In the latest Club in Winter series Reg Nelson looks at the prospects of Altofts Cricket Club for the 2018 season with Jordan Carter who captained his club to the Group B T20 Cup last season.
“It’s been a mixed couple of years since we joined the Bradford League”, according to Carter, who led Altofts to T20 glory last season. Carter added: “The first team have twice narrowly missed out on promotion since the merger and have lost a lot of young talent such as Jonathon Donnelly (Pudsey Congs) and James Logan (Farsley) and are trying hard to keep hold of our home-grown players so we can start climbing up the leagues.
"The 2nd XI have had a tough few years but have recruited well again this winter and are hoping to compete at the top end of Championship Two this year.
Despite the disappointing results last season, Carter thinks that Altofts are in a better position leading into this season.He said: “We have kept hold of a lot of key players from last season and added quality. Also, by strengthening our second team squad, it should give the lads a push to perform as there will be a few second team lads wanting their spot in the first team”
Talking about the new signings, Carter is optimistic about the new-look side. “The close season has been a very busy one. We have signed Craig Wood from Birstall who has also taken over as captain. Woody brings a wealth of experience as well as some powerful batting at the top of the order and also some tight bowling”.
“We have re-signedlaced our very successful overseas player from last year, Kristian Miller, with a close friend of his from his club back in Australia, Heatherhill. His name is Matthew Bishop and he will slot into the number three position.
"Bishop has already hit over 600 runs this season, including an outstanding innings of 237. He will have a chance to hit even more runs as his team are in Finals action with Kristian and our very own Luke Whitmore, who is also playing for Heatherhill.
“Perhaps the most eye-catching addition over the winter is Tom Glover who is a very well-known opening bowler within cricket in Yorkshire. A fast bowler by trade, Glover famously took over 200 wickets during his time at Wrenthorpe. He has also had very successful spells at Pudsey Congs and most recently Colton.
“We have also resigned wicketkeeper Ryan Lethbridge from Streethouse. Ryan again brings a wealth of experience as well some very reliable hands behind the stumps which hopefully will come into use.
“On top of the four new signings we have retained the services of Faz Alam who scored over 1,000 runs in all competitions last season and also took over 50 wickets. He may miss a few games due to work commitments which mean the rest of the squad need to step up again this season”.
“It isn’t just the first team who have been busy over the close season as mentioned earlier. There have also been signings for the Second Team as we have brought in both youth and experience”.
“Promising young wicketkeeper batsmen Liam Webb has signed from Wakefield Thornes and left-arm bowler Darren Sharp from Nostell St Oswalds will bring experience. As well as the existing squad we have some young lads breaking through- notably Ben Walsh”.
“Off of the field the club is working hard to raise money for the club. A Fantasy Club Cricket League has been set up and themed nights throughout the season are being organised”.
“But the most exciting event is this year’s charity game. After the success of our Emmerdale charity game in 2016, we are excited to announce that we are planning a Rugby League Legends XI v Altofts CC on Sunday 10 June.
"Castleford Tigers legend Andy Lynch will be bringing along an all-star team to knock for six in the name of charity. Andy hopes to attract some top sporting names from Rugby League, cricket and other sporting backgrounds to entertain and raise money.
"The event will provide a wonderful family day out with opportunities to bid on some rare or unique items at our end of match auction. There will also be fun activities to take part in throughout the day. We hope that the cricket and rugby league communities will come to the village to support us”.