Odge job! Davey century sends Bilton into Waddilove Cup final
Odge Davey made a magnificent century in trying circumstances as Bilton knocked Otley off their perch to reach a first Waddilove Cup final this decade.
The batsman’s match-winning 112 not out rescued Bilton from a dismal start to the semi-final and laid the foundations to a 100-run victory at Otley’s Cross Green ground.
Captain Vic Craven was then the hero with the ball as he put the league leaders on the back foot with four wickets for 26 runs. Mustahsan Ali Shah backed up his captain’s performance with 3-18 to bowl Otley all out for just 144.
Bilton will now welcome 2013 cup winners Burley to their home ground for the final, to be played on August 9.
Thrilled Craven said: “We are obviously very, very pleased to get through. We have had the final at our ground this year and to get our team into it is a real bonus.
“There was a lot of support in the semi-final so I am sure there will be more in the final.
“This gives us a chance to end the season with some silverware.”
There could so easily have been a final at Bilton without home representation, though.
Bilton were rocked early by the Aire-Wharfe league leaders, with Craven, Saj Ali and Paul Cannings removed in the space of three runs.
But, arriving at the crease facing a hat-trick ball and with his side under pressure at 18-3, Davey rebuilt the innings alongside Ryan Bradshaw with a century stand.
Davey saw four more batsmen arrive and quickly depart as Bilton collapsed again from 121-3 to 151-8.
But the batsmen made hay in the final overs, steeling back the momentum with 80 runs in the final five overs.
Davey finished unbeaten on 112 as he, alongside tailenders Will Liddle (25) and Richard Spittlehouse (17) took the score up to 244-9. Otley, who hammered Collingham in the cup final 12 months ago, were unable to near that total as Craven whittled away their top order.
The former Yorkshire player took a wicket with the third ball of the innings and never looked back,
Otley crashed to 52-5 and only captain James Davies offered any resistance. He compiled a half century, but on 51, Ali-Shah trapped him leg before and from 123-8 the tie fell firmly into Bilton’s hands.
“To put on 80 in the last five overs and take the momentum away from Otley, that was the game changing moment for us,” said Craven.
“The actual scores probably flattered us a little, but we were obviously chuffed.”
Davey has been unavailable on a weekly basis for Bilton this year after moving down to London. But Craven said the club would do their best to ensure he lines up in the final next month.
On his knock, the skipper added: “He played a very experienced innings. When he came in we were up against it but he built an innings before having a flurry at the end.”
Burley advanced through a tough semi-final against moneybags Horsforth in a tense two-wicket win.
Division Two side Horsforth compiled 181-9 having elected to bat first, with wicket-keeper Chris Gorden topscoring on 54.
Burley were cruising at 91-0 and 156-3 but a flurry of late wickets made for a close finish.
Craven anticipates another tight match when Burley arrive in Harrogate in two weeks time.
“They have quite a well-mixed group of players, with a few good young players and a bit of experience as well. It won’t be an easy game.
“We just have to enjoy it, back our ability and try and play as we did in the semi-final.”