SKIPPER Marcus Walmsley believes newly-crowned Premiership champions Methley will be even stronger next season.
Methley lifted the CYL championship for the fifth time when they beat Mirfield Parish Cavaliers by two wickets on the final day to pip derby rivals Townville by just one point.
It rounded off a highly-successful campaign for Methley who also won the CYL’s Jack Hampshire Trophy and 20-20 Trophy.
Methley’s long-serving bowler and former club captain John Rickers made his farewell appearance on Saturday before retiring from playing.
“We will be strengthening the team during the winter so I think we will come back stronger than we were this year,” said Walmsley.
“The nucleus of the team will be pretty much the same. Everyone has agreed to stay.
“John Rickers retired after Saturday’s game so it was nice to win the title for him. We’ll be looking for a replacement for John in the bowling department and I think we’ll also look to strengthen the middle order.”
Walmsley, who took over the captaincy early last month when Chris Holliday relinquished the role because of work commitments, has been at Methley three seasons. He was joined at Little Church Lane this year by twin brother Ed who moved from Pudsey Congs. The pair had previously played together at Bankfoot and Cleckheaton.
“Everyone has chipped in this season. It has been an excellent team effort and it was good to get over the line at the end,” added Walmsley.
“We took over at the top of the table after the first six games and we’ve been there ever since but Townville closed the gap towards the end of the season. At half-time on Saturday we were aware Townville hadn’t bowled out Hunslet Nelson so we knew if we knocked off the Parish Cavaliers’ score we’d win the title.
“We needed 19 to win and we’d only lost four wickets but then we lost another four wickets so it was a bit nerve-wracking in the end.”
Holliday hit 60 off 64 deliveries and Richard Foster struck 44 as Methley overhauled Cavaliers’ 174-9 that included a half century by Michael Padgett.
Last year’s champions Townville ended the season with an 11th successive league win but they fell just short after they, like Methley, failed to collect maximum points on Saturday because they were unable to bowl out Hunslet.
All-rounder Connor Harvey was again in outstanding form, hammering an unbeaten 46 off 29 balls and bagging 6-43 in the Castleford side’s six-wicket victory.
Jack Scanlon (76) and Will Stiff (45) led Hunslet’s scoring.
With Scholes joining the Bradford League, only one side will be relegated from the top-flight and Hunset narrowly avoided the drop after finishing level on points with bottom side Hopton Mills.
Hunslet survived because they had one more win than Hopton whose fate was sealed by a 33-run defeat at Wrenthorpe. Jack Rich’s unbeaten 34 helped Wrenthorpe recovered from 57-6 to reach 144-9.
And Greig Batty (4-17), Tom Chester (2-16) and Joe Ellis (2-26) dismissed Hopton for a miserly 111.