Aire-Wharfe: Burley are top after big hitter rises to challenge

Joshua Challenger. PIC: Steve Riding
Joshua Challenger. PIC: Steve Riding
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THE appropriately named Joshua Challenger cracked a sensational century as Burley-in-Wharfedale went from challengers to leaders at the top of the Aire Wharfe League with just three games to go, writes LEE SOBOT.

Burley have been chasing leaders Otley throughout the season but Otley’s second loss in a row at the hands of third-bottom Pool allowed Burley to claim top spot with victory at fourth-placed Rawdon.

North Leeds' George Wales. PIC: Steve Riding

North Leeds' George Wales. PIC: Steve Riding

Yet matters looked grim for Burley who were struggling at 96-8 at Rawdon until the introduction of no9 batsman Challenger who proceeded to blast a knock of 100 from just 67 balls which included seven sixes and 11 fours.

After the earlier efforts of Sam Fox (24), Daniel Revis (21) and Nicky Bullock (21), Challenger’s charge hauled Burley to 203 despite the return of Jake Hodges (4-55) with Challenger then taking two wickets including opener George Myers as Rawdon were skittled for 161.

Fellow Rawdon opener Henry Scanlan made 51 while Harry Nicholson remained unbeaten on 30 but crucial wickets from Fox (3-28) helped win the day for Burley.

Otley elected to field at Pool who were bowled out for 126 as Chris Thompson snared 6-34 in addition to Nathan Goldthorp’s 3-17 with Goldthorp claiming both skipper Charlie Bell (35) and Will Carter (32).

Guiseley bowler, Harry Naylor. PIC: Steve Riding

Guiseley bowler, Harry Naylor. PIC: Steve Riding

Otley, though, were then sent packing for just 103 as James Rosewarne (6-41) and David Amos (4-60) cleaned up between them with the 24 from James Davies the best it got for Otley who are now second and two points behind Burley.

North Leeds moved third but still 53 points behind Otley after a 69-run success at second-bottom Guiseley who are 43 points off safety.

Dominic Cowley proved the star of the North Leeds innings as his unbeaten 76 together with Callum Carson’s 31 and Farham Khan’s 34 guided his side to 201-9 in the face of Damon Reeve (4-55) and Chris Wain (3-69).

Barry Singleton (4-25) and Aftab Karim (3-46) then got to work as Guiseley were dismissed for 132 with opener and captain James Thistlethwaite proving the most dangerous batsman (36).

Champions Beckwithshaw are another six points behind second-bottom Guiseley after a seven-run reverse at seventh-placed Follifoot.

Opener Dax Guy’s 29 was the best it got for Beckwithshaw who were dismissed for 129 as Yasar Ali (3-32) and Paul Angove (3-3) caused problems.

After opener Angove’s contribution of 27, an unbeaten 52 from Matthew Williams took Follifoot to 130-3.

Bilton moved up to ninth with a 78-run win at home to eighth-placed Horsforth as Lewis Mallinson (52) and Siraj Hussian (46) led Bilton to 186 before Mustahsan Ali Shah’s 5-33 helped knock down Horsforth for 108 all out.

Adel climbed to fifth with a four-wicket verdict at home to Ilkley who dropped to sixth. Ilkley’s Robert Spivey hit 47 of his side’s 158 but Adel overhauled at 159-6 led by Griffin Lea’s unbeaten 48.