KEIGHLEY Cricket Club captain Simon Bailey has admitted his side’s mentality was wrong against the strugglers in Division Two of the Bradford Premier League.

The Lawkholme Laners went through something of a rebuild after relegation from Division One in 2022, with Bailey installed as captain, and could only finish seventh this year.

Despite an awful run of form to end the campaign, they finished on a high, beating Bowling Old Lane by 57 runs on the final day to deny their Bradford rivals the title.

Yet Keighley were capable of that all season, with Bailey reflecting: “There was a mentality where some players maybe thought that we’d just turn up and beat those sides lower down in the table.

“If you look at it, it was mainly sides below us we were losing too.

We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t push for promotion like we’d hoped, but it was a bit of a new team and a rebuild from last year.

“We can be satisfied with consolidating in the division, even if on paper, the team we had should have been higher up the table and challenging to go up.

“But we stuck together all year, and that was the main thing for us.”

When pressed on whether any players that had stood out or broken through in 2023, Bailey said: “I was impressed with (overseas South African player) Johandre Barnard, with this being his first year in the Bradford League.

“I also thought (opening bowler) Amjid Hussain came back well and did what he needed to do this year.

“But I think in general it was team effort that pulled us through more than individuals.”

It was Bailey’s first season as Keighley captain, after a difficult end to 2022 that saw then-skipper Scott Etherington receive a lengthy ban following a verbal altercation with the umpires in a match against Gomersal, with a points deduction and relegation following.

Despite Bailey now being at the helm, Etherington remains a key member of the team.

And asked how leading the side had been, Bailey said: “I’ve got the captaincy again next year and I’m ready to go again.

“On a personal level, I felt I let myself down with the bat a bit this year but you have those seasons sometimes.

“And I’ve enjoyed the captaincy, there’s been a few bits to deal with off the field, but as I said, I’m ready to go again.”

Looking ahead to 2024, Bailey said: “I think there’ll be a few changes in the off-season, but you never really know until you get a bit closer to Christmas and people start getting offers from other clubs.

“We’ll look over the winter at what we need and we’re definitely aiming for more consistency next season.”

Keighley made 299 all out in that final game against Bowling Old Lane, Ijaz Ahmed (74) and Hussain (51) moving up the order to open and doing most of the damage.

Hussain then took 3-52 with the ball, as he, Daanyaal Ahmed (4-47) and Bailey (3-76) dismissed Bowling for 242.