THERE IS an air of excitement about the district as former Central Yorkshire League clubs prepare to do battle in the newly-constituted All Rounder Bradford Premier League Championship divisions.
But, despite the anticipation there has been the odd note of caution voiced regarding the promotion of only one team from each championship division when there may be clubs finishing second, third or fourth in one section who may well be stronger than the champions of the other.
League officials already had nightmares over the decision where to place what sides. A straight regional split would have left most of the CYL clubs in the same division, thus defeating the object of the merger.
As it stands the A Division leaves the district’s former CYL clubs like Batley, Birstall, Liversedge and Ossett with perhaps the longest distances to travel – having been placed alongside Baildon, Hunslet Nelson, Keighley, Undercliffe, Yeadon, Windhill, Saltaire, and Idle.
Whereas Hopton Mills are joined by Gomersal, Spen Victoria, Hartshead Moor, Brighouse, Bankfoot, Altofts, Townville, Wrenthorpe, Carlton, Bowling Old Lane and Methley.
One of the biggest signings for this year’s Championship programme is Richard Pyrah’s decision to leave Ossett and join Hartshead Moor – although his value to the Highmoor Lane club largely depends on his availability.
The former Yorkshire all-rounder has plenty of Bradford League experience with Cleckheaton, Woodlands and Spen Victoria but his involvement with the Yorkshire women’s team and the Yorkshire County Under-16s will surely restrict his own playing opportunities.
Gomersal, again captained by Graham Hilton, have signed wicket keeper Liam Thomas from Scholes and all rounder Richard Weir, son of former Gomersal player David, has moved to Oxford Road from Keighley.
In Championship A Birstall have recruited long serving Buttershaw St Paul’s clubman Ian Carradice along with 26-year-old former Huddersfield Town footballer Danny Broadbent, who has been playing his cricket at Methley.