Pre-Season preview 2023 - part I
Posted on 12th April 2023 at 20:47
After their double promotions last year, Ackworth will have teams competing in Divisions 1 and 6 this season, Overseas all-rounder Shingi Masakadza returns for another season, and experienced top-order batsman Andy O'Grady has joined from Askern Welfare. Long-serving keeper Lovepreet Singh has hung up his batting gloves and will now be supporting the club from the boundary. Amongst an excellent crop of young players are left-armer George Gillespie, who had a great season last year opening the bowling; 15-year old Josh Wood, who bowls with genuine pace, bounce and control; whilst in the 2nd XI, batsman Rehan Kiriella and bowlers Dan Levick and James Whalley made brilliant debuts last season should just keep improving. The club are very ambitious and determined to build on last season’s successes, as well as being very excited about the three new hybrid pitches they have installed over the winter period.
Twice Premier Division champions Appleby Frodingham welcome two new signings; Jamie Brumby from Scunthorpe Town and Jacob Wainman from Haxey, to add greater depth to their squad. They are also hopeful that, having missed the 2022 campaign due to work commitments, Joe Baker will return to regular action and build on his debut season when he won the Premier Division bowling award in 2021. The one significant departure is that of Jordan Cook, who has returned to Cleethorpes CC in the pursuit of more bowling opportunities. The core of the team remains unchanged, but the batting order will be shaken up as keeper Drew Sylvester has earned an opportunity to bat in the top four. The return of Jordan Neil for a second season as overseas player is a huge positive, and another outstanding season from the 21-year old could draw the attention of first class counties. There remains a huge appetite at the club to remain competitive and they will aim to emulate Wakefield Thornes by winning a hat-trick of Premier Division titles.
Aston Hall achieved two promotions last year, and will make a well-earned return to Premier league cricket with a squad under skipper Johannes Bothma that sees the retention of last year’s successful nucleus augmented by new signings. Top order batsmen Nathan Swift and Zak Jahangir have joined from Barnsley, leg-spinner Hassan Ben Shabab has signed from Conisbrough, and Sayed Zaman arrives from Rossington. With last year’s overseas, Afghanistan all-rounder Nasir Omar Khan returning, the Green Lane side have four of last season’s top ten Championship bowlers in Bothma, Adam Clarke, Hassan Bin Shahab and Omar himself; as well as four batsmen who passed 600 Championship runs in Omar, Swift, evergreen Mark Barnard and Joe Stickland. Great things are expected of 16-year old opening bowler Henry Renshaw who had a tremendous season last year. The targets for both 1st & 2nd teams will be to finish in the top half of their respective leagues, and the club look forward to another successful season both on and off the field from the ever-growing junior section right up to the 1st team.
The newcomers to the YCSPL this season are Barnby Dun, who play at the well-known former Pilkington Recs ground at Kirk Sandall. They have strengthened their playing strength for the challenge with the arrivals of Shaun Fell from Stamford Bridge and Nick Ashton and Hayden Briggs from Rossington Main. The club look forward to the continuing development of a couple of their very promising 15-year olds, young pace bowler Joseph Dixon and all-rounder Sam Limber, who both established themselves as first teamers last season. Sensibly, the club aim simply to establish themselves in YCSPL Divisions 4 and 9, and look forward to meeting new opponents and visiting new grounds.
