Quick change for Neal

ASSISTANT COACH and secretary Pat Neal is busy preparing for a sporting “quick change”.

Taking a break from cricket preparations, as secretary of Mirfield CC, Neal will be offering a helping hand to rugby union’s Cleckheaton Colts tomorrow (Saturday).

Then next week it is back to cricket for Neal, who is hoping to help his newly-promoted club as they do battle with Wakefield St Michaels in the Central Yorkshire League (CYL) First Division.

“We virtually lost our first team when we resigned from the Bradford League,” Neal told The Press. “It has been a slow rebuilding process.”

The club rejoined the CYL following a spell in the relative obscurity of the Huddersfield Central League.

And, last year, having finished third in the Second Division, his side clinched a promotion place courtesy of East Ardsley who were unable to join their first team in the same tier.

Ossett A, who they defeated to deny them the Second Division title, are also promoted as the Ossett first team made an early return to the Premier Division.

Though it promises to be a tough season for Mirfield.

“The club’s merger with Harry Lime CC helped provide a bit of stability after the Bradford League situation, and helped us to keep playing competitively, but we are not making any predictions despite our promotion,” explained Neal.

“I hope we can consolidate our position in this division but we’ve not recruited at first-team level and we have no paid players.

“Our financial situation is fairly sound and if we can stay up then it will have been a good season.”

As a player, Neal, born in Wakefield but brought up in Herefordshire, has been at the Memorial Ground for 26 years.

But, though still planning to play, he hopes he will not be needed for the first team this time around.

The presence of Hopton Mills will provide one local derby in the First Division and as for Parish, an improvement on their ninth-placed finish – just six points clear of relegation – is a necessity if they are to avoid the threat of joining their Mirfield neighbours next term.

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