Leading spin bowler Chris Goulden has confirmed that he is returning to Foster’s Halifax League club Copley.
Goulden, who has had a highly-successful second stint at Elland in the Huddersfield League, said he was going back for family reasons.
His wife Sarah had their first child, George, six weeks ago and Goulden said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Elland but it is time to go back to Copley, my club.”
He will be playing alongside Craig Taylor, who is married to his sister Elaine. His mum Sue also watches matches at Copley, where her husband Keith was a key member as well as being league secretary until his untimely death in 2011.
Goulden started his career at Copley as a seven-year-old and played there for 19 years before testing his ability at Elland and then Aire/Wharfe League side Illingworth.
In his latest three-year spell at Elland he won the league bowling prize in 2012, having finished top of the combined league and cup averages in 2011.
The Hullen Edge club has finished second and third in the Huddersfield League in recent years and Goulden has enjoyed his time there.
“I have been playing against quality players and it is a fanatastic club,” he said.
Goulden has unfinished business at Copley.
He is not short of championship-winning medals and captained the team to the title in 2004. However, he would dearly love to get his hands on the Parish Cup.
“I have played in four Parish Cup finals but haven’t won one, although Copley did win it when they beat Booth at Southowram (in 2011),” he said.
Goulden, 34, returns to a Copley club with arguably the best facilities in the Halifax League, following the building of their new clubhouse.
He admits he may have to change his approach to spin bowling for this season.
“Good spinners do okay in the Halifax League and Simon Collins (last year’s league averges winner) has been fantastic,” said Goulden.
“I will need to contain a bit more. A mis-hit can go for six in the Halifax League whereas Elland has one of biggest grounds in Yorkshire.
“But I have played first team Halifax League cricket for 11 years and been hit into rivers all round Halifax so I know what is required!”
Goulden believes he is the only “new” player at Copley for 2014 but said the club was hoping young stars Oliver and Toby Thorpe would make further progress.
Experienced opening bowler Richard “Coggan” Turner is expected to play less due to work commitments in Dubai.