Barnsley Woolley Miners have been very proactive in the close season, aiming to strengthen all four senior sides. Liam Johnson brings experience and talent from Treeton to bolster the middle order and provide new 1st XI skipper Beck Frostick with another option in the spin department; seamer Adam Copley has moved back up north and joins the club after taking 50 wickets in the Middlesex Premier League last season with Brondesbury CC; Harvey Round is another seamer added to the ranks and at 17 years old, has a bright future ahead of him, with more game time expected this season with Yorkshire 2nds. In addition, Steven Nuttall and has returned to the club; Craig and James Wilkes and Jack Riley have re-signed from Rockingham; Lewis Bray has joined from Kexborough, and has potential to develop into a genuine all-rounder in the higher teams; whilst Tony Singh will bolster the ranks at Woolley on moving from Eden Grove Parklands. Popular Aussie batsman Jake Weatherald returns as overseas player, and will contribute far more than just runs. He has taken on the role of high-performance coach and has already put in a lot of work facetiming all the players for both individual and group sessions. Three notable departures are Leo Johnson, who has returned to Collingham CC; Nathan Swift & Zak Jahangir, who have chosen to make the step up to Premier Division level with Aston Hall. Amongst those to watch are Owen Smith – at just 16-years old a star in the making – who showed glimpses of his immense potential with 71 in the Viking Cup Final at Field Lane in September; Sheryaar Ali, who is hoping to be included in the Derbyshire CCC 2nd XI squad following his 188 for their u18s; William Nicholson, who gave a glimpse of his talent last season with a first team half century; and Yorkshire County age group cricketers Freddie Chapman and Max Heseltine, who will hope to continue their development after a strong winter. The club target a top three finish for the firsts, stability for the seconds and winning seasons for the thirds & fourths. Barnsley WMCC pride themselves on their junior section and look forward to seeing more and more of younger players making strong contributions during the summer.
So far Bradfield Village Fellowship have had no significant arrivals or departures, but they believe that they have a strong mix of players this season under the leadership of Jim Shepherd in the 1st XI, including accurate bowlers Tim Pearce and Harry Crossley, hard-hitting batsman Johnny Balfour, and exciting young prospect, Jake Machin. Under the captaincy of Craig Shepherd, the 2nd XI has a mix of youth and experience, including young prospects Henry Harris, Millie Gray and Ewan Fearnley. The club hope that more of their promising juniors will make a bid for selection for senior teams, including Will Clarke, who has been making life uncomfortable for a few of the seniors in the nets. After a slightly disappointing 2022 season, Bradfield are hoping that both teams will mount promotion bids from Division 3 and 6 respectively.
Brookhouse won division 7 last season, and have strengthened their squad for the challenge of a higher division. In a very busy and productive close season they have signed five new players, four from Maltby MWCC – John Pinkos, Phil Fletcher, Liam Woodward and Liam Parker – and the experienced Darren Pugh from Wickersley Old Village. Quick bowler Woodward, with pace and bounce, will be one look out for in the 1st XI, as will Carl Raynes in the 2nds, whilst youngster Tom Moore’s recent development has been impressive. There have been no departures, so with last year's winning team, combined with the new signings, Brookhouse are aiming for promotion for both teams.
Caribbean Sports Club have had a busy winter with several comings and goings as they aim to build a squad to make an immediate return to Division 2 after last season’s relegation. New captain Basharat Ali will have several new players at his disposal, including Zabe Javed, Zain Ghazanfar, Ijaz Riaz & Waseem Dar, as well as the returning Mazar Aharif & Waqas Mahroof. Hussnain Hussain and Nasser Rasool have left to join Rotherham Town; Bilal Hanif, Afzal Ahmed and Haroon Tariq have all moved on; and former skipper Shakil Ahmed is now semi-retired. Rizwan Ishfaq, a 15-year old zippy first team opening fast bowler is one to look out for. With a captain who does not know when he is beaten, plus several big hitters, Caribbean will be both dangerous and entertaining.
Cawthorne have recruited several new players for the 1st team in a bid to make an immediate return to the Premier Division under captain Mike Jepps. Luke Ogden comes in from Houghton Main to strengthen the top order; quick bowler Amir Shahzad has joined from the Greater Manchester Premier League; new overseas Methushan Thilina is a Sri Lankan left arm spinner with 28 wickets at 19.5 in list A cricket; and Lewis Skelly returns from Monk Bretton. Amongst several departures, Tanuwar Kohli has joined Elsecar for 2023; Ahmed Matloob has joined a Liverpool club; Harvey Jones and Jake Holling have re-joined Shelley CC; and Ben Cliffe has returned to the Bradford League. The club has high hopes of Kade Fletcher and Ryan Gibson, who both made their mark last season. Cawthorne also hope that their 2nd XI will push on after last year’s promotion by challenging for a spot at the top of Division. 2023 sees the 180th Anniversary of Cawthorne CC and a new outside bar facility ‘Bar 1843’ will be opened to complement the existing facilities.
