cricket club & SPORTS HALL

Sunday 16th April 2017

Thoughts on the up and coming 2017 season…..

Having done the double in 2016, and emulated the achievement of a 2nd XI I played in back in 2002, when Wayno was Captain……it is fair to say the whole team can be proud of what we delivered last year!  Myself and Rob Medcalf are the only surviving members of arguably our best ever team, and on a personal level, to Captain a double winning team at the club I have grown up at and love was a very proud moment.

The good news is this team is still young and very hungry. I am a strong believer that winning is a habit and if you surround yourself with winners you will succeed. Our objective this year is to go one better and bring home the treble.

It will also be great to work with and see the 1st XI progress this year. In my view they now have a good balance in all areas and with Tim now having a year, as Captain, under his belt, in which he lifted a trophy, I am sure they will continue to grow in confidence and go from strength to strength.

In terms of players coming in and going out, we have retained the core and back bone to the 2nd XI. We showed last season we have the best batting line up in the league and we have added to that this year. Cieran Garner and Liam Brearley remain the best opening partnership in the Division. Myself, Cieran and Beast I like to think of as the Senior pros…..Cieran is the oldest 27 year old you will ever meet and brings a ‘serenity’ to the team on and off the pitch! Beast continues to get better with age! Add to that Liam Brearley, Jack Carter, Gaz Duckworth and Buck together with our quality young players in allrounder Jack Bleazard and the developing Kieran Collins (the best brother!) we now have an excellent balance.

There are two people moving on from last year’s team who are:

Liam Collins ( aka Chowder ). I am really chuffed and proud that Liam has been given the opportunity to move up into our 1st XI. Liam is one of the most naturally talented sportsmen I have ever played with. He is a winner, and when he is on his game with bat and ball he is great to watch. His double hundred in 2015 will always stick in memory, as will his purple patch where he effectively scored 3 consecutive hundreds over 2 weekends at a crucial point of the season. His form with the bat in the 2nd half of the season was instrumental in delivering the double. Liam, as much as we love to take the ‘mick’ out of him off the pitch, is a great lad with a heart of gold. Misunderstood at times as his will to win sometimes boils over. I am sure Liam will be a great addition to the 1st XI and take some pressure off our Ells in the dressing room as there will be two ‘idiots’ rather than one! On a personal note I will really miss Liam on a Saturday and Sunday this summer. He was/is our talisman and created some good fun in the dressing room…..that said I have now blocked his number….so over to you Tim!

Tom Lightfoot is the other player moving to pastures new as he joins Sandal 1st XI. Tom has had a successful couple of years at Woodlands and we wish him all the best.

Our new recruits will undoubtedly strengthen our team and squad this year and have already fitted in perfectly in the winter nets. They are:

Josh Griffin who joins us from New Farnley. A right arm off spinner who is also useful with the bat. Josh will bring a control and variation to our bowling attack and we will have a real spinner to replace Liam! You and your family are very welcome Josh, I am sure you will achieve great things with us this year and be a great addition to the team.

Jack McGahan who also joins us from New Farnley. Jack is a destructive left handed top order batter who also balls medium pace. A talented lad, who will bring plenty to the team on and off the pitch. Again you and your family are very welcome at Woodlands Jack and the aim is to win some trophies together and have some fun along the way!

John Hill rejoins the Woodlands fold….where he belongs and where his heart lies! He returns after a couple of years at Scholes and is very welcome back. Although Big John's (the Shire Horse)  5 side football skills are still work in progress as he struggles to get near me on a Thursday night, he is a talented cricketer and a real team player, who is also a winner! I would have John in my side every day of the week as I know he will give everything for Woodlands and he is a great addition to the squad!

Last but by no means least we see the return of a ‘TRUE WOODLANDS LEGEND’, who played in Woodlands 1st team in the Golden Era. Nick Rushworth or ‘Rushy’ as he is fondly known to most rejoins Woodlands….where he belongs!... after a few years at East Bierley. Nick will be joining the junior coaching set up with his son Alexander who is going to be a cracking batter just like his Dad. We also welcome back the rest of the family with daughters Harriet, Scarlett, wife Lucy and number one supporter his dad Mick . It will be great to have you all around again guys…..we can try and keep brother Adam away! Nick as you will all know is a destructive top order batsman who will bring an experience to the squad. A class act and top man on and off the pitch. He will be a great addition to the team and gives us some real strength in depth to compete on all fronts. Welcome back to Woodlands Nick!

That’s all  for now folks, other than to say the whole team are geared up for a big season. Winning will be our only option when we turn up on a weekend and the team is arguably in its strongest ever position. Time to shine!

See you at Albert Terrace very soon.

Cheers SP.

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Thoughts of our 2nd XI skipper Steven Pearson