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Brief reflection on 2016 whilst looking ahead, also!

With quite a number of changes already in place for the 2017 season and newcomers Awais Ejaz and Nick Lindley agreeing to join Cleck’ - plus an overseas all-rounder expected to come to Moorend with an excellent reputation - last season will be soon a distant memory.

Jimmy Lee, Chris Holliday, and Mohammed Bilawal will no longer be at Cleck’ whilst Joe Wood is given a First Team spot along with the afore-mentioned new signings. Sam Gatenby has joined Scholes CC with everyone’s best wishes and Sam deserves the opportunity to open the batting at our near neighbours and he looks to have a very bright future. His Dad Ian is the new Cricket Chairman replacing veteran Chairman Dave Worrall, who remains very much a part of proceedings. Russ Noble becomes Juniors Chairman replacing Gats.

Traditionally, Cleck’ has managed to keep a settled side and although in recent times changes have occurred there remains a positive outlook especially as the Skipper for the last eleven years, John Wood remains at the helm at least for one more season in an effort to keep a steady ship.

The 2016 season was a real topsy-turvy effort from Cleck’ that began well with a three wickets win against Lightcliffe in a high scoring game. Woody scored 74 and Andy Gorrod a hard earned 46 runs with Mohammed Zaman (Zimmy) scoring a 50 in a total of 267-7 in reply to the visitors 264-5.

Next up were Morley who were dismissed for 158 and Andrew Deegan captured 4-42 in a seven wickets win for Cleck’. Then, there was a narrow 15 runs defeat at Bradford & Bingley before demolishing New Farnley by eight wickets the following week with Deeg’s and Sam Wilson taking three wickets apiece.

Sam Wilson was a real plus in an average season having been newly signed from Pool CC

Wet weather against Farsley saved Cleck’ from a likely defeat in an abandoned contest with May 28th witnessing a brilliant performance at Moorend against Woodlands who had our former star batsman Tim Jackson as their Captain for the first time since leaving Cleck’. The visitors were dismissed for 230 after Cleck’ made 309-2 with Holliday notching a brilliant 151 not out and Zimmy scoring 107 in a stand of 224. Curtis Free did his bit with figures of 3-28.

But the old adage of after the Lord Mayor’s Show was never more in evidence than on Bank Holiday Monday with a shock defeat against bottom Club Scholes who had not won a game up to that day with Cleck’ losing five wickets for eight runs and gifting the opposition the victory, which was a game that proved to be a turning point in Cleck’s season.

On June 4th Hanging Heaton blasted Woody’s guys for just 88 runs to win by five wickets that was followed just a week later with a real walloping against Champions Pudsey St Lawrence. Pudsey Congs inflicted further misery winning by 103 runs before an abandoned game on June 25th at home to East Bierley.

Fortunately, thanks to a brilliant knock of 68 not out from Mally Nicholson a hard-earned four wickets win at Lightcliffe stopped the rot. The away game at Morley on July 9th was abandoned due to heavy rain but not before Zimmy scored 104 runs. Bradford & Bingley suffered a 44 runs defeat at Moorend on July 16th but one week later Cleck’ were easily beaten at New Farnley by six wickets.

High-flying Farsley came to Cleck’ on the last day of July with Title aspirations but found the hosts in great form and Woody’s guys produced what was probably one of their best displays of the season. The 115 runs victory owed a great deal to John’s knock of 61 and Ian Nicholson’s 53 runs. Sam Wilson had figures of 3-22 and 18-year-old Joe Wood showed his abilities with 23 vital runs and a bowling spell that earned him impressive figures of 1-7. The excitement was short-lived with a 199 runs hammering at Woodlands on August 6th that followed another embarrassing defeat at Scholes who completed the double over Cleck’ but they were still relegated at the season’s end!

Hanging Heaton were the next opponents but rain prevented a likely win for Woody’s side but Sam Wilson was in superb form capturing 5-57 and Eor continued his late season good form making 55 not out after he’d made 71 runs in the earlier defeat against Scholes. The penultimate game of the season at Pudsey St Lawrence was eventually abandoned whilst the final game of the season witnessed a comfortable 48 runs win at East Bierley. Zimmy carried his bat for 114 as did Eor for 62 runs and Sam did his stuff again capturing 4-50 with three wickets for Curtis.

