Cricket: Farsley planning ahead after flirting with drop

Farsley club captain, Mark Harrison. Picture: Steve Riding.
Farsley club captain, Mark Harrison. Picture: Steve Riding.
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THE old cricket season may have finished just a month-and-a-half ago, but Farsley CC are wasting no time in getting ship-shape for 2016 – after a desperately disappointing summer.

The Red Laners had a season to forget in the top-flight of the Bradford League and came perilously close to the disastrous scenario of relegation in the year before the league is restructured, only for a dramatic final-day Great Escape act.

Relieved at their reprieve, but desperate to draw a line under a torrid year, Farsley have switched their attentions to next year and have already made a signficant move in bringing in Yorkshire’s Dan Hodgson as captain.

More ‘exciting’ signings are planned with the club intent on making waves at the right end of the table next season.

On the outgoing front, leg spinner Tom Craddock has moved to his home club Honley and Jack Hendy has also left the club.

Club skipper and last season’s captain Mark Harrison said: “Early last year we had just four players on the books, but now we have a new core to the team. We have a new captain in Dan, which is a massive boost for the club.

“He has got plenty of experience in captaining Yorkshire’s 2nd XI and we are looking to move forward under him.

“We have retained the services of the majority of the group with James Wainman being a key figure in that and he is looking to come through Yorkshire’s ranks and we still have the core together, which is nice.

“We are also looking to add an opening batsman and overseas pro to really kick on. We are hoping that the batsman will excite the league along with the new pro. It is all looking in good shape at the minute.”

Farsley are grateful for small mercies in that they at least avoided relegation in September.

The club saved themselves when they dismissed New Farnley for 71 to secure a 70-run win which enabled them to climb out of the bottom two at the expense of Undercliffe, who finished just a point behind them.

For Farsley, club of former Ashes-winning captain and Yorkshire legend Raymond Illingworth, it is a case of ‘never again’, while being thankful for the chain of events on the last day.

Harrison added: “We had all our luck on the last day after having none at all through the season.

“To stay up by one point was incredible and everything went for us with the results elsewhere and the weather was a factor too.

“If we had gone down, it would have been a disaster, there’s no hiding it.

“We want to try and consolidate and kick on now as we have some good players with lots of talent.

“Now it is about getting a proper team mentality together so we hit the ground running next year.

“I don’t think there was anyone more disappointed than myself with the injuries we had last year and bad luck we had with the overseas (player).

“But that is all gone now and it’s a fresh start. As a club, we are progressing and the new appointments we have made are exciting and it’s a good time to be involved with the club.”