Reg Nelson looks at Cleckheaton’s prospects for the 2019 season.
Last season was a mixed affair for Cleckheaton, as new skipper Mally Nicholson rebuilt the side with Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore, and overseas batsman Tayyab Tahir (762 runs) the most notable captures.
The side struggled to show consistency, and at one point were too close for comfort to the relegation zone. However, successive impressive wins in July against high-flying Pudsey St Lawrence and New Farnley, boosted their morale, as they eventually settled for seventh position.
The club's website administrator Kevin Mitchell is confident his side will challenge for honours this year. He said: "There’s a genuine buzz around Cleckheaton Cricket Club ahead of the 2019 season.
“With former Yorkshire all-rounder Azeem Rafiq, pictured, and the experienced ex-Kirkburton CC captain Craig Fletcher joining the Moorenders, there’s a realistic optimism surrounding the chance of winning a trophy this season. Rafiq especially is regarded as a real top-notch capture”.
“Apart from the two newcomers, Andy Gorrod has committed himself to be available for every game, which is another boost after Andy ‘fell out’ with the cricket for a couple of seasons and only played if needed. But he’s regained his appetite to play and apart from his batting ability he’s arguably one of the best fielders in the League”.
“Yorkshire’s highly-rated big-hitting batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore will play also as and when he’s available”.
Mitchell is aware of the importance of individuals working hard at the club. He added: "Skipper Mally Nicholson, abovbe,, has taken over the mantle of captain from John Wood and in his first season as skipper in 2018, the wicketkeeper/batsman took to the role like a ‘duck to water’.
"In addition, Mally’s family are involved, just as Woodys were, in helping out with the teas and supporting club functions”.
“Cleck’ needs to be active regarding fund-raising, as a self-sufficient outfit and the recent evening at the club featuring a Neil Diamond tribute act went down a storm, attracting over 120 guests. Next up is the Annual Dinner on March 8th with many more events in the pipeline”.
“The upshot is; everyone at Cleck’ is working hard to bring success to the club, and as well as the players, the Cricket Committee is pro-active also, and not forgetting the newly-appointed seconds’ skipper Elliott Hallas who takes over from the vastly-experienced Chris Dobson, who remains as a player”.