1st XI North Leeds CC (A)
OCC looked to get their title challenge back on track with a trip to North Leeds, a side who had done OCC in favour by beating Burley just 2 weeks earlier.
Ben Morley lost the toss and OCC would field first, some enforced changes with the absence of Stephen Brown and an injury to Nathan Goldthorp meant that the bowling looked a little lighter than normal.
However, it was the two senior players who stepped up as James Davies and Chris Thompson got OCC off and running as they blasted out the 4 of the first 5 batters inside 12 overs for just 23 runs. Davies bowling the opener and Thompson following suit as he rattled the stumps in consecutive overs, as both bowlers found assistance from the pitch.
When Davies picked up their overseas player OCC would be hopeful of bowling the hosts out for under a hundred, but some extremely fortunate shots from their number 6 saw them add some vital runs through the middle overs. Drinks arrived with the score on 70-5 as OCC looked to press home their advantage and it was Sam Kellet (2-23) who picked up 2 wickets in the first over after drinks to further pile the misery on the home side and when Ben Morley picked up a wicket the score had quickly become 75-8.
Morley then came out on the wrong side of a family duel as he saw his bowling despatched by his brother, as North Leeds added some vital runs.
The return of Davies and Thompson wrapped the innings up as Thompson finished with 3-40 and Davies 4-27 and the home side were all out for 115 inside 33 overs.
In an unprecedented incident in league cricket, OCC would be forced to take to the field for 20 minutes to bat whilst the teas were finished.
Much to the protestation of the OCC players, Ben Morley and Jack Martin would have to bat for around 5 overs. Expectedly the North Leeds bowlers came out firing knowing they would get a feed and a rest before getting a second blast at OCC batsmen and when Ben Morley was adjudged LBW with the score on 2, OCCs fears were realised. Tea was taken as OCC sat on 10-1.
James Davies and Martin moved on untroubled after the interval as they picked the right balls to score from, adding 61 for the second wicket before another LBW saw Martin dismissed for a well-made 29.
Once again the introduction of spin had the OCC middle order in dire straits as Hester and Thompson both fell to spin in the same over as another LBW and a poor shot from Thompson saw OCC fall to 64-4.
Matthew O’Grady and Davies would also fall LBW, with the latter looking extremely unfortunate to be dismissed for a battling 33.
OCC looked fragile as they had gone from 63-1 to 77-6 and the 38 runs needed looking extremely hard to come by. Youngsters Sam Kellett and Nathan Goldthorp dug deep and once Kellett settled he took the attack to the home side as he blazed 32 from 23 balls including 3 fours and 3 sixes, including consecutive sixes to finish the game as OCC got home by 4 wickets. Kellet completing a successful day for himself and with Goldthorp’s 6 from 44 balls serving to settle a rocking ship, Morley would be thankful for his part.
1st XI Bilton CC (H)
Bilton were the visitors to Cross Green on a wet day which followed a wet week, with a green surface greeting the players play would start on time as always at OCC.
Ben Morley won the toss and elected to bowl first. The surface looked like it would benefit the bowlers and there were certainly some demons in the pitch early but the visiting openers rode their luck and played some shots in moving on to 53 without loss. James Davies picked up his first wicket of the day but further wickets proved hard to come by as the wicket played better than expected, and it was Chris Thompson (3-48) in his second spell who picked up the second as the visitors looked well placed at 112-2.
OCC didn’t let off though and the drinks break worked well for them as they turned the screw as the wicket worsened, Thompson picking up a further 2 wickets as the visitors went from 145-2 to 150-7 and with Davies returning he added a further 3 to his tally.
When Davies finished his spell with he had picked up his third 5 wicket haul of the season, his figures were 5-49 from 15 overs.
Some late blows from Thompson’s last over pushed the visitors up to a score of 192, and OCC would have been disappointed not to restrict the scoring further but hadn’t helped their cause with 32 extras
James Davies & Ben Morley got the chase underway and they were looking more than assured against the seamers early on even with a couple of nasty balls of the surface.
Morley moved easily to 21 from as many balls before having his leg stump pinned back by the opener.
The introduction of the spinners spelt trouble for OCC as some huge turn cause no end of problems for the new batsmen. Davies had made 39 when he was dismissed and with score on 70-3 the game was in the balance.
Stephen Brown, Dave Hester and Matthew O’Grady all made double figures but couldn’t go on to find a big score as OCC were reduced to 127-6. Nathan Goldthorp (18 from 47 balls) and Jack Martin (1 from 25 balls) stuck around for a long time adding a vital 20 but then end came quickly as 147-6 soon became 152-9 with Goldthorp been left reeling from a poor piece of running which saw him run out at a crucial time, but ultimately a total too big to chase had caused their downfall.
OCC were all out for 160 in pursuit picking up just 6 points.
1st XI Colton CC (H)
OCC faced strugglers Colton at Cross Green with one eye on the surrounding weather.
Skipper Ben Morley lost the toss and the visitors chose to bowl on a new wicket but one which looked to have retained a fair amount of moisture from the rain in the morning.
The new opening partnership of James Davies and Ben Morley remained and they looked assured throughout the initial stages scoring at a good rate.
Davies was playing the dominant role whilst Morley struggled to pick up the pace of the pitch before eventually cutting loose with some powerful shots. Morley eventually fell foul of the surface as he had his middle stump pegged back with a scooting delivery, he had added 25 of the 53 for the first wicket.
Chris Thompson remained at no.3 and he soon settled in alongside Davies, with the latter once again taking the lead as he scored with ease. Thompson played some nice shots as he mixed attacked and defence well but would have been disappointed to be dismissed weakly with a half-hearted shot through the leg side, where he was caught for 27. A second strong partnership of 64 had left OCC looking at a big total as they sat on 117-2 at halfway.
Davies completed a solid half century but he was dismissed for 59 as a leading edge found its way to the fielder at point. With 23 overs remaining Matthew O’Grady joined Stephen Brown and these two would need to build a solid partnership to ensure a competitive total was posted.
O’Grady set about the visitors bowling attack as he plundered the ball to all parts of the ground, his chanceless knock consisted of 11 fours and whilst Brown remained at the other end he could only watch as O’Grady rolled back the years with an innings of brilliance.
Brown’s contribution of 35 to the partnership of 104 could have easily been forgotten but Brown was instrumental in providing the basis of O’Grady’s onslaught. O’Grady was finally bowled for 61 from 55 balls with OCC 229-4 with 8 overs remaining.
Brown completed his half century in 70 balls before falling to his off-spinning counterpart for 53. Prior to his dismissal he had chance to take part in farcical run out with Dave Hester, one which saw Hester floundering mid-pitch as the keeper took the bails; the OCC innings petered out in this vein as players struggled on the drying surface with
OCC posting an strong total of 258-9 from their 50 overs
Colton’s batting line up would need to fire against a confident bowling attack to make for an interesting chase, but when Thompson struck in his second over with prodigious movement off the pitch it was clear this would be no easy chase.
A partnership of 42 for the second wicket kept OCC on their toes and it was Brown who found the breakthrough, with Brown following up in his next over to notch up his 30th wicket of the campaign.
With Colton struggling at 54-3 they began to counter the OCC bowling and changes a plenty eventually saw George Hanson pick up a wicket in his first over.
The striking continued however and Brown felt the brunt of this before having the last laugh as he picked up the final wicket of his spell and finished with 3-71 from 15 overs. Colton were now 127 for 5 and the return of Thompson ensured that they would never trouble the OCC total. He found the surface much to his liking, moving the ball both ways and in doing so he picked up the top scorer and then ripped through the tail to finish with 5 for 29 in 12 overs.
Davies brought the innings to a close as he returned for 3 balls to clean bowled the no.11 and leave Colton all out for 170 securing a solid 20 points for the home side.
Some chance results involving the teams around OCC saw them make ground on the leaders Beckwithshaw and 2nd placed Burley reducing their leads to 21 points & 3 points respectively.
