Aire-Wharfe: Champions Beckwithshaw slip up in Aire Wharfe curtain-raiser against Kirkstall

Beckwithshaw's Alex Lilley
Beckwithshaw's Alex Lilley

Reigning champions Beckwithshaw tasted defeat for the first time in more than a year on the opening day of the Aire-Wharfe season.

’Shaw went unbeaten throughout the 2013 summer but they succumbed to Kirkstall by six wickets on Saturday.

Ben Quick’s men suffered a late withdrawal of star bowler Alex Lilley due to injury and his absence hurt their bid against a strong all round team.

Beckwithshaw lost the toss and were asked to bat first, soon in trouble at 60-4 against a strong opening bowling attack.

It took an excellent knock of 48 from skipper Quick and Hussain (40) for a sixth wicket stand of 85 and debutant Chris Williams’ 34 to reach 202 all out.  

Kirkstall got off to an excellent start and at 90 - 2 were cruising to victory before Stuart Hudson took two wickets in three balls to dent the chase. However a couple of chances that didn’t go to hand saw Kirkstall complete victory. Quick said: “We were comprehensively beaten by a good Kirkstall outfit. To lose Lills before the game was a big blow especially with the form he is in but we were below par in all disciplines.

“We did well to post 202 after a disappointing start with the bat which gave us something to bowl at. However we bowled poorly something which was a real strength last year.

“Other than Hudson who bowled well and a solid display from Harry Lister we were very inconsistent as well as missing a couple of opportunities in the field.

“We know the standards we need to reach to be successful and hopefully we can address this.”

Title favourites Bilton also suffered an opening day defeat, with a 63-run loss at Steeton.

Steeton smashed 273-7 from their 50 overs with Mustahsan Ali Shah taking 4-84. Paul Cannings (46) and Sajid Ali (48) rescued Bilton from 60-3 but they eventually were all out for 210. Scorer Neil Dixon said: “A couple of minor injuries during the game restricted the bowling options and allowed Steeton to get probably 40 runs too many. We lost wickets too regularly and were bowled out with 10 overs left.”

In Division Two, Follifoot produced a strong performance to lay down their promotion hopes and beat Thackley by 46 runs.

James Orton hit 72 and wicketkeeper David Mahoney made 38 as ’Foot reached 209-8 batting first. In Thackley’s reply, Muhammad Bilal tooka destructive haul of 6-51 as Thackley fell for 163.

Bilton host 2012 winners Collingham on Saturday. Beckwithshaw welcome Ilkley and Follifoot travel to Colton in the league below.