OTLEY Cricket Club captain George Huntley is adamant that his side will continue to push for the Aire-Wharfe Division 1 title, despite a tricky start.

After winning the trophy in a shortened 11 game campaign last year, due to Covid, Otley find themselves with three losses on the board after six games.

Defeats in their opening two fixtures against Rawdon, high flying Saltaire and most recently against local rivals Burley-in-Wharfedale, have setback the champions in their title-defence.

But Huntley, who took over as captain prior to the season's beginning, is not letting any early-season downfall get in the way of his side's goals.

He said: "The aim is still to try and retain the title.

"You have to aim to be the highest you possibly can. We've had a tough start and lost to three of the toughest teams in the division, and if we beat them in the return fixtures, it gives us every chance of still being in the mix.

"Obviously, we are still in the Waddilove Cup, so we aim to go far in that.

"We've got a big game against Burley in the second round, so hopefully we can put Saturday's loss against them right and beat them."

The Otley captain is also confident that a victory would help to give his side the boost they need and help to set them up for a run of form.

He said: "Definitely. We've got some key players returning who can add lots to the team. If we get a win against Collingham on Saturday, it puts us in good stead for the following Saturday when we've got Horsforth, then Burley in the cup."

Reflecting on his sides early-season form, Huntley said: "I think we've been inconsistent with both batting and bowling so far.

"Some games we've bowled really well and other games we've batted really well, but we haven't put an all-round performance together yet, which would obviously see us winning games.

"We just need to aim to consistently bat and bowl in the same game, rather than one or the other."

Despite the dip in form, Huntley was full of praise for new signing Ollie Halliday and the returning Sam Kellett.

He said: "Ollie Halliday has been brilliant. He has come in and provided experience to the side and you can tell he has played to a high standard. I'm sure he is going to score us plenty of runs and get a plenty of wickets.

"It's the same with Sam Kellett. He has bowled really well, but he hasn't had chance to get firing with the bat yet, however I do expect him to score many runs along the way."

And reflecting on his personal goals for the season, Huntley said: "Obviously I want to get as far as possible in the Waddilove Cup with the side and ideally win it.

"And obviously challenge for the title if we manage to pick up some form and get back to winning ways.

"I don't see any reason why we can't.

"The league is always the main focus, but if it gets to a point where we mathematically can't win it, then we'll turn our attention to the cup, but at the moment we won't be prioritising one or the other.

"We are focusing on both."