THE Division One title may prove too tall an order for Kirkstall Educational, but they aren’t half enjoying the ride.
That’s the positive message from chairman Nick Davis, with Kirkstall keeping in touch with top two Otley and Beckwithshaw thanks to Saturday’s dramatic four-wicket win over Collingham.
The hero of the hour was Lee Gordon, who struck a big six off the final ball bowled as third-placed Kirkstall chased down an imposing target to reach 281-6 after Collingham opened with 279-9.
While Gordon provided the late fireworks, Kirkstall were indebted to ex-Pudsey Congs stalwart Babar Butt, who continued to show just what an astute acquisition he is by hitting exactly 100 in the run-chase.
Earlier, Jack Harrison (72) and Jonny Haslam (64) had top-scored for Collingham in a century stand, with Butt the pick of Kirkstall’s bowlers with 3-36.
On the season thus far, Davis said: “We have had a very good first half of the season; better than we thought really, with Saturday’s game being the first game in the second half of the season.
“If we continue like this, we will hopefully be in the top three or four at the end of the season.
“I still think the title is a little bit beyond us, with Otley and Beckwithshaw having really strong teams this year.
“But we are just pleased to be doing as well as we are doing and we are enjoying the ride and experience and doing well.
“We have been blooding several young players, including a young 16-year-old off-spinner called James Watson, who has been doing well and all the boys are enjoying their cricket.
“Stephen Brown, our off-spinner and batsman, is enjoying a really good season and Babar Butt is also proving to be a good signing for us.
“He’s an experienced player who has got some useful wickets and runs and a number are contributing.”
Leaders Otley (86-2) made light work of Bilton (84), despite Vic Craven’s 42, while Beckwithshaw (255) closed the gap with maximum points against struggling Guiseley (83), whose tough season continued with another loss.
Harry Lister took 4-5 in an unplayable stint, with Ben Quick (89) and Yasir Ali (68) excelling with the bat.
Follifoot (226-8) held sway in their basement scrap against Ilkley (176), with North Leeds (102) going down in a low-scoring affair with Burley, who edged home at 105-5.
Mid-table Rawdon (148) lost out in a close run thing against Steeton (149-9), despite the best efforts of George Myers (5-48) and Andrew Doidge (3-34).