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Ilkley back in Aire-Wharfe top flight after second-successive promotion
10:53am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Sport
Ilkley Cricket Club captain Nick Cockroft was beaming with pride as his side secured their second-successive promotion to return to the Aire-Wharfe League’s top flight.
They clinched the Division Two title with an emphatic ten-wicket victory over third-placed Knares- borough, who still had a chance of going up before Saturday’s match.
Ilkley skittled their opponents out for just 86 with Harry Wilson taking four wickets, then openers Jono Hughes and Alex Bailey eased them to their target.
Coming just a year after his side climbed out of Division Three, Cockroft was understand- ably pleased with his team’s performance.
“It was just a fantastic day for us to complete a fantastic season,” said Cockroft.
“We had a slow start to the campaign but we ended the second half of the year so strong which is really what you want to see.
“We had the chance of promotion the week before so the boys were really up for the game and we blew Knaresborough over in the end. We probably saved our best performance for the last day of the season.”
Ilkley’s neighbours Ben Rhydd- ing also recorded back-to-back promotions two years ago and have remained in Division One since.
And Cockroft hopes his side can emulate their local rivals success in the top flight.
“It’s a very similar pathway that we’ve followed to that of Ben Rhydding and we’ve got a very similar set of lads so we take great inspiration from what they’ve done,” said Cockcroft.
“We’ve got a good set of five or six young players who have come through into our first team and really improved over the last few years.
“But we know that this will be a massive step up for us and for me as a captain and I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s just really exciting and it will be good to go to all the big clubs. There are quite a few local derbies in there for us as well.
“But we’re a big club as well and we know that Ilkley should be in the top division because that’s we’re we belong.”
Asked what his targets were for next year, Cockroft added: “Our first aim is to make sure we stay up and that we consolidate our place in the league.
“Once we are able to do that then we can build from there and continue to progress in the next few years and hopefully go on to bigger things.”
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