Aire Wharfe League: Craven is confident of netting the double

Collingham bowler Chris Bridge in Aire Wharfe action at home to Otley.
Collingham bowler Chris Bridge in Aire Wharfe action at home to Otley.
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Bilton kicked off the season in convincing fashion and captain, Vic Craven, is full of confidence: “We believe we have the team to win the league and cup.”

The Aire Wharfe Cricket League finally got underway after last week’s weather caused a false start to the campaign.

Bilton made the perfect start to their Division One season, picking up maximum points away at Steeton. The hosts were restricted to just 128 after Mustahsan Ali Shah picked up a five-wicket haul and the visitors strolled to victory, losing only two wickets thanks to an unbeaten 74 from captain Craven.

Craven was impressed with a “really good team performance” after the perfect start to the season.

Elsewhere in Division One, champions Otley proved their strength as they defeated Collingham comfortably by 113 runs, with Jamie Pickering and Andy Rhodes picking up half-centuries in the process.

Newly promoted Horsforth made an encouraging start to their campaign, defeating North Leeds by 35-runs with Andy Robinson doing the damage with the ball collecting figures of 5-59. Ilkley also got off to a good start following a difficult previous season as Kirkstall’s measly 156 was easily seen off with Ilkley winning by a convincing six wickets.

Pool and Beckwithshaw met in a low-scoring affair as Pool were bowled out for just 104 with Stuart Hudson picking up the best figures of 3-12. In response Beckwithshaw lost seven wickets on their way to an opening-day victory.

Perhaps the most impressive performance came from Rawdon as they beat last season’s Waddilove Cup finalists Burley after striking up 285-runs with Ben Heritage and Andrew Duckworth impressing with the bat. Burley responded with 132 all out after Andrew Doidge amassed figures of 5-42.

Division Two burst into action and Ben Rhydding, after initially struggling in their batting innings having been 124-5, recovered to set Colton 280 to win. Red Bolton and Robbie Oldham put on a 155 stand for the sixth wicket with Bolton smashing an unbeaten 102. Colton showed little in response as they were bowled out for 122.

Overseas player Daniel Murfet had a debut to remember for Illingworth as his unbeaten 115 helped them to a 106-run victory over Skipton after Ben Robertshaw cleaned up the tail for figures of 5-8. Guiseley began their hunt to return to the top division with a relatively simple 97-run victory over Harden with Ricahard Nichols collecting figures of 5-18. Promoted side Addingham won away at Knaresborough – despite conceding 52 extras – winning by three wickets. Adel secured a 19-point victory over Calverley after a six-wicket win.

In other news from the league, a special general meeting decided that the Aire Wharfe Senior Cricket League will not be joining the Yorkshire Pyramid System at this time.

The league is proud of the current standard and becoming part of the system could have a negative impact on that standard, were the reasons cited for the decision.

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