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New cricket season set for kick off after delayed start

Nick Walker has joined Cleckheaton from New Farnley.
Nick Walker has joined Cleckheaton from New Farnley.

The new Bradford Premier League season is set for the big kick off on Saturday, a week after the scheduled start.

The Bradford League management board opted to delay the start of the season by a week in order to allow extra time for grounds to dry out.

There are some tasty opening day match ups, including last season’s Premier champions Hanging Heaton taking on runners-up Woodlands.

Captain Gary Fellows led Hanging Heaton to their first league title in 18 years and the club capped a magnificent campaign by going on to win the Yorkshire Club Championships at Headingley last September.

Fellows requires just 77 runs to join an elite list of players to top 10,000 in Bradford League cricket, while the club have signed top order batsman Ben Kohler-Cadmore from Driffield and Josh Holling from Pudsey Congs.

Former Batley spin Aqsad Ali has been brought in to replace last season’s leading Bradford League bowler Muhammad Rameez, who no longer qualifies as a Tier 5 overseas player.

Woodlands will have a new overseas player in highly recommended Ashfaq Ahmed and have also signed left arm quick bowler Bilal Muhammad, who has spent the winter at a training camp in Pakistan, under the tutorledge of former Test stars Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.

Cleckheaton have a new captain at the helm in wicketkeeper batsman Mally Nicholson, while they also have several new faces in their ranks.

New overseas player Tayyab Tahir is due to arrive today (Thursday) fresh from a recent First Class innings of 180 in his native Pakistan.

Cleckheaton have also secured the services of Tom Kohler-Cadmore, when his Yorkshire commitments allow, along with Josh Thurwell, Johnny Whiteoak (Lightcliffe) and Nick Walker from New Farnley.

Cleckheaton’s new-look side face a tough opening test away to New Farnley as Walker makes an early return to his former club.

Scholes made a swift return to the top flight as Championship One winners last season and they begin at home to Townville.

East Bierley have nine new faces at the club and their much changed side begin away to Farsley, who were pipped to the runners-up spot on the final day of last season.

Hartshead Moor had a wonderful campaign in 2017, winning the Championship Two title and Jack Hampshire Trophy.

Moor mark their step up to Championship One at home to Undercliffe, relegated Batley will look to make a swift return to the top flight and begin with a home game against Hunslet Nelson, while Gomersal host Morley.

Former county all-rounder Tosh Baker has returned to his ‘home’ club Spen Victoria, with opening bowler Josh Fell making the switch from neighbours Gomersal and Jonathan Elstub moving from Heckmondwike.

Spen should have a stronger squad is summer and begin with a home derby against Liversedge in Championship Two, where Hopton Mills host Altofts.