Pre-season has been very promising for the lads representing the famous Headingley club with pre-season nets having begun in October.
These have comprised some useful preparatory outdoor sessions with our new partners at Leeds Physiotherapy Clinic and a very well received indoor 'session' courtesy of main club sponsors Leeds Brewery (proving beyond doubt that it is possible for us to arrange the proverbial in such a location).
After narrowly missing out on two promotions last season, all three league teams will be looking for strong starts to the season. In addition, the HT20 side will be doing their utmost to get over the final hurdle having made finals day every year since the competition began and the Midweek and Sunday friendly sides will continue to seek to promote the club’s burgeoning reputation, whilst seeking out the finest teas and post match refreshments on offer.
As usual the intake of players has been much larger than the outflow, although fiery all-rounder Tom Poulter and the equally fiery (haired) leg-spinner Matty Marshall will be sorely missed both on and off the field.
There are a multitude of new signings capable of filling the gaps however, among others: Jack Mason, the batsmen from North Wales who hit 50 not out on debut in pre-season and will add strength to the top order; Dev Kumar, a talented keeper-batsman; super-fast opening bowler “Fast” Tom Lawson; and the returning Steve Costello who will add to the club’s spin options as well as strengthening our capability in the wine-strawpedoing department.
The Headingley club are renowned throughout Yorkshire cricketing circles for our “One Club” philosophy with all players buying into the fact that they play for the club and not for a certain team within the club.
This has been seen already in the post net de-briefs with our friends at The Village Hotel and in all three pre-season games so although no-one can say how the teams will line up on Game Day One this Saturday, the strength in depth the club has will ensure that three mightily competitive sides take the field.
The firsts, aptly led by the acute tactician that is spinner Steven Gilks, whose air-guitar technique replicates that of Slash and whose captaincy skills are on a par with Michael Vaughan (or it could be the other way round), will be looking to go one better than last season and finish in a promotion spot.
They will eagerly await the first home game at the Glen Road Arena on the 3rd of May against Kirk Deighton.
The second XI will benefit from the huge amounts of strength in depth the squad has. Led by club legend Mark Stelfox, the seconds will be full of hope going into the season. Consistency will be a key factor as the class will always be there, especially when most weeks, all 11 players will be of a first team standard.
Captain fantastic Rob Willey will look for another string of strong performances from his 3rd team, if only to win the club fantasy competition! The thirds will benefit from the all-round talents and unwavering commitment of every member at the club.
It all kicks off on the 19th of April. The mighty first team will start their campaign down the road at St. Chads CC, a fixture which is always a competitive affair with both teams vying for promotion. Even wet Yorkshire weather won’t dampen that game. The 2nd XI will start away at Long Marston, while the 3rd’s have the honour of opening up the Bramhope Fortress against Whixley.
Onwards and upwards...