Collingham will continue to ‘do things the right way’ despite their likely relegation from the top tier of Aire Wharfe cricket, says their captain Stephen James.
The 2012 double winners lost to Bilton and suffered a double gut-punch after both Colton and North Leeds won to leave them bottom of the table and 51 points from safety, and with four games to play, James admitted that his side are ‘in need of a miracle’ to beat the drop.
“It’s been a tough season for us,” he said. “We’ve really struggled with availability and have suffered from not being able to name a consistent side.
“We’ve got a really strong policy of picking young lads and the fact is that some of them just aren’t quite good enough at this level, which is a very high standard of cricket.
“There are no easy games in this division anymore, and with some of the money being paid out by some sides, realistically you just can’t compete.”
Having changed tack in 2014, Collingham’s policy of blooding youngsters and not paying players will survive as the club aim to bounce back into the big-time at the first attempt next season.
“We’ll stand by our principles and will continue to do it the right way,” the leg-spinner said. “We really believe in our model, of having young, hungry lads in the side with a couple of older guys from the area.
“The paying players thing just isn’t sustainable. You watch clubs pay money to come up the leagues, they lose the money and they go back down to the third division and then do the same thing again when the money comes back.”
James says plans are afoot to build an extension to the clubhouse along with new practice facilities, all raised by money that would have otherwise been spent on players.
He also revealed that it was unlikely he would continue as captain next season, and that the club had identified one of the side’s younger players to take over. With the likes of 14-year-old Yorkshire prospect Leo Johnson coming through, James says the club is confident that the future is bright.
“It’s been a tough couple of seasons for me, and you can see in the first division that lots of clubs have younger skippers now.
“The club are confident of bouncing back and want to do so as champions. We’ve got some very talented cricketers and I definitely think we can do so.”
With North Leeds’ win against Pool having effectively cancelled out Colton’s shock win over Ilkley, the relegation battle is looking increasingly settled, much like the fight at the top after defeats for Burley and Otley. Batting first at Burley, Rawdon made 223-9 thanks to Eliot Goldthorp (51) and Marcus Berryman (49), before the under strength hosts crumbled to 87 all out to leave themselves 45 points back on Beckwithshaw and in third place.
Second-placed Otley are 35 points back after they failed to chase 187 against Horsforth despite the efforts of Chris Thompson (4-37) and Stephen Brown (4-42). Ben Heritage score 57 for the Brownberrie Lane side. This allowed Beckwithshaw to stretch their lead at Guiseley thanks in the main to George Myers (72), Ross Sedgley (70 not out) and Alex Lilley (6-25). Off-spinner Chris Wain claimed 4-79 for the hosts. The leaders take on Burley this weekend.
In Division Two, Adel are one win from a return to the top table after seeing off Calverley.
And they’ll be joined by either Ben Rhydding or Follifoot, who face each other this week having beaten Leeds Mods and Hall Park respectively.