FARSLEY may not have quite the front to tip themselves as Bradford League champions in 2014, but chairman David Storr is confident on one thing.
Namely, that the Red Laners possess a batting arsenal which is as good as anything in the division and not just because former Headingley opener Joe Sayers has added to their options.
Farsley, who visit Chris Taylor’s Lightcliffe, have also brought in opening batsman Adal Islam from Manningham Mills – who hit 650 top-flight runs last term – along with South African bowler Graham Hume, who also has a first-class ton to his name.
With the likes of Ian Philliskirk, Mark Harrison and Andrew Duckworth also on deck, Storr feels the club’s batting bases are covered as they aim to celebrate their 150th anniversary in fitting fashion with the headline act being Sayers, who scored 5,457 first-class runs at an average of 33.07.
Storr said: “To be fair, in terms of the batting line-up we have put together, I would think it’s as good as any in the Bradford League at this moment in time.
“Our overseas will probably be batting at six or seven and we have Philliskirk, who is a proven run-scorer and all-rounder.
“Ian probably hasn’t played as well as he has done over the past couple of years, but I think Ian will be up for it this year. I think we will do reasonably well. We’ve got to get off to a good start and if we do that, I would think I’d look at our club to be in the top four.
“Getting Joe (Sayers) is a big bonus for us. He is a proven player and he gets runs at all levels and got something like 700 runs last year (in the Huddersfield League). Our ground is probably one of the best wickets in the Bradford League and it’s a very quick-scoring ground and I hope Joe will show his true class playing on a good wicket and score some really good runs for us.”
Of the expected ultra-competitive season ahead, he added: “You will see the usual teams such as Woodlands and Cleckheaton being very strong. But it’s becoming more of a level playing field. Cleckheaton won it last year after rebuilding, while a few Woodlands players are getting a bit old in the tooth.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, the second weekend of the Bradford League sees champions Cleckheaton playing host to Woodlands. Pudsey Saints welcome East Bierley, while Pudsey Congs hit the road to Morley.
Hanging Heaton host New Farnley, who they beat in the Heavy Woollen Cup final last season. Yeadon visit Bradford and Bingley.