Author: Reg Nelson
The third club featured in the Club in Winter season is Division Three outfit Windhill & Daisy Hill who have made significant changes for the coming 2020 season. They proved to be made of sterner stuff last season, and the treasurer Bryan Greenwood is looking to build on this.
Greenwood looks back to where the club’s recent journey began, “I think most people are aware that just before the start of the 2016 season, Windhill dramatically announced that they were withdrawing with immediate effect from the Bradford League. This was due to no scorers, tea ladies or `off the field’ help that was essential to sustain the club,” he said.
“At the same time, it had become clear to Cross Roads and Daisy Hill that playing cricket at the Bradford Salem rugby ground was not working out and was not sustainable in the long term. Timing, especially in cricket, can be hard to get right, but our initial approach to Ian Holdsworth at Windhill was perfect timing for both clubs and Windhill and Daisy Hill CC was formed.
“I'm certain that the history of Windhill CC, and the relief that such an iconic venue would not be lost to cricket, played a massive part in Windhill & Daisy Hill being accepted into the Bradford Premier League Conference for 2017. We are trying to ensure that we are not only worthy of league membership, but are endeavouring to build a sustainable cricket club on strong foundations, making sure we can walk before we run, and ensuring that mistakes of the past are not repeated”.
“In 2017 we probably met reasonable expectations for our first season. We were fortunate to pick up Alex Antoine from Harden in mid season and he was a huge help. We installed an electronic scoreboard onto the imposing old scorebox at the ground. But our greatest achievement that year was to have league cricket being played again at Windhill.”
Greenwood accepts that the club needed to strengthen after 2018 when both teams were at the wrong end of the table. “We probably turned a few heads when we managed to sign Tabby Bhatti for the 2019 season.
“Tabby wanted a season playing alongside his dad Maz (pictured top), and although he did not deliver the amount of runs he expected, he did bring stability to the top of the order, which in turn brought the best out of his opening partner Adam Swaine. A fifth-place finish last season has got the club going back in the right direction.”
Jack Holland is back at Windhill & Daisy Hill after a spell with Undercliffe Picture: Ray Spencer
Greenwood is excited about the signings that they have made. He said: “Our first signing was Jack Holland from Undercliffe who will captain the side. Jack started his career at Saltaire CC, but established himself at Windhill and it is good to welcome him back. He is a proven top order batsman. He is also a leader who shares the ambition of the club and is committed to helping to drive the club forward”.
“Another returning player is Luke Holroyd who has signed from near neighbours Thackley. Luke has a wealth of Bradford League experience and again will strengthen our top order. He is very happy to be back at Busy Lane and is determined to do well. His brother Aiden has also returned from Thackley to strengthen the squad and both brothers will readily give support to our exciting young wicketkeeper Dylan Silson who has joined us from Buttershaw St Paul’s.
Luke Holroyd has retuyrned to the club after spells with Undercliffe, Pudsey Congs and Thackley
“Dylan's signing typifies the direction we want to go in as a club by attracting young talented cricketers who are hungry for first team cricket. The same can be said of our fifth signing Tom Colley, who has joined us from Aire Wharfe club Kirkstall. Tom is again a talented top order batsman who also bowls off spin and is hungry to do well”.
“Our sixth new signing is Muhammad Shoaib, again from Thackley. Shoaib is a top all rounder with a proven run scoring record who will also will add pace to the bowling attack
“These signings together with the likes of Adam Swaine, Shoaib Iqbal, Maz Bhatti, Matty Marshall, Ian Clayton, Byron Greenwood, Ben Cawley, Hasan Malik, Danny Halstead, Josh Butterfield, Darren Saville and Chris Sedgewick, who are already at the club, means that we will have our strongest first team squad to choose from and this in turn will improve and strengthen our second eleven”.
“We also have a team in the Bradford Evening League as well as an over 50s competing in the Grey Fox competition”.
The club also has a plan for the future. “We now have several qualified cricket coaches at the club and this has enabled us to start the process of getting junior cricket established at Windhill & Daisy Hill,” said Greenwood.
“This started last season with the All Stars programme, and we will be following that up this season with both All Stars again and the new Dynamos programme. Junior cricket is the club's priority; our long-term aim is to have the thriving junior section that both Windhill & Daisy Hill had in the past that produced the likes of Jack Holland, Luke Holroyd, Ian Clayton and Josh Butterfield.
“On the field we are definitely going in the right direction, and off it we have improved our facilities. We’ve a new kitchen in the tea room and a rain water irrigation system that is eco friendly and provides a pumping system to enable `round the clock’ water to our cricket square. We think this will help to maintain good pitches throughout the season. We have also now got mains electric supply to the scorebox which will save on the rather arduous task of charging the battery that fed the electronic scoreboard.
“Our big investment though is in a two lane ECB approved Non-Turf practice facility from Total Play. This will be built and ready for the start of this season. It has been made possible through grants from Sports England, The National Lottery and the Trustees of Daisy Hill. We believe that this facility will attract both junior and senior cricketers to the club for years to come, and also used by the schools in our local community.
“The most pleasing thing is that the club has come together so strongly in a relatively short space of time. We have willing `off the field’ workers and a strong committee. This year we have several fund-raising projects on the go. On March 29 we have a `Three Peaks’ charity walk in association with MIND. We also have an annual Beer and Music festival and a golf day”.
Greenwood concluded: “These plus other ongoing activities are demonstrating the strength and commitment of our membership to get the club to where we want it to be. Our short-term goal is to get promoted from Division Three and our realistic long-term goal is to be an established and competitive Division One club with Clubmark or an equivalent recognition.
“Once we have achieved that then who knows? But, the one thing I do know is that if we ever get top-flight league cricket back at Busy Lane, it will have been built on strong sustainable foundations.”