OTLEY Cricket Club are going back to the future as part of their 200th anniversary celebrations.

The Pool Road club, formed in 1820, are holding a single-wicket competition this summer - an event involving all-rounders that was more prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s.

Otley CC chairman Chris Smith said: "We are hoping to invite 16 elite cricketers to play for a cash prize, which should be an attraction.

"Somebody might fancy winning a few hundred pounds and we may even draw Bradford League chaps in. The bigger, the better."

It is believed that Otley are only the third club to reach the 200-year milestone after Mexborough and Heworth.

Smith added: "We have a proud history and we are hoping to have various celebrations going on, such as a 200th anniversary dinner at the end of March and we we also be playing a strong Aire-Wharfe League XI."

Dates for the single-wicket competition and the prestige match against their league have yet to be decided but one definite date for the diary is Otley CC's 200th anniversary dinner.

That will be held on Friday, March 27, at Otley Rugby Club (7.30pm) and tickets are available at £25 from Chris on 07801 203977.

Otley CC originally played where the cemetery is now and moved to their current Cross Green ground in 1862, becoming founder members of the Aire-Wharfe League in 1893, having played friendlies prior to that date.

They moved to the Yorkshire Council League in 1919 but re-joined the Aire-Wharfe League in 1936, winning A Division the following season.

Since then Otley have been champions on 14 more occasions - 1939, 1941, 1943, 1974, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019.

Meanwhile, the Waddilove Cup has been captured 14 times - 1942, 1943, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1972, 1976, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2014, 2016 and 2018, meaning that they did the coveted double in 1943, 1987, 1988, 2014 and 2018.

Mike Bailey, Barrie Crighton, Ray Beadle, John Harker, Steve Davies and Smith himself have played large roles in the success on the field, after the earlier efforts of Daphne, Bishop, Warburton, Bolton and Scarr.

League sponsor Smith (via Greenholme Carpets and Flooring), who was made a life member of the league this winter, has translated his talents into success off the field as a driven club chairman.

He admitted: "We have been a successful club throughout the years and success breeds success.

"Our captain James Davies seems to be able to pull the calibre of player in that seems to be able to win things.

"We have a good infrastructure but it is perhaps not as good as people think. Last season the first team did tremendously well in winning the league and the second team won the Birtwhistle Cup but it is getting harder and harder to get lads to play.

"It is not all wine and roses - there is a lot of hard work that goes into it."

Davies revealed: "It is a difficult task recruiting players because the first thing that a lot of people ask is 'How much are you going to pay us?'.

"Basically we don't have any money to offer players. It is a self-funding club so we have to raise all of the money ourselves and the money that we get over the bar goes straight into the club.

"The players that you do recruit all want a role in the team and finding a balance between signing new players and pushing your youngsters on is a constant battle and it is a very difficult balancing act.

"You want to be competitive and successful but you want to push your younger players on.

"While we have been successful in the last few years it is difficult to offer the younger lads a permanent spot in the team."