Aire-Wharfe: Promoted Addingham are riding high back among the top-flight ‘big-hitters’

Gabriel Field, who made a late 32 for Kirkstall Educational in their one-wicket win over visitors Hall Park that took them to second spot in the second division standings. PIC: Steve Riding
Gabriel Field, who made a late 32 for Kirkstall Educational in their one-wicket win over visitors Hall Park that took them to second spot in the second division standings. PIC: Steve Riding
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ADDINGHAM CC are riding high back in the big time and licking their lips at the prospect of battles against the Aire Wharfe League’s best teams.

Nine years ago, the Ilkley Road side found themselves bottom of Division Three but, a decade later, Addingham have climbed to third in the league’s top division.

Ricky Halloran celebrates as he takes one of his four wickets for Hall Park, who went on to lose to hosts Kirkstall Educational by one wicket. PIC: Steve Riding

Ricky Halloran celebrates as he takes one of his four wickets for Hall Park, who went on to lose to hosts Kirkstall Educational by one wicket. PIC: Steve Riding

Only defending champions Otley and Follifoot sit ahead of Addingham and secretary Richard Walton says his improving side and last year’s Division Two runners-up are relishing competing with the division’s best.

“This season I think we are probably as high as we could possibly get,” said Walton.

“The two teams above us are clear with only four games to go really.

“Mathematically, anything is possible but cricket-wise I think, if we stay ahead of fourth-placed Ilkley, that will be very good. We would be very happy with that.

An all-to-familiar sight this summer as Follifoot v Collingahm and Linton fell foul of the weather at the weekend. PIC: Steve Riding

An all-to-familiar sight this summer as Follifoot v Collingahm and Linton fell foul of the weather at the weekend. PIC: Steve Riding

“All we wanted to do was consolidate our position in the first division with the best team that we could produce from our own source of homegrown players and then make decisions after the end of this season.

“But we have got a nice young team very ably captained by Ted Haggas.

“If they have a mini collapse then someone else will pull them out of the mire whereas, in the past, we have had a collapse and it’s gone belly up.

“This season and last season they have managed to pull together so something was wrong somewhere before but it’s come better and we have had a strokes of good luck – like every team.”

Sizing up the prospect of possibly challenging the likes of Otley next year, Walton said: “Next year we would love to be playing people like that.

“This year was a challenge to play against them.

“Unfortunately our Otley match at home was rained off.

“At the beginning of the season we would have gone ‘rained off against Otley, three points, great’ but by the time we got to them the other week we were thinking ‘Otley, bring it on’ – a completely different mindset from the start of the season.

“That’s how we have progressed. We had a few early matches where things didn’t go as well as they could and then we had a last-minute win against Ilkley and they seemed to mentally just turn it around straight away.

“It was very, very heartening.”

Addingham’s second team are also enjoying a highly successful year sitting top of Division Six and four points clear of Bardsey seconds with four games remaining.

The first team, meanwhile, are now only 15 points behind second-placed Follifoot who saw their home clash against second-bottom Collingham & Linton rained off on Saturday meaning three points each.

Addingham enjoyed a five-wicket win at bottom-placed side Adel on a weekend which saw Otley fall to a four-wicket reverse at home to North Leeds.

Fourth-placed Ilkley enjoyed a five-wicket triumph at home to seventh-placed Bilton while sixth-placed Horsforth fell to a seven-wicket reverse at home to third-bottom Pool. Burley, last year’s runners-up, were six-wicket victors at home to fourth-bottom Rawdon and Waddilove Cup winners Burley visit Addingham next.

“We are looking forward to that,” said Walton.

“One or two members of our watching team, the older ones who sit in the pavilon, are really looking forward to Burley. We are feeling confident.”