Amongst several new recruits, Cleethorpes welcome back Lincolnshire all-rounder Jordan Cook after his stint with Appleby Frodingham. Their new overseas slow bowler and middle order batsman, Indian Mayank Mishra, was pivotal in Driffield Town CC's winning the Yorkshire League North Premier League in 2022. Other new arrivals include seam bowling all-rounders Josh Kapton from Scunthorpe Town and Tom Morris (a 6 ft 6 left-arm seamer) from Clee Town Laportes; and experienced all-rounder James Hubball from Clipstone in the Notts Premier League. The Seasiders also have a new captain in Ian Mansfield. Sadly, after many years of service, Tom Rollinson has moved to London, whilst Callum Carter and Harry Costello will both be playing in Leeds, where they are now based. With consistent openers Bill Kirby and Tom Keast being joined by some good signings, Cleethorpes have a stronger squad than in previous years. There is a feeling at the club that with their facilities, stature and history, it is unacceptable not to have been challenging at the top end of the table for several seasons, and there is a confidence that this will change.
Kastun Stoute returns as the overseas player at Darfield, who secured promotion to the Championship for 2023. The club also welcome new arrivals Jake Marshall from Warmsworth, Lewis Pike from Whiston Parish Church and Matt Lambert from Treeton. Matt Higgins has left the club for Hoylandswaine, Arsalan Khalid – has gone to Wath, and Sully Ahmed and Umar Ali have moved to Sprotbrough. Two young players to watch out for are Charlie Potter and Alfie Spurr. The 1st XI will hope to be as competitive as possible and consolidate their place in the higher division, whilst the 2nd XI will want to push for promotion to Division 4. The successful Darfield Ducks ladies’ team are into their second full season this year.
Doncaster Town have two new arrivals and one returning player joining their 1st XI squad for 2023. After a couple of seasons away Jack Shutt re-joins from Elsecar; Pakistani test opening batsmen Imran Butt arrives at Town Fields fresh from scoring over a thousand runs for Cavaliers & Carrington CC in 2022; and Rajneesh Kumar arrives from Leicestershire Premier League club Barrow Town. Departures have been kept to a minimum during the close season, and another batch of eligible junior players will start their journey in senior cricket. The club believe that all this has strengthened their various senior squads, as well as the softball & hardball Women & Girls teams for the upcoming season. Both 2nd and 3rd teams, as well as the Women's & Girls Hardball team, all gained promotion in 2022, and the club want to keep this momentum going by competing for honours across all their teams & sections in 2023. The club also has a new live-streaming facility at Town Fields to enable supporters to see the teams in action.
Elsecar have signed run-machine Taruwar Kohli from Cawthorne as their overseas player for 2023. Two significant departures are Jack Shutt, who has returned to Doncaster Town and Harrison Hays, who has rejoined Monk Bretton. Moin Ashraf is the new 1st XI captain and will be aiming to lead his side to a top four finish after last season’s disappointing campaign. The 2nd XI won Division 3 at a canter last season, and will be confident of at least holding their own in Division 2, whilst the club have introduced a 3rd XI in Division 9, to give opportunities to their crop of junior players.
One club that bucks the trend of comings and goings is Frecheville Community. The accent has been on stability, with no significant new arrivals or departures. The club believe that they have match-winners throughout the club, and target promotion for both 1st & 2nd teams. The 1st XI were fifth in division 3 last year; talented all-rounder Todd Saxelby is sure to be at the forefront again, and will have strong support from the likes of batman Daniel Kempton and Thomas Duffield with the ball. The 2nd XI finished fifth in Division 7 last year, and will fancy their chances of one of the top three places this year.