1st XI Burley CC (A)
The halfway point of the season saw OCC face Burley for the first time in the league.
Skipper Ben Morley lost the toss and on a balmy day, the hosts unsurprisingly elected to bat. A decision which looked to be fully justified when after the first 2 overs OCC found themselves up against it, as James Davies & Chris Thompson were despatched for 13 & 14 respectively in their first overs.
However, as great bowlers do they bounced back quickly and picked up a wicket apiece in their next overs as 27-0 soon became 27-2, and with both bowlers finding good rhythm Burley struggled to score. Stephen Brown picked up a wicket in his first over as he replaced a flagging Davies.
It was Thompson who did the damage in the middle overs as he picked up a further wicket from his probing line with the help of a smart catch from Paul Nicholson and then removed Burley’s danger man first ball LBW with a seaming delivery that would have crashed in to middle. When he removed the Burley skipper in the following over, the hosts had crumbled to 60-6.
Some counter attacking by the Burley tail saw them add precious runs but Davies (3-40) returned to pick up a couple of cheap wickets alongside Brown (2-18) and George Hanson (1-1 from 2 balls) brought the innings to a close. Thompson’s devastating spell of 13-1-41-4 had ensured Burley could only post 124 all out.
OCC knew they would face a torrid time in pursuit of 125 for victory and so it proved, when the revised opening pair of James Davies & Ben Morley found themselves 0-1 after 4 balls, a score which could have been made worse had the keeper taken a regulation chance from Morley’ second ball.
Chris Thompson stepped up to no.3 as OCC looked to steady the ship with both players watchful as the Burley bowling & fielding unit piled the pressure on, they soaked up this pressure and added 54 for the 2nd wicket before Thompson was adjudged LBW for 19.
The enigmatic Stephen Brown survived a close shout for LBW the very next ball but he put this behind him as he counter attacked with aplomb, playing a wide array of shots all around the pitch, but came unstuck when bowled around his legs for 31. Morley had remained steadfast throughout and his 27 was vital and when he was dismissed with the score still 40 short, some nervous moments ensued. However, it was once again Matthew O’Grady, with his years of experience, who took the team home as his 22 not out (3 fours 1 six) meant OCC picked up a vital 19 points.
1st XI Guiseley CC (A)
Otley visited newly promoted Guiseley looking to get their season back on track, after last week’s disappointing result against Beckwithshaw.
Ben Morley had no hesitation in batting on what looked like a bowlers paradise and James Davies took full advantage as he picked up a wicket with the first ball of the game. The ball taking a chunk out of the surface before hitting the shoulder of the bat and being caught smartly by Chris Thompson.
Nathan Goldthorp (1-20) couldn’t quite find his rhythm and a fusion of a slower short ball in the first over saw the opening batter despatch the new ball out of the ground.
Thankfully the ball came back and Goldthorp redeemed himself as h had the opener caught behind, Davies had added a further wicket in the meantime as the hosts were 15-3 inside 6 overs.
A brief lull in wickets saw Guiseley add 21 for the 4th wicket before the introduction of Thompson who made the breakthrough, Davies followed suit in the next over as he finished his spell with 3-36.
At 48-5 OCC would be keen to wrap up the innings quickly on a tough looking wicket, but the home side rallied and some good battles between bowler and batsman ensued.
Thompson came out on the right side of the battle as he picked up the Guiseley overseas and followed up 4 balls later with another wicket.
Stephen Brown (1-10) had some close LBWs turned down before eventually breaking the Umpires resolve with another solid LBW shout.
Thompson wrapped the innings up in 2 consecutive overs, as he finished with excellent figures of 5-18 from 8.4 as the hosts had gone from 82-5 to 87 all out.
The total was well below par even on the surface, but OCC would need to take great care in chasing down the total with Guiseley having the bowlers to exploit the surface.
It was only the 3rd over when Dave Hester fell without scoring and 3 overs later when James Davies suffered the same fate as he looked to counter attack.
At 6-2 OCC would have a few nervous people again with last weeks game in mind.
