Pudsey St Lawrence are the focus of the latest Clubs in Winter article by Reg Nelson who has been speaking to Chris Marsden, pictured, and Richard Brown about their prospects.
Although the Saints lost their league title last season, they are expected to be again one of the front-runners in 2018. They have retained all their key players and added all-rounder Jordan Thompson who has been released from his Yorkshire Academy duties on a Saturday. This gives them `two players in one’ and critically an injection of real pace with the new ball.
Chris Marsden, who had a particularly strong season last year scoring 437 league runs and taking 43 wickets at 15.12, has been made captain in succession to James Smith.
Marsden is very conscious of the honour of being named captain, and also the pressure in following Smith’s tenure as captain He said: “Taking over as captain at PSL is a great honour for me as I have played at the club all of my life, and taking over from Jim Smith after such a successful time as captain will be a great challenge that I am looking forward to”, he said.
Discussing the first team’s prospects Marsden said:, “Jordan Thompson from the Yorkshire Academy is our only signing for the 2018 season, and he brings a wealth of talent to our club. He is a great addition to our squad, and can hopefully provide the team with extra fire power in all three disciplines of the game in our pursuit for silverware in 2018.
"Everyone at PSL wishes him success for 2018 and many more years to come. The rest of the squad is very much the same with players from the 2nd XI pushing for places in the 1st XI.
"There is no place for easing in to the start of the season with a tough trip to Bradford and Bingley on the first Saturday, and we aim to set the tone there for a successful 2018”.
This is probably a critical close season for the club as they wait to see how their new square pans out. Club Secretary Richard Brown is ever mindful of the weather as the new year cracks on,
“Here at Pudsey St Lawrence we are hoping for a mild winter and early spring to accelerate the growth of the new square. Unfortunately, the completion of the work was delayed due to the inclement weather. There is obviously a lot more work to do on it before it is playable and we would like to thank the league for their understanding in allowing us to play our opening matches away in order to give the new square time to grow”..
"We know it takes a couple of years to see the new square bed down fully (as Woodlands found out) but hopefully we will have a playing surface of top quality for years to come and look forward to welcoming all teams in the future.”
Getting back to the cricket - it is clear that two of the Saints squad should be well oiled for the start of the season with left-armer Charlie Parker excelling in club cricket in Perth this winter, and wicketkeeper/batsman Charlie Best doing equally well in Melbourne.
Brown is ever-hopeful on that score,:“Hopefully we as a club will reap the benefits of it on their return”., he said.
One feat that the club has achieved, even before the season has started, is recognition as the most prolific winners of the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy. A decision by the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions committee not to replay the rained-off 2017 Cup Final meant that the Saints and York CC were joint-winners. This `half share’ ensured they would surpass their arch rivals Congs record of four wins. The Saints had also won the trophy four times- 1977, 1986, 1987, 1988, and now stand alone as the most prolific club in the history of the competition.