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cricket club & SPORTS HALL
Woodlands CC

Back in the Bradford League

By 2001 the club had finally achieved Bradford League status once more and celebrated by taking the Bowes Section of the Second Division, going through the season undefeated. They possessed a team not only built for promotion, but also good enough to consolidate in the First Division in the following year.

Led by skipper Orrell, they had a fine array of talent in Russell Murray, Nicky Rushworth, Murphy Walwyn, Richard Spittlehouse and Sarfraz Ahmed. Under the shrewd stewardship of secretary Pearson gradual progress for 2002 was their watchword. They set out to consolidate in the First Division in 2002 and they achieved that comfortably in eighth position. 

Legendary overseas player Ahmed arrived in time for their debut season in 2001 taking an incredible 80 wickets at 10.69 to win the Division Two bowling award, coupled with a batting average of 60.67 which allowed him to finish second in the division's batting averages, and also take the Jack Hill All-Rounders Trophy. It was a sensational start for Ahmed who would arguably become the best of the overseas players of his generation. 

Orrell led from the front with 458 runs as he accelerated the scoring from steady starts by left-handed sheet anchor Murray who scored 696 runs. Also starring in 2001 was Walwyn with a batting average of 44.73 who also scored the fastest fifty of the season in 17 balls. This repeated his feat at East Bierley the season before. Nick Rushworth scored 604 runs and also won the league's wicketkeeping prize. Rushworth would go on and repeat this feat in 2003 and 2005.

Amongst the undoubted stars in 2001was locally reared cricketer Richard Godfrey who became only the 11th player in the history of the Bradford League to take four wickets in four balls.

The 2003 season saw the club achieve another milestone when they reached the Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup final for the first time. They were much fancied in the final playing Second Division Bradford & Bingley at Wagon Lane, and should have scored well in excess of the their final 210-9. 

Orrell had put them in a commanding position with a superb century which would have normally won the Man of the Match Award. It wasn't to be as Richard Nichols guided his team home with a century of his own as they won by six wickets.

Woodlands had tasted the big time and it was obvious they would be back for more. In the league they enjoyed gentle progression to seventh place with Orrell being the star performer with 713 runs at 44.56 with a top score of 122not out. Murray was his usual consistent self with 682 runs at 35.89, while the bowling honours went to Ahmed (53), Chris Brice (43) and Richard Spittlehouse (32). Richard Pyrah had signed from Cleckheaton with Brice and scored 635 runs.  

Clearly the big honours were just around the corner but in 2004 they realised just how far they had to go to overtake the legendary Pudsey Congs. They finished a highly-creditable fourth in the league with Orrell (725) and Murray (736) leading the way with the bat, and Ahmed storming to 70 wickets. 

Ahmed also proved his prowess with the bat taking the fastest fifty trophy with an 18-ball innings. But,despite a magnificent run to the final of the Priestley Cup they met their match in no uncertain manner when they were defeated by the Congs by eight wickets. 

Compensation of sorts was gratefully received when they won the Heavy Woollen Cup for the first time with a comfortable final victory over Spen Victoria by 36 runs at Liversedge. Naeem Khan outshone Ahmed for once taking a match winning 5-19.