Halifax Cricket League: Oxenhope’s lofty ambitions

Match report
Match report

OXENHOPE CC are pulling out of all the stops in an effort to cure their Premier Division acrophobia.

The men from The Flatt have looked comfortable in the upper reaches of the Halifax League’s lower sections, since their switch from the Bradford Central League in 2004, but trying to scale the heights in the top division has been more problematic.

This year it promises to be different as Oxenhope have climbed to fourth in the Premier on the back of a four-match winning run before Saturday’s washout against Warley.

Oxenhope finished third from bottom last season with 121 points but already have 58 this time, thanks to successive wins over SBCI, Sowerby St Peter’s, Thornton and Triangle.

Secretary Keith Yates said: “We’re certainly in our highest position since we came back into the Premier Division.

“The top four is where we want to be but whether we have the consistency to challenge for the title remains to be seen.

“It does look the most open league for a while but we have not played Illingworth or Booth yet (the top two) so there are some tough challenges ahead.”

Yates thought the win at Triangle - where his side had lost earlier in the Parish Cup - had been a breakthrough success for a largely young side led by wicketkeeper Josh Tetley.

If Oxenhope have been a susprise package so far, then so has their teenage bowling recruit Ben Howell.

Batsmen relieved to have seen off proven opening bowler Joel Fothergill having been letting down their guard and first change Howell has picked up 21 inexpensive wickets so far as part of an effective attack.

Yates believes Oxenhope have the potential to do even better if their batsmen can hit form, with big-hitting pair Joe Ousey and Lewis Hopkinson yet to get into their stride during the mixed weather of May and June.

Oxenhope go to Mytholmroyd on Saturday with seemingly bright prospects of extending their winning sequence against hosts who have lost their last four.