In the latest Club in Winter series Reg Nelson looks at the prospects of Woodlands for the 2018 season with First Team captain Tim Jackson as they look to add further trophies after winning the Heavy Woollen Cup in 2017.
Jackson explains how hard the side have practiced-
“Once again it has been a successful pre-season for Woodlands who have the advantage of top class training facilities literally on their doorstep.
"Nevertheless, these aren’t taken for granted and both the first team and second team lads train hard to make the best use of what the club has to offer.
"I genuinely believe few clubs can claim to practice so intensively during the winter, especially considering the fact that Woodlands has two top class professional coaches at its disposal.”.
Outlook for the First Team
“As far as the first team is concerned I believe we have a stronger side than last season. Elliot Richardson has arguably been the most impressive indoors as he continues to improve and can take a lot of confidence from the way he has bowled in the indoor knockout competition which saw us to the final at Lord's.
"His older brother Scott has had an entire winter in Australia which unsurprisingly saw him play some of his best cricket on the big occasions. Scott played a major part in a final which led his club to silverware”.
“The addition of another talented youngster in Bilal Muhammad who had a 40+ wicket season for New Farnley a couple of seasons ago, adds strength and variety to our bowling attack. He too has been under intense training at a prestigious camp in Pakistan.
"The likes of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram have been mentors this winter to the young quick. Hopefully he has learnt a thing or two from these legends of the game. His left-arm over at pace and his ability to score quick runs reminds me of another ex Woodlands legend!”
“Liam Collins will benefit from having a full first team season under his belt. Sam Frankland as ever looks a solid figure at the top of the order and Greg Finn has once again worked so hard on his game.
"I expect Greg to build on his success with the bat last campaign. Factor in arguably the three best spinners in the league in Chrs Brice, Kez Ahmed and Mark Lawson and it is hard to imagine Woodlands not competing.
“The final piece of the jigsaw was completed when signing highly-recommended overseas Ashfaq Ahmed. At 30 he too adds experience and the quality that is always evident from a professional. With many players in their prime and a perfect mix of youth and experience who’s to say we can’t go one better than last year’s second place finish. H
"aving won a trophy in each of the last two seasons there is a determination in the camp to continue this success with the league and Priestley Cup being real priorities”.
The Second Eleven
“The second eleven have unquestionably been the most decorated side in terms of trophies over the past 3-4 seasons in their division. I expect them once again to prosper but also to put pressure on players in the first team for a healthy completion for places.
"Jack McGann is just one of many players who could play in the first eleven, and will no doubt feature for Woodlands on more than one occasion. He too has shown great commitment to developing his game spending a season down under”.
The strength of the ECB Premier League
“Whilst there are lots to be positive about from a Woodlands point of view, I do feel that the ECB Bradford Premier Division continues to strengthen with the likes of Methley filtering through to the top level.
"I expect Hanging Heaton, Pudsey St Lawrence and Farsley to be strong once again and other clubs such as New Farnley and Cleckheaton who have put an emphasis on recruitment, understanding the importance of competing at the highest level of club cricket”
“It is difficult for all clubs to find the resources needed, but I congratulate all on making the Bradford League such a fiercely contested standard of cricket. Wishing all clubs the very best for 2018."