Aire-Wharfe: Otley on course to end 21-year wait for trophy

Otley captain James Davies. PIC: Steve Riding
Otley captain James Davies. PIC: Steve Riding
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Otley took a huge step towards securing their first league title since 1993 as they beat second-placed Burley by 96 runs, writes Forrest Hamilton.

Dave Hester top-scored for the Division One leaders with 45 and Andrew Rhodes hit 41 as Otley posted 238-9.

James Wilcock (2-21) and John Brough (3-37) ensured Burley never got close, with only Danny Bryan (52) providing any sort of resistance.

Otley chairman Chris Smith said: “It was the perfect Saturday. It was a big game and it puts a gap between us and gives us a bit of breathing space.

“We’re getting closer now and if we carry on playing as we are then we’ve got a great chance. Dave Hester has been a big plus. He’s taken his opportunity big-time, he’s been a massive plus, a very good player.”

Otley were also due to tackle Collingham in the Waddilove Cup final on Sunday but the game was postponed due to rain.

The league and cup double, which Otley last achieved in successive years with Smith as captain in 1987 and 1988, is the focus for a club that has waited 21 years for a first-team trophy.

Smith added: “We’ve got six or seven lads who have come through the juniors, all three of our teams are top of the table and the club are in a really healthy position so, hopefully, we can capitalise on it this year.

“We probably could have started the final at three or four but it wouldn’t have been a great spectacle or much of a crowd. It was the right decision.”

The final has been re-scheduled for August 24.

Otley were handed further boosts as title rivals Beckwithshaw and Bilton lost to Guiseley and Ben Rhydding, respectively.

Beckwithshaw were undone by a fine spell of 6-13 from off-spinner Chris Wain as Guiseley took control against the reigning champions, who look unlikely to retain their title. ‘Shaw were dismissed for 91 before overseas player Brian Jackson smashed 64 not out off 47 balls to see Guiseley home by eight wickets.

Bilton’s title hopes were all but extinguished as they lost to bottom club Ben Rhydding, who secured a vital win in their quest to avoid the drop.

Batting first, Rhydding posted 213-7 thanks mainly to Charlie Swallow (53) and Robbie Oldham (57). Odge Davey (68) was the mainstay of the Bilton batting but they eventually succumbed to the bowling of Swallow (4-52) and captain Alex Miller (3-36), losing by 35 runs.

Conor McInerney took 6-17 as Rawdon beat Collingham by six wickets in a crucial relegation encounter.

Only two Collingham batsmen made it into double figures as they were bowled out for 72, and Ben Heritage hit an unbeaten 35 to guide Rawdon over the line.

Pool completed the hat-trick of wins for the bottom three as they thrashed an under-strength Ilkley by eight wickets, Sam Wilkinson set up the Pool win with 5-45.

Andrew Foulds (91) and John Akrigg (70) starred for Steeton as they piled on 285-8 against Kirkstall, for whom only Stephen Brown (5-34) could stem the flow of runs.

Kirkstall got off to a terrible start, Stephen Pearson (4-36) and Jonathan Best (3-44) doing the damage, before Tom Webb hauled them up to 202 all out with a counter-attacking 71.

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