Nick Robinson says Follifoot CC are backing themselves to stay in the Aire-Wharfe League title fight, with the consistency of that mix set to become clearer in the next three weeks, writes Lee Sobot.
Matt Williams’ team were one of only two top-flight sides to record a victory on another wet weekend, the Pannal Road outfit thrashing visiting Rawdon by 118 runs to consolidate third place in the table.
First division Leaders Otley saw their home clash against Bilton cancelled, allowing Follifoot to trim the gap between themselves and the defending champions to 18 points, with Ilkley currently in second.
Follifoot also enjoyed a fine start last season – winning seven of their first eight only to finish fourth-bottom – but Robinson believes that the team are stronger this time around with three acid tests coming over the next three weeks.
“We have got a big three weeks coming up,” the batsman said.
“We have got Horsforth this week and then we play Ilkley and then Otley so that’s the top four playing each other over the next three weeks.
“Without being too much of a politician about it, I think we will know a lot more in about two or three weeks time when those games have been played.
“But we are enjoying our cricket, we are confident, we are backing ourselves and the team spirit is brilliant so I think on our day we can give anyone a game.
“It’s just about keeping the same XI out on the pitch every weekend and making sure everyone is fit and firing.
“We are just enjoying being in the mix at the moment and the next few weeks will really deal with how much in the mix we actually are.”
Reflecting on the changes to the Follifoot side since last summer, Robinson added: “We started strongly last year and we have arguably strengthened this year.
“We have got an Australian wicket-keeper Lachlan Brown who is opening the batting and we signed Natt Cutts from Knaresborough.
“We have had a university lad called Chris Becker playing for us as well, batting at number four and one of the biggest differences has been Josh Cutts who opens the bowling.
“He only played a couple of games last year as he was at university but he is bowling really well and batting incredibly as well. Having him and Ishy [Istikhar Hussain] opening the bowling, that is a really good two-pronged attack and then Alex Fox is bowling nicely and backed up by Yasar Ali as well.
“The balance of the side is good and much better this year than it has been.”
Follifoot lost Saturday’s toss and were put into bat by Rawdon, who were left chasing a target of 190/6 thanks largely to the efforts of Josh Cutts (58 not out) and Robinson (42).
Josh Cutts then took 4-23 with the ball, while Hussain helped himself to 3-28 as the visitors were skittled for only 72.
Robinson said: “We were quite aware of the league positions going into the weekend and with the bit of weather around we knew it would give us a chance to claw a few points back on Otley.
“If we’d have got rained off on Saturday that would have been four out of eight games rained off for us so the weather has not been that kind to us so we were probably due a little bit of luck.
“Everyone was keen to play and actually the weather in Folllifoot seemed to be slightly better than maybe elsewhere.
“Although the conditions were wet they were perfectly safe and it was a good game of cricket in the end.”