Ben Morley looked to add some momentum with some strong boundaries but he departed having add 14; Thompson added a quick 8 before being dismissed and OCC were floundering at 37-4.
Brown stood firm as he took it upon himself to be the lynchpin, he was Joined by Matthew O’Grady, relishing batting at 6, and he proved his experience, blasting the ball to all parts to quickly change the outlook of the game.
O’Grady hit 7 fours and 1 six as he raced to 35 not out from just 30 balls belying the pitch conditions, which had seen all other players struggle throughout the day.
Brown’s contribution was not to be understated, his 20 not out meant he and O’Grady added 51 for the 5th wicket and saw OCC over the line for an 18 point victory.
1st XI Beckwithshaw CC (H)
Otley welcomed reigning champions Beckwithshaw to Cross Green for a crucial clash between first and third.
Ben Morley lost the toss and Beckwithshaw elected to bat first as they looked to put OCC under early pressure and they did just that as the openers batted with disregard for the bowling playing a wide array of shots all around the crease.
They soon rattled along to 43 before they lost their first wicket and that signalled a halt in the scoring as OCC spinners took keen hold.
John Brough picked up the second wicket as he had the other opener stone-dead LBW playing a reverse sweep and when Stephen Brown spun one through the gate OCC had recovered to reduce the visitors to 50-3.
Some counter attacking from the middle order pushed the total along but it wasn’t long before Brown was back in the game, firstly picking up and LBW before an even closer LBW was turned down very next ball.
The visitors had the last 2 recognised batsman at the crease with the score on 96-4.
Brough and Brown combined again to remove these two players and it looked like OCC could really drive home the advantage, but some late blows from the tale added vital runs and when Brough picked up a further 2 wickets with some smart glove work from Paul Nicholson, he finished with smart figures of 4-51 from 13 overs. Brown was equally as good as he returned 15-1-54-3.
Chris Thompson wrapped up the innings for 167, as he picked up 2-5.
OCC would be more than happy to restrict the visitors to what looked a very chaseable total.
Dave Hester got the reply off to the best if starts as he hit boundaries and raced to 20 in short time, Ben Morley looked equally at ease as he hit 2 fours before being caught in two minds and being caught at cover.
Hester followed soon after as the good start soon became a tricky situation.
James Davies and Brown repaired some of the damage as OCC moved to 80-2 and looked in charge of the game, but the introduction of the spinners brought the same results as the first innings as he picked up Davies with a terrible delivery but then proceeded to bowl with control and picked up a further 3 wickets. OCC were then 110 for 6 when Thompson was adjudged out from a catch that looked not to have made it to the fielder, but the Umpires conferred and the decision was given.
OCC soon subsided after this and were comprehensively beaten by 38 runs.
1st XI Rawdon CC (A)
A scorching Saturday saw OCC look to continue their solid league form with a 5th consecutive league win against Rawdon.
Skipper Ben Morley won the toss, electing to bat first much to the joy of the visiting side. Dave Hester wouldn’t be so happy just minutes later, as he was dismissed by the very first ball of the game.
Morley (20) and James Davies steadied the ship, with Morley looking dangerous as he played some expansive drives on a good-looking surface, unfortunately he was caught at square leg, as OCC found themselves 31-2 in just 5.2 overs.
Davies (10) soon followed and at 36-3 OCC were looking unsteady.
Stephen Brown was joined by Chris Thompson, with Thompson playing in the lead role in a partnership of 46 as he hit 5 fours in his 29, but he too fell to some extremely poor shot selection.
Brown was eventually undone by a magnificent piece of fielding by the lone slip, right on the brink of the drinks break. Brown had grafted hard but lacked his usually fluency in making 24 from 56 balls and OCC would be disappointed to be precariously placed at drinks with the score on 111-5.
Matthew O’Grady added 29 with Brown and the same again with Nathan Goldthorp, as he injected some tempo with a well-made 31, but he became another player to make start as he was dismissed LBW with 18 overs remaining.
