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Cleck’ acknowledges strength in depth

The Club’s First Team nearly always takes the headlines simply because they are the pinnacle of the Cricket Section but so many others are equally important.

We must acknowledge the work done by the likes of Cricket Chairman Ian Gatenby, who for longer than he’ll care to remember nurtured the younger players coming through the ranks and now Russ Noble has taken the mantle but with Gats still very close by. Seconds’ Skipper Chris Dobson is a true stalwart at Moorend and so many other coaches and family members play their part.

For any aspiring young cricketer the First Team has to be the aim but playing at the top level of local cricket it’s not an easy task. Never-the-less, Cleck’ has a number of gifted young players rapidly improving and showing their worth and the hope is that at least one player will make the First Team in the next couple of years or so.

In the past Eddie and Marcus Walmsley were juniors at the Club and they’ve carved out a good career in local cricket and we should remember Joe Robinson also who won a Championship medal having been with the Club since nine year’s of age. Joe had a brief spell with Scholes but remains a squad player at Cleck’ and a reliable player in the wings.

First team players Nick Lindley and Sam Wilson returned to Cleck’ having previously been part of the set up and just to show how tough it is to make the First Team, Sam Gatenby left to enhance his career and gained promotion with Scholes last season to show what a technically gifted batsman he is.

It is hoped to acquire the thoughts of Dobby who will appraise the Seconds’ and promising juniors at the Club.

Joe Robinson, who is pictured with his Dad Mark, has won a Trophy with Cleck' in the past - but not the one in the photo' we might add!

Former Cleck’ star’s predictions for 2018

Tim Jackson was a popular and very successful opening batsman at Moorend for several seasons before joining Woodlands as their Skipper a couple of years ago.

Tim has kindly agreed to share his thoughts for the coming season.

“The ECB Bradford League Premier Division One continues to strengthen as we are still seeing the effects of the merge some seasons ago. Methley have deservedly worked their way through the divisions and I can see them establishing themselves as a first division side. Scholes who have always been a Bradford League side have done well to beat the aforementioned Methley and a historically strong Wrenthotrpe to secure promotion to Div One - they too will be tough to beat especially on home soil where it can be tough place to score runs.

It has been interesting reading the Cleck’ website this winter with so many changes to the first team and I think it was necessary for Cleck’ to get some new blood into the side (having narrowly survived last campaign) and particularly to bring in some young talent that can start to form the next generation at Moorend.

I believe that Cleck’ are in a rebuilding process and whilst some of the signings have promise I think the team needs to be given time and be shown some patience. It is difficult to bring in several players when ideally one or two changes is what would be expected.

The difficulty for Cleck’ is gelling as a team and working out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully from Cleck’s point of view it will bring in hungry players who are keen to challenge themselves but also prove their ability to the league. The marquee signing of Tom Kohler-Cadmore is a big plus for Cleck’; his quality and professionalism along with the experience of Mally Nicholson, John Wood and Andrew Deegan and Dave Paynter mixed in with the younger talent bodes well for the future.

Andrew Deegan is one of a number of experienced Cleck' players that Tim Jackson praises

I expect Tom to win games for Cleck’ which alone will ensure survival in the division but could help them produce some upsets and who knows maybe result in a good cup run. Tom should score heavy runs at home and on good wickets but it will be interesting to see how he fairs in the Bradford League when conditions are perhaps not what he is used to. His availability will bring its own problems but I know this is something that will have been heavily considered at Moorend.

I think it is hard to argue with what is currently on the website, saying that Hanging Heaton, Pudsey St Lawrence and ourselves Woodlands are favourites. Heaton deserved their Championship success and I believe they have been a bit unlucky previously not to win a title. There is no doubt that they have been the best team in the last three seasons in terms of performance. Lawrence will be keen to reignite a Championship challenge after what they might consider a disappointing season. The addition of Jordan Thompson will be a big improvement and with a strong opening partnership as well as some fire power in the middle order it could be back to winning ways for Lawrence.

Will Tom Kohler-Cadmore produce runs on alien wickets, questions Jacko'?

I feel that we will be difficult to beat this season, we have had few changes but strengthened with the addition of a proper overseas batter. As we all know this can be a risk but what is guaranteed from a professional cricketer is that they are an exceptional talent and have the ability to single handed win games. I also feel that we are better placed this season. Scott Richardson has spent a whole winter in Australia, The arrival of Bilal who was successful at New Farnley with over 40 wickets will add to our bowling options; he has pace, great variety and being left arm will bring a different dimension. Bilal is also destructive with the bat and will keep in theme that all eleven Woodlands players can score useful runs.

