ONE of the most heartening things about the Mewies Solicitors Craven League season has been a rare success for Eldwick & Gilstead.

A club that are not normally in the limelight, they won Group D of the Covid Regional Competition by five points from Bradford & Bingley's third team.

When asked how long ago it was since they last won anything, E&G skipper Arnie Raistrick confessed: "I honestly can't remember. It could have been when I was 16, about 12 years ago."

But his dad Paul, who is club secretary and treasurer, reckoned it was even longer ago than that.

And that was certainly the case, as their last piece of silverware was actually in the Bradford Central League, when they won the Waddilove Trophy (first-team cup) in 1990.

What has happened this season is some achievement for a club who, just two seasons ago, did not even know whether they had enough players to field a team.

Like most of the 2020 champions, Eldwick & Gilstead (E&G) won six of their 10 matches, and Raistrick junior said: "We have an excellent team spirit."

That, allied to some fine performances by new signing, all-rounder Matthew Sharp, and Andrew Stephenson gave the twin villages the edge, and the skipper is expecting even more from them in 2021.

He added: "We hope to have Ajeet Singh, who had a great 2018 with the bat, and Steve Timperley, who only played one game for us this season, back for the next campaign."

Another club who are in good shape for 2021 are Hepworth & Idle, who won Group C by three points from fellow first-teamers Denholme.

Dave Matthews, vice-chairman of the Westfield Laners, said: "We won Division Two last season and hoped to test ourselves in Division One until Covid struck, but the league did a fantastic job to get some cricket on in 2020."

Many players chipped in, including juniors Owen Price, Jack Bedford, Harry Pinkney (the leading wicket-taker in the league in 2020, mainly for their second team) and Harvey Matthews (one of Dave's sons), but more notable were opening bat Jamie Topham and new signing Simon Raistrick.

However, Matthews is not resting on his laurels, adding: "We probably need another opening batsman, not to say that those who filled that role did badly, another middle-order batsman and another opening bowler."

Hepworth & Idle also hope to field a third XI in the Craven League next season.

They are finalising arrangements with another club, who currently play in the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League, about a groundshare, but have already shown their commitment by spending some money on the square and the outfield.