THERE were no results across all three divisions in the Aire Wharfe League on Saturday as heavy rain throughout the valley meant there were only bonus points to play for, writes FORREST HAMILTON.
Pool managed to secure three bowling bonus points as they restricted Rawdon to 133-7 but their reply was cut short with just one run on the board.
Kirkstall and Ilkley were the only other teams to begin play in Division One and Kirkstall earned one bonus point as Ilkley made their way to 77-3 before the rain inevitably halted play.
There was more play in Division Two, with Thackley and Follifoot the main beneficiaries as they took seven and eight points respectively.
Those points extended Follifoot’s lead at the top to seven points over North Leeds. Follifoot had Umer Yaqoob (5-28) to thank whilst bottom club Thackley were indebted to a superb 102 not out from Bradley Goodaire.
Attentions will now turn to the first round of the Waddilove Cup at the weekend, with plenty of intriguing contests.
Chief among them is a Harrogate derby between two Division One heavyweights, Beckwithshaw and Bilton.
Beckwithshaw stalwart Stuart Hudson said of the derby: “There’s usually a bit of extra spice to the game because they’re local.
“At the beginning of the season I thought we’d be challenging them at the top rather than the bottom.
“They’ve got a lot of good players that will come good.
“Vic Craven is a fabulous signing for them and I think whoever wins this tie will probably be in the final.”
On their early season struggles, Hudson explained: “We’ve had some freak injuries and some changes in personnel.
“John Inglis is taking a year out, Alex Lilley got a fracture to his leg, so that is a couple of key players out.
“It’s a very strong league and you have to be at the top of your game.
“To lose the first two games this season was a bit of a shake up so to win the preliminary round against Tong Park Esholt was good.”
Last season’s cup final against Burley, a “freak game” as Hudson describes it, will be fresh in the minds, but that won’t change their priorities: “Whoever wins that league trophy is the best side, so that’s the one you want to win, but the cup final is a great day out.”
Beckwithshaw, as league winners, will also be representing the Aire Wharfe in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Trophy where they will face Central Yorkshire League Champions Townville.
The game has been rescheduled for June 22.
“It should have been played last weekend,” explains Hudson.
“But we had about six players injured and we contacted them to try and rearrange.
“They really entered the spirit of the competition by agreeing, they want to play our best side, which is good.
“We’ve struggled as a league in recent years as there are a lot of strong sides.
“Burley played York last year, who are arguably the strongest side around full stop.”
Hudson is certainly under no illusions as to the scale of the task. He continued: “It’s a tough ask. We’re still some way behind those leagues, although we are closing the gap.
“It’s up to clubs like us to stick our chests out and play some good cricket.”
Elsewhere in the Waddilove Cup next weekend, current holders Burley travel to Silsden whilst 2012 Waddilove Cup winners Collingham entertain Steeton.
Horsforth and Hall Park will also face off in a mouth-watering local derby while Ben Rhydding, who lost a nail-biting 2012 final by just two runs, play host to Thackley.