Cricket: Kirstall cautious despite good start

Eugene Burzler
Eugene Burzler
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Kirkstall Educational chairman Nick Davis is refusing to get carried away despite his side’s blistering start to the season, writes AMITAI WINEHOUSE.

The Eddies sit top of Division One after Saturday’s win against Rawdon at the weekend with a trip to third-placed Otley next on the agenda.

But Davis is intent on keeping firmly grounded, even if he admits he could not be happier given the disruption of a series of burglaries over the winter.

“It’s been a great start to the season after a troublesome winter for us,” said Davis.

“Between April last year and December, we had ten break-ins, which could really have finished us.

“We really struggled with it and ended up getting a lot of help from Rachel Reeves, our local MP.

“Rather than planning, we were spending our time fire fighting. Now we have full security at the club, which has allowed us to concentrate on the cricket.

“Considering the problems we had over the winter, the results we’ve had so far are even more tasty.

“I’d like to give special mention to president and groundsman David Hodgson, who was at the coal face for all of the break-ins, which were soul destroying for him. He’ll be delighted with the first two wins.”

In an odd sense, Davis feels as though the troubles may have helped the club start the season off right.

“It has helped, in terms of helping us value what we’ve really got at the club,” he suggested.

“It makes the boys value playing cricket rather than fixing broken windows.

“This is the time of the year that you build on the hard work that you’ve put in during the winter, and this is the payoff to that hard work so far.

“Eugene Burzler, who missed last week’s game but played in the first one, is an experienced league cricketer who is a valuable addition to the squad.

“Dan Mason, a wicket keeper and batsman, is also another good signing for us.

“But it’s too early to say who might win it. There are a lot of good teams in the league, which is getting stronger and stronger year on year.

“I hope we’re in the mix going into the end of the season.

“Ilkley have also made a good start following promotion, and if they carry on like that they’ll be a real threat.

“They’ve made some very astute signings with real experience, like Dave Pennett and Jonathan Hughes.”

“We also can’t discount teams like Beckwithshaw, who are bottom after two games but in a bit of a false position.

“I think all of the teams have strengthened over the summer.”

Saturday’s victory was not uncomplicated for Kirkstall whose Andy Siddall cracked 59no as the Eddies recovered from 26-4 to pass Rawdon’s 131 with five wickets in hand.

Ilkley sit second on points difference after inflicting a second defeat of the season on Beckwithshaw. Ilkley won by 76 runs.

Third-placed Otley had captain James Davies to thank as he bowled his side on the way to victory at Guiseley, before rescuing them at the bat as they began to struggle.

Having bowled Guiseley out for just 94, Otley struggled as Nasser Jamal picked up 4-35 until Davies hit an unbeaten 44 to maintain Otley’s winning start to the season.

In fourth are Burley who defeated fifth-placed Steeton on Saturday.

A half century from Neil Spragg put Steeton on the way to a healthy 233-9 but Ed Brown (95no) steered Burley to a three wicket win.

Bilton are next in sixth for whom Odge Davey (45) top scored as they declared as soon as they got maximum batting points against Collingham. Sajad Ali (6-34) and Richard Spittlehouse (3-20) bowled out Collingham for 96.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Charlie Swallow (4-23) and Brad Ranford (4-21) skittled eighth-placed Pool out for 61 but then David Amos (5-27) and Sam Wilkinson (3-9) turned the tables, dismissing third-bottom Ben Rhydding still six runs short of victory.

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