Aire-Wharfe League: Decision to declare backfires ‘big times’ for Burley

Alex Lilley, centre, of Beckwithshaw gets his fifth and final wicket as Bilton last man Joe Hartley is bowled for 4. PIC: Steve Riding
Alex Lilley, centre, of Beckwithshaw gets his fifth and final wicket as Bilton last man Joe Hartley is bowled for 4. PIC: Steve Riding
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BURLEY skipper Ed Brown admits an unfortunate declaration has probably led to conceding defeat in the Aire Wharfe title race.

The captain will take Saturday’s mishap “on the chin” and believes two more wins will likely seal Beckwithshaw the Division One crown.

Kiel Van Vollenhoven, who hit a defiant 45 not out for Bilton but ran out of partners in the defeat to Beckwithshaw. PIC: Steve Riding

Kiel Van Vollenhoven, who hit a defiant 45 not out for Bilton but ran out of partners in the defeat to Beckwithshaw. PIC: Steve Riding

Title-chasing Burley were going great guns at Ikley at 276-5 after 47 overs. With the possibility of rain, Brown sent his men back to the pavilion after declaring with three overs to go.

Yet the sun was to shine on the hosts who made hay of a fine evening’s weather by replying with a superb 279-6 as Alex Bailey pummelled a stellar knock of 90. With it, in Brown’s opinion, went Burley’s title hopes, with Burley squandering a chance to close the gap as ’Shaw took only 15 points from their 15-run success at Bilton.

“From our perspective, I think realistically, whilst not mathematically, we are probably a little bit out of it,” Brown told the YEP.

“We have still got to play them and they have still got to play Otley as well but it’s going to take something special and it’s really theirs to lose.

Stuart Hudson, bowling for Beckwithshaw at Bilton. PIC: Steve Riding

Stuart Hudson, bowling for Beckwithshaw at Bilton. PIC: Steve Riding

“Even if we beat them and then Otley beat them they are still probably going to have some bonus points on the chasing pack. It’s down to them really. We have got a bit of an easier run-in than Beckwithshaw – we have got Beckwithshaw to play and then some mid-table sides and then Colton on the last day.

“But Beckwithshaw would probably have to lose against us and Otley and then one more to really lose the league. I just don’t see them doing that.”

Burley looked destined to record an 11th win of the season on Saturday when racing to 276-5 led by Brown’s unbeaten century (101no) together with Nick Brook’s knock of 54. But Ikley hit back in style with Alex Bailey’s knock of 90 supported by hits of 57 by Alex Bell and an unbeaten 60 from Jibrail Mallik.

“A couple of their lads batted out of their skin and Alex Bailey’s 90 was just ridiculous,” said Brown. “Some of the distances he was hitting the ball, I’ve not quite seen from him before.”

Brown also pulls no punches when analysing the decision to declare. The skipper explained: “It was a bit of a risk, a massive risk in the end and it didn’t pay off so it’s one of those that I am going to have to take on the chin as a pretty average decision. But even so, we should really be defending 275 in club cricket. We were frustrated and annoyed because Beckwithshaw slipped up a little bit in not getting many batting points. We shot ourselves in the foot.”

’Shaw looked in bother themselves when dismissed for 116 at Bilton but the hosts were then bowled out for 101. Otley now sit second but still 22 points behind ’Shaw after an eight-wicket cruise at Pool. There are 38 points back to fourth-placed Ilkley who are eight points ahead of fifth-placed Rawdon who suffered a 57-run reverse at home to sixth-placed Guiseley.

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