Goldthorp found a partner in the returning Jack Martin, and the two of them put OCC back in the realms of posting a defendable total. Martin was the dominator, as he scored quickly and punished the bad ball, making 36 from 40 balls with 5 fours. The pair adding 53 for the 7th wicket as OCC moved to 192 with 10 overs remaining
Just as OCC looked set to kick on in the final ten overs, Goldthorp was caught on the edge for 26 and Martin followed soon after.
OCC struggled in these final overs and eventually succumbed for 216 with 3 overs remaining. A total which looked well below par on a good cricket wicket.
The strength of the bowling and fielding unit has pulled OCC through some tricky patches in recent weeks and would have to do so again.
Goldthorp’s first over was expensive, as he was hit for 3 consecutive boundaries but replied with aplomb picking up the Overseas player very next ball; before Davies joined in next over, as he removed the other opener without scoring.
OCC had a chance to turn the screw at this stage but for once their catching let them down with 3 chances going down in a matter of minutes.
Davies continued with determination and his just rewards came with his 2nd wicket with Davies then turning provider as he took a smart catch off Goldthorp reducing the hosts to 51-4. Goldthorp finishing his 7 over stint with 2-37.
Stephen Brown was brought in to the fold and eventually settled in to his rhythm and he picked up wickets in consecutive overs, firstly breaking up a stubborn partnership with a peach of a delivery and then accounting for the hosts danger-man caught in the deep by Hester.
Thompson (1-26) added another wicket as OCC reduced the home side to 82-7, with game looking all but done.
Rawdon had other ideas as they added 64 for the 8th wicket and with the home support were starting to rally behind their side it looked set for a close finish, but that man Brown backed up his intense battle with the opposition off-spinner as he claimed his scalp and put the tie beyond doubt.
Davies returned to complete his allotment of 15 overs and picked up a 3rd wicket, taking his tally to 14 wickets in the last 3 league games; Davies finished with 3-36.
Brown deservedly picked up his 19th league wicket of the campaign and brought proceedings to a close finishing with 4-47 in 14.4 overs, as OCC won by 64 run.
1st XI Ilkley CC (H)
A return to league action for the 1st XI saw them take on mid-table side and local rivals Ilkley.
A poor forecast once again dominated proceedings, but with the covers firmly in place the wicket stayed dry and play commenced on time.
Skipper Ben Morley won the toss and elected to field on a day where rain was bound to play some part.
James Davies continued his fine form with the ball picking up early wickets with the help of Paul Nicholson behind the stumps. Davies was ably supported by Nathan Goldthorp as he got in the action and within 15 overs the visitors were 30-6. Davies had picked up 5 wickets as he decimated the middle order including 3 players for zero.
Some lower order fight came from Ilkley’s no.8 as he added 44 & a fifty partnership with the tail before the return of Goldthorp and a third catch for Sam Kellett broke the partnership; Goldthorp finished with 3-34 from 10 overs.
Davies returned and capped off a great spell with a sixth wicket, as he returned figures of 12.2-1-38-6.
Although OCC could be happy with dismissing the hosts for 136 the total could have been much reduced, with another 23 extras conceded and a wicket from a no-ball, OCC have plenty to work on through the mid-season.
Chasing a low total can prove tricky and when Morley (third ball), Hester & Brown had all been dismissed inside the first 10 overs, OCC found themselves in a precarious position much like the Cup fixture the previous week at 18-3. Star man Davies and Chris Thompson set about repairing some of the damage as they added 40 for the 4th wicket with some good shots all around the wicket before Thompson was controversially adjudged LBW.
Davies remained unfazed and a couple of rain breaks interrupted the flow of the game, as OCC were still some way off the target.
Davies added 28 with Matthew O’Grady and a further 20 with Kellett before he was 7th man out for 41, as he fell on the wrong side of another unusual decision. OCC were still 26 adrift of the target with 3 wickets remaining.
Kellett once again proved his worth to the side and enhanced his reputation as “the finisher”, as he hit 6 fours in a superb knock of 34 not out, as he hauled OCC over the line and ensured they picked up 17 points
OCC had beaten the rain and with others in the league missing out due to the weather, OCC move up to third in the league 23 points off top spot.