Cleck’ finished in sixth place in the ECB Premier League and the nucleus of what is a solid team has been kept with some excellent additions.

Brothers Ian and Mally Nicholson are part of the furniture at Moorend

Awais the lads as East Bierley starlet joins Cleck!

Awais Ejaz has become Cleck’s latest signing captured from local rivals East Bierley.

The talented opening fast bowler rejected more lucrative offers elsewhere to join John Wood’s side purely for cricket reasons. “I know that Cleckheaton is a good Club and they are ambitious as I am,” commented Awais. “My reason for coming to Cleckheaton is to win Trophies.” When asked about his style of play, Awais was concise with his answer by adding; “I am aggressive and a winner.”

Last season Cleck’s newest recruit bowled 145.2 overs capturing 32 wickets and his best figures were 5-29 against Farsley whilst he finished with an average of 19.25. Awais was instrumental in helping East Bierley to keep their ECB Premier League status when he took 3-33 in August when his side defeated Scholes by nine wickets.

Former Cricket Chairman Dave Worrall, who remains involved with recruitment at Moorend, is delighted at the latest signing. “Awais met with Skipper John Wood and Mally Nicholson this week and they were both impressed by his attitude,” commented Dave. “He is a quality player and someone who wanted to join us for cricket reasons, which is a breath of fresh air. I know Woody says he got him out last season and rates him highly from personal experience!”

With another quality player set to come to Cleck’ in the shape of an overseas all-rounder and already with the signing of opening batsman Nick Lindley the team is taking shape.

Awais Ejaz is a tremendous signing for Cleck'

Skipper delighted with latest signing

Awais Ejaz did not take much persuading to come to Moorend and for once that was because money was not a priority, which First Team Captain John Wood acknowledges. “I am delighted that we seem to have found a player who wants to come to the Club for the correct reasons,” admitted John. “Having looked at his statistics for last season Awais’ performances are better than most other bowlers in the League. He will give us control and a cutting edge at the start of an innings. I would say that he was a classical swing bowler who puts the ball consistently in the correct areas. And he’s a good bloke who wants to win things – what more could you ask for.”

Woody is not just keen to bring in quality performers but guys who will get us back to where we were a couple of years ago. Practicing regularly, having nights out such as the lads enjoying a curry, having a beer together after a game and generally bringing back the close team ethos that helped Cleck’ win two Titles in succession – not too long ago!

Woody knows a good bowler when he sees one

Next season’s side taking shape!

Whilst the following is conjecture at the moment - with player talks on-going - it appears that an overseas slow left arm spinner and batsman, who is a genuine all-rounder is very much on Cleck’s radar along with the announcement of new signing Awais Ejaz.

When it comes to signing new players it’s never an easy task and even harder to keep hold of key players, which was always the way with Chris Holliday as a typical example.

The decision to release Chris prior to finding out that he could be leaving in any case was a difficult decision for Skipper John Wood fully backed by the Cricket Committee but sometimes tough decisions have to be made especially as no-one wishes to be having to recruit weeks before the new season starts.

One of the important areas was finding a partner for Curtis Free who enjoyed a brilliant spell in his first term sharing the opening spells with Iain Wardlaw and between them the pair 'softened up' batsmen. The idea was to fill that void and Awais is a brilliant capture.

The ECB Premier League is gathering strength in so many ways and Cleck’ needs to be at the forefront when it comes to being ahead of the game.

Curtis Free is a pivotal figure in Cleck's side and now he has an ideal bowling partner

Thompson, Davis & Co. Ltd International Freight Forwarders Sponsors of Cleckheaton CC

Kevin Mitchell Independent Civil Funeral Celebrant www.kevinmitchell-celebrant.co.uk

Details of all sections of the Club can be found on; www.cleckheatonsportsclub.com

For all the latest news on the All Rounder ECB Bradford Premier League; www.bradfordcl.com

The Wickham Arms Hotel supporters of Cleckheaton CC www.wickhamarmshotel.co.uk

For further news on Cleckheaton CC visit www.cleckheatoncricketclub.com Bob Speight has made sure that for many years there are updated facts, figures and some brilliant photographs and history surrounding Cleckheaton CC.


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