2017 has seen our most comprehensive pre-season ever. As well as our usual winter programme we have enjoyed 4 additional specialist sessions focusing on all the key aspects of the game. This has carried nicely into our pre-season friendlies where we have taken on Rastrick CC, Castleford CC and Elsecar CC.
We are also delighted to have a new major sponsor with the University of Wolverhampton taking pride of place on the front of our new playing shirts.
We also secured the services of Aussie Tom Rowley as our 1st XI overseas player from Toombull District Cricket Club. Tom has played 1st grade cricket for the best part of three seasons back home and we look forward to seeing him in action.
In addition we managed to make a second signing bringing Yorkshire County Cricket Clubs Azeem Rafiq to the club. Azeem already has a first class game under his belt this season and we look forward to having a player of his calibre in our ranks. On signing, Azeem said, “I am delighted to be signing at such a historic club and hopefully I can contribute on and off the field over the next few years in helping the club achieve success.”
Our preseason schedule saw our first double header weekend of 2017. Our first game at Rastrick CC saw us bat first and score 263ao with Eliot Callis making 75 and Mike Simpson a typically aggressive 37 off just 21 balls. In reply we restricted Rastrick to 234-6 with our ex-player Jacob Waterson making 76 for the hosts. Left arm spinner Tom Eldred finished with 3-35 off his ten over spell. Our first win of the season by 29 runs.
The following day we looked to continue our momentum with a trip to Castleford CC. Castleford batted first and reached 105 in their 40 overs. Skipper Josh Varley took 3 wickets during a very economical spell. In reply it was agreed that we would bat our full 40 overs to ensure both teams got valuable game time under their belts. We reached 237-3 with 50’s for Matt Lee and Billy Root as well as a well-made 43 from Josh White. 2 games, 2 wins and our first outdoor nets of the year before a trip to Elsecar on Easter Saturday.
We travelled to Elsecar with both our new signings named in our starting line-up for the first time. We batted first and things didn’t start well with Danny Walton being caught for a second ball duck. However from their things went pretty much to plan. Dan Priestley and Tom Rowley put on 105 for the second wicket before Dan fell for 39. Tom went on to make 84 from just 73 balls. This meant we had debutant Azeem Rafiq and fellow Yorkshire player Eliot Callis at the crease. The two showed their class and batted superbly taking the score from 159-4 to 306 before Azeem retired after a breath taking 103 off just 46 balls. Eliot batted the remainder of the innings to finish 95*. We finished on a huge 381- 6 in our 45 overs. In reply Elsecar scored 192 – 6 including a strong opening partnership of 92 between Paul Cummins (51) and Jason Meadows (42).
Our three pre-season games have seen us take three wins and gain some great momentum going into the first round of league matches. Our first weekend sees the 1st XI travel to Bawtry Road to take on Sheffield and Phoenix United whilst our second team play host to Whiston Parish Church. We hope that we can take our pre-season form into this first round of games and beyond and let’s make 2017 another successful season for our club.