1st XI Horsforth CC (A)
The Sunday saw skipper Ben Morley once again win the toss but deciding to have a bowl as OCC found themselves on the same wickets as the previous day and he would be hoping the bowling unit could once again restrict the hosts to a low total.
James Davies (2-26) started the ball rolling, as he continued from the day before and made the openers look clueless with some prodigious movement off the seam.
OCC controlled the pace of the game through the early stages and although the scoring rate was slow, Horsforth survived and accumulated.
Wickets would fall at regular intervals from 42-1 as Stephen Brown picked up 3-31 (12 wides) from his 9 overs, Nathan Goldthorp chipped in with 3 late wickets finishing with 3-24 and when Davies picked up their top scorer the hosts were all out for 146.
OCC hadn’t helped themselves in conceding 24 extras and would have preferred a lower total to chase on a what had become a dreadful surface.
So it proved, as the chase got off to the worst of starts with Dave Hester clean bowled in the 3rd over and when Morley & Davies were both harshly adjudged LBW the score quickly became 35-3.
Not a single player could impose themselves against some good bowling and with helpful conditions the hosts reduced OCC to 75-7.
Matthew O’Grady gave OCC some brief hope with a solid 20 from 41 balls but his dismissal signalled the end with OCC being dismissed for 103.
1st XI Horsforth CC (A)
A double weekend versus Horsforth saw the 1st XI start the defence of their Waddilove Cup title on the Sunday and continue their league march on the Saturday
Saturday’s league fixture saw OCC elect to bat first after winning the toss but when the innings got underway the pitch looked to have a few demons about it and some poor running didn’t help their cause as Ben Morley failed to make a third run and was run out OCC found themselves 23-2 after 12 overs.
James Davies and Stephen Brown set about repairing the early damage and they added 61 for the 3rd wicket. Both batsman being more watchful than usual as the wicket continued to offer assistance to the bowlers.
The introduction of the spinners saw the demise of Brown as he looked to play against the spin and was caught behind for 26; he was soon followed by Davies (34) as the innings took a nose dive and OCC soon found themselves 128-6. Chris Thompson had battled hard for 19 from 44 balls and Nathan Goldthorp had made a similar 20 from 42 but when he was dismissed with the score on 147, OCC would struggle to attain the 3rd batting point as they were eventually dismissed for 159.
OCC would need to be at the top of their game to defend a moderate total.
Some early fireworks between Davies and the Horsforth opener fired up the side, as Davies continually beat the bat with some excellent seam bowling. Controversy reigned over the first dismissal as Horsforth’s opener refused to walk for a regulation catch with the umpires having to shepherd him from the crease to the changing rooms.
This started a procession as Davies found some unplayable areas as he single-handedly reduced the hosts from 45-1 to 60-6 with keeper Paul Nicholson playing a major part in 4 of the 5 dismissals.
Davies finished his magical 15 over spell with 5-50
Horsforth’s middle order provided some resistance at this stage as they took the attack to OCC and as the score edged over 100 there were some nervous spectators. Goldthorp (3-17) returned and picked up a wicket to break the partnership and when Thompson (1-5) removed their top scorer, Horsforth had slipped from 119 for 7 to 123 all out with Goldthorp picking up the final wicket and OCC securing a 17 point win.
1st XI Collingham CC (A)
OCC travelled to perennial strugglers Collingham, a side without a win in 2017.
With a poor forecast for the mid-afternoon, OCC won the toss and elected to bowl.
Nathan Goldthorp recovered from serious illness in the week to spearhead the bowling line-up and he got just rewards early on as he removed the Collingham opener with a plumb LBW. Goldthorp ploughed a lone furrow uphill in to the wind and was unfortunate not to take further wickets.
The scoring rate was slow as the hosts looked content to survive and with the rain falling steadier the umpires made the decision that play should be halted.
With the weather set in the overs ticked down and an early tea was taken.
Once the rain abated and some moderately enthusiastic mopping up was done, play could resume with OCC looking to bowl Collingham out in quick time.
