Aire-Wharfe League: Promotion now a realistic aim for resurgent Beckwithshaw CC

Beckwithshaw CC skipper Pete Hotchkiss has led his team to four wins from their last five.
Beckwithshaw CC skipper Pete Hotchkiss has led his team to four wins from their last five.

Having been relegated from the Airedale & Wharfedale League's top-flight just a year after being crowned champions, Beckwithshaw CC did not make a great start to life in Division Two.

It took them a while to adjust and they lost all of their opening three completed games, winning just once in the first 11 rounds of 2019 fixtures - though a number of these matches did fall foul of the weather.

Pete Hotchkiss' team's form from July onwards has however been much-improved.

Their recent victory over Colton Institute was their fourth in their last five league outings and, despite finding themselves stuck in the relegation zone earlier in the campaign, the Killinghall Road outfit now sit just 12 points shy of second place and a promotion berth.

Their clash at Colton was the only fixture in all six divisions of the Aire-Wharfe League to reach a conclusion on Saturday.

And 'Shaw took full advantage of the inactivity of their second-division rivals, beating their hosts by nine runs to move up to sixth place in the table.

Hotchkiss' men looked to be in trouble when they slumped to 36/4, but some excellent middle and lower-order batting by Henry Hopkinson (69), Oli Hebblethwaite (46 not out) and James Blair-Holt (44) helped them recover to post 235/8.

Colton were always very much in the game during their reply, though Joe Holderness (4-39) and Hebblethwaite (3-41) did their best to slow the home team’s progress.

It looked as if the match was going to go right down to the wire, however the hosts’ last wicket eventually fell with them nine runs short of where they needed to be.

Next up for Hotchkiss and his charges, who are now in a good position to mount a genuine challenge for promotion back to Division One at the first attempt, is a home meeting with New Rover, on Saturday.