Ilkley Cricket Club thankful of play in 2020

Ilkley Cricket Club thankful of play in 2020



DESPITE having a poor finish to their campaign, Ilkley Cricket Club are just pleased the sport was able to finally get going in 2020.

Earlier this year, when the start of the season was pushed back to July 1, there were fears that cricket may not start at all.

Rejoice was felt by everyone when the government gave the recreational level of the game the green light some 17 days later, which meant a shortened version of the Aire-Wharfe League could commence.

There was only enough time for each team to play one another once, but it saved a lot of clubs potentially being on the brink with all the missing revenue from the summer.

Although, this was not much of a problem for Ilkley, secretary Brian Wheeler does admit the loss of income was started to be felt.

He said: “We were very pleased to be playing cricket at all. Most of the summer it looked like we wouldn’t play. Fortunately, we got started and completed half the season.

“Although, we did benefit from the business grant, with loss of the bar and car boots all year, we were significantly down on income.

“When cricket did start, the players did their best to make up for it after the game in the bar which was important.

“We are fortunate to be in a health position financially. We have always had good support from our members.”

On the pitch, Ilkley saw neighbours Otley dominate Division One, winning the title by a huge 39 points after winning all of their 11 matches.

As for the North-West Leeds side, they finished seventh, narrowly lower than their target.

Wheeler believes losing their last four games against teams higher up in the league cost them after a promising start.

He added: “The first team were playing well but the second half (of the season) was more disappointing.

“We played Otley, Rawdon and Saltire so we always thought it would be tough.

“By that time, we had already ensured our safety, which was the first priority.

“We anticipated that Otley would win the league. We were never serious challengers.

“Our expectations was to finish in the top half and we didn’t quite match that.

“The second team had a disappointing season as they only won one match. They were playing club’s first teams so, given that situation, they did quite well.

“The third team started and finished well but in the middle part they had a few defeats.

“We blooded through a few youngsters from the third and second teams, so we are anticipating if we recruit well next year, we will be in a strong position.”

Wheeler hopes a full campaign can take place when Ilkley next take to the field in 2021.

He said: “The restrictions have tightened recently, but sport has not been adversely effected.

“We hope with appropriate measures that we will get a full season next year and get back to a new normal.”

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