The rain meant there were only 35 overs remaining in the game, of which Collingham could bat 30 of them if they so wished, this would leave OCC a maximum of 5 overs to rub off whatever total was set.
Expecting the hosts to come out guns blazing with 9 wickets in hand looking to force a result, skipper Ben Morley turned to Goldthorp once more, but it wasn’t to be as scoring rate continued in much the same vain as earlier.
Goldthorp picked up 2 further wickets as he finished his full allotment of overs with 3-41. Morley (1-11) and George Huntley (2-25) added wickets and ensured OCC collected 3 bonus points
As the innings ticked by it looked unlikely the hosts would even make 150 and even when they picked up their second valuable bonus point with 2 overs remaining, amazingly, the declaration didn’t come.
They finished their innings on 157-6.
OCC batted for 5 overs and moved untroubled to 22-0 as the game petered out in to a draw, with OCC picking up 6 point.
1st XI North Leeds CC (H)
Otley’s second home fixture of the year saw them take on a North Leeds side reeling from 3 straight defeats, as OCC looked to bounce back from lasts week disappointment at Bilton.
Skipper Ben Morley once again faced the unenviable task of deciding whether to bat or bowl, but instead resorted to losing the toss to save having to make that decision.
OCC were asked to bat first and Dave Hester duly obliged as he capitalised on his form, scoring freely and quickly as the visitors scrambled around for bowlers following an injury to their opener.
Morley found the going much tougher and was struggling to get to grips with the off-spinner, who opened from the far end, and was lucky to survive a dropped chance as he rode his luck through the early part.
Once Morley cut loose however, he scored with ease and style moving from 2 to 50 in the time Hester had added just 7 runs and their partnership was worth 112 when Morley tried to continue his dominance only to be caught easily at midwicket for 67 (8 fours, 3 sixes).Hester continued unperturbed as a slight collapse saw 3 wickets fall as the OCC middle order made starts but didn’t capitalise.
When Hester was finally dismissed for 72 he would have been disappointed with his shot and not cashing in for a big hundred, but he had played exactly the innings his skipper had asked of him.
Chris Thompson hit some lusty blows in a quickfire 40 from 34 balls as OCC pushed their total above the 250 mark, finally finishing on 276-8 from their 50 overs which contained 42 overs of spin.
The ball had turned throughout the first innings as spin dominated proceedings but it would be Nathan Goldthorp (1-32) and James Davies (1-42) who would get OCC underway. Goldthorp struck first but Davies’ lack of luck continued as he saw a chance go down; whereas Stephen Brown managed to cling on to Goldthorpe’s delivery at second slip.
The introduction of off-spinner Brown with the ball ensured OCC continued to take wickets and the visitors never looked like troubling the total. Brown picked up 2 wickets before changing ends as Thompson (1-22) picked up an LBW in between.
George Hanson (1-16) got involved as he picked up a solitary wicket and bowled with good control, before Davies returned to pick up an easy caught and bowled chance before dropping another the next ball.
Brown took a smart catch off his own bowling but also dropped a caught and bowled as OCC made hard work of finishing the job. When they did though, it was that man Brown, as he picked up consecutive 5 wicket hauls finishing with 5-61 from 12.2 overs.
The visitors were dismissed for 177 in 43.2 overs as OCC picked up a full 20-point haul.
1st XI Bilton CC (A)
The 1st XI travelled to Bilton, where they had seen much success in the previous seasons, as they looked to build on last week’s comprehensive victory.
Skipper Ben Morley won the toss and elected to bowl first and within minutes he was celebrating as James Davies removed Bilton’s danger man first ball. When Nathan Goldthorp struck in the next over OCC had the hosts 0-2 with both opening bowlers looking in great rhythm.
Davies was particularly accurate and he had the batsman in trouble almost every ball, when the batsman did manage to get a bat on one, the edge was dropped in the slips. This let off was capitalised on by the hosts, who led a charmed life but also grafted out runs as they looked to repair the damage. Davies (1-33) and Goldthorp (1-8) both picked up a wicket a piece but could and should have been more.
