ONE of the most fascinating questions in the 2024 Aire-Wharfe League is how will newly-promoted Steeton fare in the top flight?

They may have won the Waddilove Cup for the past two seasons, but a Premier Division campaign could be even more challenging.

However, the Summerhill Lane club, again under the captaincy of Stephen Pearson, have not rested on their laurels, signing Tom Smallwood from Olicanian, while Louis Wilkinson has trod a well-worn patch by signing from Keighley and Aaron McRae has joined from Skipton.

Steeton also have a new overseas player in Tremaine Dowrich.

Harden, again under the leadership of Andy Wear with support from Will Grace, have also been promoted - from the third tier to the second - and hope for a season of consolidation.

They have signed Jason Warriner and Jeremy Robertshaw, but also hope that some of their juniors will break through into the first XI.

Only two first-team games went ahead last Saturday, as the Aire-Wharfe League got off to a tentative start after an extremely wet April which has left many grounds in poor condition.

There was a game each in the Premier Division and Division Two, allowing both Steeton and Harden to get an early look at a couple of their rivals.

In the top flight, last year’s runaway champions Collingham & Linton suffered a nasty surprise, as they were beaten by 57 runs at home to 2023 runners-up Otley.

Opener Alex Atkinson made a brilliant 105 in the visiting total of 202-6, before Oliver Halliday took 5-36 as the hosts were bowled out for only 145.

In Division Two, Kirkstall Educational enjoyed an emphatic seven-wicket home win over hapless visitors Shadwell.

The away side batted first, but were embarrassingly skittled for just 49, as Harry Costello took 5-17.

Poor Zahid Nissar was the only batsman to make an impression for Shadwell with 22, and he took 2-8 when his side bowled too.

But Kirkstall were never going to fall short in chasing just 50 to win.