Hallam celebrated promotion and a Whitworth cup success last year, and will return to Premier Division cricket with last year’s victorious squad, bolstered by two additions. Muhammad Khan joins from Shiregreen to strengthen the spin bowling options, and Jack Snelling has re-joined the club from Holmesfield. Overseas all-rounder Christian Leddicoat remains as the overseas player, and is hoping to be available for all games this season. Ed Burch and Rob Heyes both performed well last year, and more is expected of them this time round. Amongst the youngsters, Jay Singh impressed during indoor nets and will be pushing for a place in the 1st team; Noah Murphy continues to take bags of wickets with his off-spin; and Ffinlo Dyde scored his first senior hundred in the final game of last season. The aim for the 1st XI will be to consolidate after bouncing straight back up to the Premier Division, whilst the 2nds will be hoping to go one better than last year, having then narrowly missed out on promotion from Division 2. The club are delighted to be able to live-stream games at Crimicar this summer, primarily for 1st and 2nd XI games. As always, Hallam focus on their juniors, and expect to continue the success of a thriving All Stars & Dynamos programmes, as well as continuing to run U9 soft-ball festivals on a regular basis.
It has been all change at Houghton Main over the winter months both on and off the field. The club have set up a refreshed committee group and the first team have signed several new players, of differing experience. Amongst the new arrivals, Harsha Perera joins from Sheffield United; batsmen Adam Wiles has signed from Kexborough; the vastly-experienced Haider Jahangir has joined from Barnsley Woolley Miners; Akash Rawal arrives from Nostell; and students Luke Ellis and Riaz Khan have joined the club. Leaving Houghton are Luke Ogden, who will play at Cawthorne in 2023; Michael Bates and Simon Ward, who go to Wath; and Brent Law, who has joined Streethouse. To bring some stability to the side, Michael Brown has agreed to captain. The 1st XI will aim to push for promotion from the Championship whilst the 2nd XI team expect to build on last year’s successful promotion campaign when they play in Division 7. Luke Ogden has done an excellent job in developing the junior section, which is now growing from strength to strength.
It has been a difficult close season for Kexborough, with no recruits and three big losses. Adam Wiles has moved back to the Championship with Houghton Main; Lewis Bray has joined Barnsley Woolley Miners; and Hari Prasanna Selvaraj has moved out of the area. The club hope for big things from talented batsman Joe Bullock; under 16 batsman Matty Woods, who played more games in the 1st XI last season than envisaged and will be an integral member of the top order this year. The 2nd XI will play many of last year's under 15s to help them gain vital experience under the influence of both Ethan & Fin Shillito. The 1st XI will be hoping to get a consistent side out and compete in the top half of Division 3 – they know it will be a difficult task, but they are up for the challenge.
A clutch of new players herald a sense of optimism for the new campaign at Mexborough Athletic. James Beresford and Mel Carrick join from Hampole & Skelbrooke; Tommy Hyde from Upper Haugh; Michael Blakemore from Conisbrough; Matt Holmes from Scholes; and Liam Dodd, Kai Longeran and Charlie Whitehead from Wath. Quality swing bowler Beresford has taken over 400 wickets, and has experienced with numerous promotions, and Michael Blakemore will bring plenty of quality with the bat, having scored runs at Championship level, whilst the club hope that young prospects Liam Dodd, Kai Longeran & Charlie Whitehead will all start to make their mark on senior cricket. On the debit side, Ian Hubery has joined Conisbrough and John Hubery is now at West Bretton. The 1st XI will be targeting promotion from division 6 and the 2nds a top half finish in Division 7.