Stephen Brown found some purchase on the surface and as he settled in to his spell he was the man to break the partnership, which had been worth 50. Brown continued to probe and wickets were then to fall at regular intervals, however Bilton’s no.3 was to remain defiant despite numerous chances going begging and it was only his 79 that allowed Bilton to post a defendable total until he was eventually bowled by Brown.
Brown finished with excellent figures of 5-57 from his 14.5 overs as he wrapped up the innings with his 4th LBW.
OCC had not helped themselves in the field but could be happy to restrict the hosts to 153.
Dave Hester continued his fine form as he set off in pursuit of the total almost single-handedly, and along with Morley added 32 for the first wicket, but when Morley departed a procession of wickets followed and only Brown (31) was able to negate the double spin attack.
OCC soon found themselves 89-5 as Brown was dismissed and with Chris Thompson at the crease it needed someone to hang around with him if they were to successfully chase down the total.
As the ball began to turn more than ever the OCC batsman found going tough, as the last 4 wickets fell for just 18 runs. Thompson left the not-out batsman with 31 as OCC finished 128 all out.
1st XI Colton Institute CC (A)
A new season began (we don't count last week!) for Otley 1st XI as they faced 1st Division newcomers Colton Institute, a game which saw the introduction of 3 fresh faces signed in the close season.
All-rounders Stephen Brown from Kirkstall and Nathan Goldthorp from Rawdon, alongside top order batsman Jack Martin from Knaresborough Forest, a warm welcome to these guys who will surely add to the talent pool in the 1st XI.
New captain for the 2017 season Ben Morley followed in the footsteps of his predecessor and lost
the toss, but with Colton choosing to bat first he wouldn’t have been too disappointed.
Goldthorp (1-23) and Chris Thompson (1-30) opened the bowling on a changeable surface and whilst Goldthorp found some good early areas, Thompson couldn’t find a rhythm and soon made way for James Davies.
Davies struck almost immediately as he had the Colton opener caught in the covers and when a couple of chances went missing soon after, Otley could have found themselves in a strong position.
However, Davies kept plugging away and found rewards, striking twice in two balls, with Paul Nicholson holding on to one before Davies’ trademark in-swinger accounted for Colton’s no.4 LBW.
Davies picked up 3-9 in his 7 over spell.
Thompson returned at the other end, finding better control and soon picked up his first wicket of the campaign.
George Hanson (1-14) replaced Davies from the scoreboard end and took a wicket in his first over smartly caught by Nicholson and skipper Morley (1-5) was making the most of his plethora of bowling options as the introduction of Morley himself and off-spinner Brown (1-36) also bore fruit.
Wickets fell at steady intervals with John Brough (1-16), fresh from a winter break, picking up his first wicket of the season.Nicholson collected his fourth victim of the day with a stumping off the bowling of Goldthorp and Colton were eventually dismissed for 139, thanks in main to some lusty blows from the lower order.
The departure of Jamie Pickering in the winter saw skipper Morley with a new look opening partner in Dave Hester. Morley survived an early scare when a standard forward defensive shattered his bat, a large chunk
falling towards the stumps and almost disturbing the wickets, worrying the Otley faithful who were convinced he’d been dismissed
After this they moved on steadily and added a fifty partnership untroubled, both players making the most of any bad balls and also rotating the strike nicely.
Morley cut loose at this point and played some sumptuous strokes, treating the bowling with contempt as he hit the ball wherever he wanted. He brought up the hundred partnership with a huge six and he and Hester had nearly seen the team home, however he was dismissed in the next over for 63 as he looked for one expansive shot too
Hester had played a solid role at the other end, playing some good shots of his own square of the wicket. He was joined by Brown with OCC requiring just 30 to win; Brown survived some early poor shot selection before finally getting off and running with a couple of streaky boundaries. Hester was unfortunate to finish 49no and miss out on a much deserved half century but he could take great credit from his performance. Brown finished 18no as OCC got home by 9 wickets with 35 overs remaining.