The latest club to be featured in the Club in Winter series is Premier League club Cleckheaton. Committee member Kevin Mitchell keeps Cleck’s news up to date on his informative club website, but for those who don’t indulge his writings, might be interested to hear what Mally Nicholson thinks of his club’s prospects.
Unfortunately, the skipper will be out of action this season, and he says. “I picked up a cruciate ligament injury playing football so I am awaiting an operation. The club have been very supportive and we have written this season off, unless there is a miracle.
Andrew Deegan will skipper the team in my absence, and I’m sure he will do a great job, helped by the experienced lads. After just staying up last season we have made various changes to our squad.
Andrew Deegan will be leading the side in the absence of Mally Nicholson
“We have lost Andrew Gorrod and Toby Thorpe. Andy has joined Gomersal and I hope he gets back to enjoying his game, while Toby has decided to take a break from cricket for the season, but will help out when needed.
“Incoming are Kris Ward, Mohammed Waqas (overseas) and Ian Carradice. Kris has signed from Townville, and will open the batting with Nick Lindley. We are fortunate that Mohammed Waqas can keep wicket, but he’s a specialist batsman, and we hope Ian Carradice will bolster our middle-order. He has been opening the batting for Birstall for a couple of seasons.
“Last but not least, is Iain Wardlaw who rejoins us from Hartshead Moor, and I think he will do a great job for us. He’ll give us early wickets and the control which is something we have lacked in the last two seasons.
“We have made some good signings, and along with the lads from last season, I am sure it will be a good year. Azeem Rafique will be more used to what the league is all about in his second season with us, and will have a good season year with both bat and ball. Rafa, along with Deegs will be good options with the ball.
“We also have Ethan Lee, was has been promoted from the second team, playing his first full season with us. It’s well deserved and I feel that now is the right time for him to test himself. He’s a great fielder and I hope he plays with confidence and backs himself.
“Our middle order looks good with Nick Walker and Ian Carradice, along with Craig Fletcher, while our bowling should be stronger with Wardlaw opening the bowling alongside either Johnny Whiteoak or Josh Thurwell. Our third seamer will be Fletcher, while Rafiq, Deegan and Nick Lindley will provide the spin”.
Nicholson concludes, “From a committee point of view I would like to thank Bob Speight, and obviously the retired John Wood. Both have left hard voids to fill, but we will hopefully see them around the club and I am sure Antony Lee will do a great job as scretary.
“Good luck to all the lads next season and hopefully we can win something and give something back to all the people at Cleckheaton who put in a lot of effort behind the scenes."
Cleckheaton are hoping for big things from former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq