Woodlands will be at full strength for their Yorkshire Premier Leagues Play-Offs semi-final at Appleby Frodingham on Saturday.
It means they will again have the services of their New Zealand all-rounder Brad Schmulian as they tackle the new Yorkshire Southern Premier League champions.
Schmulian’s departure was delayed by Covid-19 and resulted in him playing and scoring 112 in the win over New Farnley which secured Woodlands’ eighth Bradford Premier League title in 16 years.
But Saturday’s match will be his last of the season and if Woodlands make it to Headingley for next week’s final, he will be watching events from afar.
Schmulian is due to take over as Woodlands’ captain next season and like his team-mates, would love to play his part in securing another trophy for Cieran Garner who has led to the club to two league titles and a Priestley Cup win in his two seasons at the helm.
Garner is stepping down so that he can spend more time with his young family. “If I cannot commit to playing 100 per cent of the cricket then how can I expect others too,” he said.
“I have loved doing the job and it was a big decision to stand down, but it was made a little easier by having somebody of Brad’s quality able to step in and take things forward.
“It is the right decision for the club and Woodlands means everything to me. I have played all my cricket at Woodlands and will continue to play wherever they want me to play when I am available.”
Garner was a surprise choice when he was plucked from the second team to take over the captaincy from Tim Jackson, but he has certainly repaid the faith the club put in him.
He said: “I think people outside the club were shocked when I got the job, but it was something the club believed was right at the time, just as appointing Brad now is absolutely right so that we can continue to move forward.”
Garner would dearly love to go back to Headingley and win the one trophy that has eluded Woodlands, but he is keen to stress that his focus is solely on Saturday’s match.
He said: “A couple of the lads have been doing some research on Appleby Frodingham. They appear to be a strong bowling unit who have consistently been able to defend totals for their side.
“We know we have to make sure we continue to play our best cricket. They have won their league and will be tough opponents.”
Top scorers: Alex Grimes 736, Matthew Fowler 713
Top bowlers: Paul Hilton 41, Kieran Lindley 40, Joe Baker 40.
Top scorers: Brad Schmulian 795, Sam Frankland 794
Top bowlers: Chris Brice 48, Muhammad Bilal 39
Woodlands: Sam Frankland, Tim Jackson, Brad Schmulian, Liam Collins, Cieran Garner, Muhammad Bilal, Scott Richardson, Greg Finn, Elliot Richardson, Kez Ahmed, Chris Brice.