but Addingham could only manage 164 in return.