Arguably Woodlands possess the best three spinners in the league and this could be a decisive factor in securing honours this campaign. Having won the Priestley Cup and Heavy Woollen Cup in the last two years and showing more consistency in the League also.

Dark horses for the league have to be Farsley, New Farnley and Townville. A lot will depend on what Farsley’s new overseas player has to offer. For Townville it is the way they gel as a team and the difficulty of beating them on home soil that could see them challenge

New Farnley always seem to be talked about an d fancied pre-season but have yet to produce a serious Championship challenge. Not mentioning anyone else is not being disrespectful to other sides but the competition will be strong and any team that starts the season well will be confident of landing the prestigious Title.”

Jacko' remains a respected figure at Cleck' despite nowadays being the Club's fierce rival!

What odds for Cleck’ to win Title?

Sport fans love to predict their teams’ outcome especially pre-season when everything in the garden is rosy and each team is on an equal footing.

As for the Bradford Cricket Premier League Cleck’s followers appear to have a side with a particularly strong batting line up and some big-hitters out there and yet the bowlers might have something to say on that subject.

Josh Thurwell and Johnny Whiteoak who are just two of the Club’s six new signings are young fast bowlers with a lot to offer and they’ll be keen to outshine the batsmen, who on paper look capable of making runs and in addition there’s a younger look to the side with fielding always a vital component.

Traditionally, Cleck’ look after their players and despite his decision to step down and play when needed don’t be surprised to see Andy Gorrod come to the party. Andy is arguably one of the League’s best fielders and a batsman who may have had a difficult time of things over the last couple of years but he is a very talented cricketer and to have him waiting in the wings is a fantastic plus and the Cricket Section is mindful of Andy's loyalty.

There is a great deal of positivity surrounding the Club with the newcomers (that is highlighted below) but there’ll be a number of other sides feeling exactly the same way and to have a punt at Cleck’s odds for the Championship. You’d have to say we’re around 10/1 and Hanging Heaton odds on favourites with Pudsey St Lawrence and Woodlands not far behind them?

Johnny Whiteoak will be a key figure for Cleck' in 2018

Former Skipper offers successor best wishes

For over a decade John Wood was a pivotal figure at Cleck’. He built a playing squad from scratch and achieved great success winning two Championships and reaching the final of the Priestley Cup.

Not only was John a leader and a successful player in his own right but he brought his brother Ian Wood in to the Club who became an integral part of the team for many years until a knee injury curtailed his involvement. His mum Anne Wood and many members of John’s family gave incredible support and will continue to do so. Woody can be proud of his achievements and the Club is delighted he continues as a player whilst in typical fashion he wishes his successor Mally Nicholson sincere best wishes in his role as Captain.

John commented; “Last season was extremely disappointing especially as it was my last as Captain. It is certainly not the way I wanted to end my tenure at the club. I think a change in personnel within the team was needed and that is exactly what has happened over the winter months. Six new faces will arrive and I believe that Mally has recruited extremely well.

The players he has acquired all seem to want to come for the right reasons and to develop their game and improve. The team feels much more youthful now and with that comes a desire to succeed. I am sure it will take time for the new faces to settle however the camaraderie we have built over the years will help to minimise the time this takes. I am really looking forward to playing with the new lads and seeing what they are capable of over the next couple of seasons, hopefully we can push again for a title before I retire.

Mally will have many up’s and down’s over the next couple of years however he has lots of support from within the team and the Club in general, he has certainly thrown himself in to the role over the winter. Who would ever have thought Mally would be sat at committee meetings every third Monday offering ideas to push the Club forward, well done pal, keep it going.”

John Wood is a 'winner' in so many ways

The next fund-raising event planned is the ‘Ladies Luncheon’ that sees a great deal of input from the Sports Club as a whole, which is on Saturday June 23rd. Everyone’s support would be greatly appreciated. On that note, despite Mrs Anne Wood supposedly retiring from her kitchen duties, Anne has kindly agreed to oversee the food side of the event and her experience in that role is invaluable! All we need are as many ladies from the Cricket Section that we can pull together to enhance the excellent support given from the Sports Club’s ladies’ members.

Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees is the brilliant comedian appointed for the luncheon.

As ever new kit is ordered for the First Team and a deal has been agreed with Surridge – with a link to an on- line store to be set up in the near future

Cleck’ play Kirkburton CC on Saturday April 14th at their hosts ground in a pre-season friendly with a 1pm start - AND NOT Jer Lane as first advertised.

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

For news on the All Rounder ECB Bradford Premier L'ge; www.bradfordcl.com

The Wickham Arms Hotel 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.

Bob Speight continues sterling work at Cleck'

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