In the latest Club in Winter feature Reg Nelson looks at Bradford & Bingley’s prospects for the 2019 season with the club’s pace bowler Jack Hartley.
Last season the club had a struggle to break away from the two relegation places, but Hartley is optimistic about the forthcoming season.
Hartley said: “We have worked hard to bring together what we think will be a highly-competitive team, in an increasingly difficult league.
“Other player losses this season come in the form of left-arm seamer Jamie Wilmshurst, who decided to move to Keighley, and young Will Grace, who has transferred up the road to Baildon, and best wishes for those two for the coming season”.
Hartley added: “On the recruitment side of things, we have managed to secure the services of Dan Revis from Burley. Dan is a talented 1st top-order batter who scored north of 800 runs last year in the Aire Wharfe League Division One.
“He also represented Yorkshire U19s and has been playing In Australia this winter. We are looking forward to seeing him in a Bingley shirt this summer.
“Callam Goldthorp returns to us after he signed on for the second half of last season and he impressed with his tenacity.
“Patrick Dixon has rejoined the club after four seasons at Pool. He will strengthen the middle order and has matured as a player massively since debuting at 17 for us. It's good to have him back among us and he will add well off the field too”.
“Finally, in the batting department we have signed an overseas player from Pakistan to bolster the top order, with Ed Brown, Kyme Tiherkeli and Matthew Duce hoping to add the firepower lower down.
“Bowling wise, we have signed well with Graeme Whiles from Knaresborough. Graeme is an exciting prospect with good experience at county 2nd XI level for Worcester and will add some height and pace to the attack. He's also a dangerous lower-order batter and will be hoping to score some late runs for us”.
“He will form a formidable new-ball partnership with English-born Aussie seamer Bailey Wightman. Bailey, who played at the back end of the season for us. He impressed when taking five wickets on debut and running through Cleckheaton’s top order. At 6ft 6 and only 19 he's a great prospect and will only improve this year”.
“In the spin department, Bradley Reeve will once again lead us, and after an impressive debut season, and a winter in Australia, will look to build on his 39 wkts last year. Kyme will add the variation with his leg spin which on his day is unplayable.
“The team will be once again skippered by the experienced Matthew Duce with Ed Brown as his vice-captain”.
“The second and third teams are in capable hands this season too, with former first team players Craig Cockshott and Adam Swallow at the helm respectively. They will certainly have the talent pool to pick from. In particularly we are looking forward to seeing the progression of Matthew Swallow and Lachlan Doidge who have been netting with the 1stXI this winter and certainly didn’t look out of place.”
Bradford & Bingley have a proud tradition of producing young players and are keen to unearth some more gems.
Hartley said: “Off the field, the committee have worked hard to strengthen the junior section, and we now have teams at every age group from U9s to U17s. This makes us proud to have one of the best junior set ups around.
“The indoor nets have started to be renovated and will hopefully be completed for the start of the season. This is great news for the club after they have been out of action for three years since being flooded. This will allow us to train regardless of the weather.
“We are also looking at using our floodlights more this season, so expect to see some Friday night lights for T20s throughout the season”.
“The club is very excited for the coming season. We have a young exciting team with bags of talent and enthusiasm, and we are hoping to be challenging at the top half of the table following a difficult season last year”.
“Finally, I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone at the club who puts selfless hours into the running and upkeep of Wagon Lane. Many people take for granted getting to play on a Saturday, but without the help of these volunteers there simply wouldn't be a cricket club.”
Hartley concludes: “This will now be my eighth season in a Bees 1st team shirt and I’m every bit as excited about the season beginning as my first one. Hopefully I can stay fit for more than half a dozen games this time round”.