After celebrating the opening of their new pavilion in 2022 with the championship of Division 4, Millhouses Works will look to consolidate their Division 3 status in 2023. There have been no major comings and goings, but they expect to field a slightly younger-looking 1st XI in 2023. Look out for runs from batters Tom Roper, Peter Chamberlain and Callum Sampson, the last of whom should be available more in 2023; and wickets and economy from spin bowler Rameez Ahmed and left arm seamer Joe Morgan. The 2nd XI have two quicks in Jamie Evans, a 15-year old who is already 6 feet 4 inches tall, and young Zac Belfield, a sharp swing bowler who is developing quickly; and they are expecting runs from Dan Pawley and Tom Winter. The club’s priority is still to develop and sustain their Women & Girls and Junior sections. Millhouses now have not just two women's teams, but also girls’ teams at U9, U13, & U15 levels, creating an equal pathway for girls to develop in the same way as the boys do. The club also has a new 3rd X1 which will enable them to develop more young players alongside some experienced heads. Like other clubs, Millhouses are looking for their 2nd XI to move a little closer to their 1st XI, and promotion to Division 6 would enable that.
In a disappointing 2022, Monk Bretton were relegated from Divisions 2 and 7, but have responded positively with several key signings and will hope to bounce straight back in both divisions. Luke Bullingham and Steve Honeyman jnr join from Wath to add ability and experience with bat and ball respectively. All-rounder Harrison Hayes has re-signed from Elsecar, where he has gained invaluable experience. Lewis Skelly has returned to Cawthorne after several seasons at the club, in which he was a vital part of the 1st XI. There are a number of exciting young cricketers coming through the club’s junior sections that will continue to develop this season, including Ollie & James Wainwright, Jenson Hayes, Ben Davis and Kian Lindsay, who all played representative cricket last season and made a few Division 2 appearances last season. The club looks forward to seeing these players develop and to playing winning cricket in 2023.
Norton Woodseats go into the season with move to their new ground at Matthews Lane and on the back of their 2022 Mick Savage Trophy win and a mid-table Division 2 finish. They have recruited top order batsman Dan Loughlin and seam bowling all-rounder Andy Scott from Apperknowle CC in Dronfield, and the hugely experienced former Pakistan all-rounder Asadullah Butt joins the club from Cutthorpe CC to bring quality & experience to the top order, as well as his share of wickets. The prolific Aamir Ashfaque will undoubtedly be one of the top wicket-takers, not only at the club but in Division 2. One notable departure is that of former one-club man Josh Cross to Norton Oakes. The new arrivals should enable Woodseats to build on last year’s eighth place, and become promotion-challengers. The 2nd XI have moved from the Yorkshire & Derbyshire League and make their debut in the YCSPL aiming to push for promotion and to close the gap between the two teams. The Mick Savage Trophy success has wet the club’s appetite for success, and they will be hoping for another cup run. The new ground is the culmination of a lot of hard work from club members, and they look forward to welcoming all clubs for their first visit. Woodseats believe that the new ground will help to lay the foundations for their future, and, to this end, to develop their ever-growing junior set up.
Another club where there have been a number of comings and goings is Oughtibridge War Memorial. The new players include Will Cooper from Treeton, Tuffail Dar from Rotherham Town, Rohit Varma from Sheffield Transport, Bavan Selvanayagam from Thorncliffe & Wentworth, John Searby from Belper Amateurs and Aryan Singh from Whitley Hall. Chaamikara Hewage was one of the leading all-rounders in Division 1 last season, and he has re-signed for another stint at Waterside Gardens. To make way for the new arrivals, Arsian Tariq moves to Rotherham Town; Mazar Sheriff, Waheed Bhatti and Owais Bhatti all go to Handsworth; and Ismeaal Akram pursues his cricket career in Derby. Joel Mann is one to watch; he had a brilliant 2022 and the club hope for more of the same from him; Dilshan Luxman is also another key player with his mystery left arm spin; and new signings Rohit Varma and Aryan Singh are both young and promising cricketers. The 1st XI hope for promotion back to the Championship after a solid second half of the season last year, whilst the 2nd XI are looking to challenge for honours in Division 3.
Part two will be published tomorrow
With thanks to all those who responded to Andrew Tipple's call for contributions on our Facebook page
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