Aire-Wharfe League: Tougher test awaits Otley as rivals add more quality

Sam Anderson hits four runs for Collingham and Linton against North Leeds. Picture: Steve Riding.
Sam Anderson hits four runs for Collingham and Linton against North Leeds. Picture: Steve Riding.
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THREE wins out of three and already 17 points clear, it’s business as usual for defending Aire-Wharfe League champions Otley.

Yet chairman Chris Smith believes his men are in for a sterner test than last year in what he believes is a stronger division.

It won’t be a foregone conclusion because there will be some very tough games ahead and it will be dependent on team selection really.

Otley chairman Chris Smith

“We’ve had a good start and we’ve got a very similar team to last year,” said Smith.

“Time will tell. It will depend on availability because one or two of the lads are struggling to play every Saturday but it’s a very talented side.

“But I think there are one or two other strong clubs about as well so I wouldn’t say it would be like last year. It won’t be a foregone conclusion because there will be some very tough games ahead and it will be dependent on team selection really.

“It looks like North Leeds have started off very well. They seem to have strengthened. I understand Bilton have strengthened and looking at how Follifoot have done, they have set off well so it will be a tougher league than last year. Collingham have come up and they look as though they have come up stronger.”

Now under the captaincy of James Davies following Ben Morley’s switch to Farsley, David Hester’s knock of 60 helped Otley to 243-9 on Saturday with Rawdon then bowled out for 157.

Otley’s closest pursuers Follifoot had both Nat Cutts (51) and James Orton (51no) hitting half-centuries as they made 235 all out before Addingham were sent packing for 134 all out, Joshua Cutts taking 5-43.

Ilkley are another two points back in third after they overhauled Adel’s 176-8 with a reply of 180-7 in which James Hall stayed unbeaten with 55.

North Leeds are then two points further back in fourth after Tom Hudson’s 5-11 caused havoc for Collingham who were all out for 100 before North Leeds eased to 103-7.

There is then a ten-point gap to fifth-placed Bilton who had Pool back in the clubhouse for 170 before making 171-5 with Ryan Bradshaw contributing 55.

Last year’s runners-up Burley sit fourth-bottom after an 18-run loss at Horsforth whose 134 in which Bailey Worcester made 67 just bettered the Burley reply of 116.