Aire-Wharfe League: Beckwithshaw stalwart Hudson hits out at Bullen ban

Beckwithshaw bowler and captain, Alex Lilley. PIC: Steve Riding
Beckwithshaw bowler and captain, Alex Lilley. PIC: Steve Riding
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Beckwithshaw stalwart Stuart Hudson has lashed out at the treatment of team-mate Steve Bullen by the Aire-Wharfe League following the opening batsman’s 13-week ban from cricket.

Leeds Bradford MCCU star Bullen, who is registered to the Harrogate club on a dual-registration basis with his hometown club Corsham CC, was banned for two weeks following an altercation with Bilton’s Will Liddle in their six-wicket win on May 27. The ban was extended a further week after an appeal process.

Otley's David Hester goes on the attack. PIC: Steve Riding

Otley's David Hester goes on the attack. PIC: Steve Riding

During that three-week period, Bullen didn’t turn out for Beckwithshaw but proceeded to represent both his MCCU side and Wiltshire, for whom he scored a double hundred. This was deemed to be in violation of the ban, which the Aire-Wharfe League duly extended to last until September 21. Bullen and Beckwithshaw maintain that the terms of the ruling weren’t made clear.

The ban effectively ends a season during which Bullen was attracting interest from the County Championship, and Hudson said that the feeling at Beckwithshaw was one of outrage.

“It’s a very amateurish way of running a very strong and tough cricket league,” said Hudson. “At the end of the day, someone’s livelihood is at stake here.

“They’ve shown absolutely no commonsense at all and have tried to follow what they believe to be the letter of the law 100 per cent, but that’s ridiculous. Aside from the fact that the ban wasn’t made clear in the first place, it might well cost the lad a career in the game.

Beckwithshaw's 'James Lilley is bowled. PIC: Steve Riding

Beckwithshaw's 'James Lilley is bowled. PIC: Steve Riding

“The feeling around the club is one of extreme disappointment. He’s a quality player and we feel he has been badly treated. I’d say it is highly likely we take some sort of further action.”

Beckwithshaw players and officials met on Sunday morning to discuss what measures they can take to assist Bullen, but league secretary Dave Alred said they have yet to hear from them, and that until they do, the matter is not up for discussion.

“He’s suspended, full stop,” Alred said. “Beckwithshaw do not know the full story, and we do.

“They only know what Bullen has told them and, as far as we are concerned, all they are doing is trying to drag the matter out.

“He shouldn’t get any special treatment regardless of whether he’s on the verge of a first-class contract or not. He’s no different to anybody else and the issue won’t be handled any differently.”

Without Bullen, table-topping ’Shaw had a fruitful weekend, defeating Otley by 38 runs in a low-scoring match and then seeing of a resurgent Horsforth by 74 runs in the quarter-final of the Waddilove Cup.

Just six points back from Beckwithshaw are Burley, who continued their red-hot batting form with a 78-run mauling of Bilton.

Batting first, the in-form Dan Revis provided the backbone of the Burley innings of 272-9, and no one really got going for Bilton in reply as Nick Brook took 4-37.

Ed Brown’s 130 the next day saw Burley past Addingham in the cup despite the efforts of Dan Ellis’ 93 not out.

They’ll be joined by their Saturday opponents, who plundered 315-9 at third-tier St Chads, who didn’t disgrace themselves with their 225.

Ilkley beat the ever-sinking Collingham by five wickets thanks to 55 not out from Jibrael Malik, and saw off Pool by the same margin to book their place in Waddilove Cup semis, Malik again starring with 83.

Colton’s imposing 272-6 wasn’t enough to get them their first win in six as Michael Truswell (68) and Richard Nichols (61 not out) combined to see Guiseley home with three wickets remaining.

Rawdon overcame North Leeds’ 154 by three wickets thanks to 47 from skipper Andrew Duckworth and despite 4-45 from left-arm twirler Barry Singleton, whilst Horsforth’s renaissance under the captaincy of Ollie Hardaker continued with Corey Barsby (68 not out) and Charlie Swallow (38 not out) knocking off Pool’s 183.