Bilton CC’s former Yorkshire ace Vic Craven has taken the decision to retire from cricket.
The news comes as another blow to the Airedale & Wharfedale Division One outfit, who have struggled for consistency in recent weeks and plummeted as low as ninth place in the league table last Saturday, despite having begun 2017 with genuine hopes of mounting a title challenge.
“Vic has a young family and to be completely honest, he’s just not playing as well as he used to,” said Bilton skipper and long-time friend Ryan Bradshaw.
“He’s played an awful lot of cricket and he feels he needs a break from the game, which we’re willing to support, although I’ll be trying to tempt him back at some point.
“He’s a real class act and has been brilliant for Bilton.”
Bradshaw’s men have struggled for batting points this season and the skipper says this is where the blame lies for an underwhelming league campaign.
“Our bowling attack has been excellent, particularly our leg spinners Mustahsan Ali Shah and Kiel van Vollenhoven, but the batting just hasn’t been there,” he added.
“We’ve not been at the races. We’ve massively underperformed in the league, and it’s just not good enough.”
In their first fixture since Craven’s exit, Bilton managed to get back to winning ways when they overcame Otley away from home.
Batting first, Mustahsan Ali Shah’s knock of 61 was the highlight of the visitors’ 192/9 from their 50 overs.
Shah also impressed with the ball, taking 3-26, but it was Kiel van Vollenhoven who finished up as star of the show, returning figures of 5-46 as Otley were bowled out for 160.
First division Leaders Beckwithshaw bounced back from their first league defeat of 2017, easing to a six-wicket success at home to Horsforth.
A five-wicket haul from James Lilley helped bundle the away team out with just 104 on the scoreboard.
Captain Alex Lilley then hit 50 in response as the defending champions made it to 107/4 inside 25 overs.
Rock-bottom Collingham & Linton are now 47 points adrift of safety following a five-wicket defeat to Burley-in-Wharfedale.
Kuda Samunderu continued his recent good form, making 47 to top-score in the strugglers’ 135 all out.
Christopher Bridge and Toby Jacklin each bagged a brace of wickets as the hosts replied, but they eventually knocked off the required runs.
In Division Two, Follifoot dropped down to fourth place when they were bowled out for 125 chasing Tong Park Esholt’s 184/9.