New boys Cullingworth aiming high

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The long countdown to Cullingworth’s first game in the Foster’s Halifax League is almost over.

The former Craven League side, whose application was given the green light more than 12 months ago, will face sides from old rivals Shelf in Division Two next Saturday.

The George Fletcher-led firsts will be at home and the clubs are old rivals from their Bradford Central League days.

Halifax League cricket will be a completely new experience for the players but chairman Tony Welch has a good idea of what they can expect.

He has been on a fact finding mission for the last year as an umpire in the Halifax League and he has liked what he has seen.

“My first impressions are that the league is driven by batsmen. There are some big scores,” he said.

“The grounds in the main are small but very attractive and the facilities. including those for scorers, are good.”

Welch, whose sons Stephen and Charlie play for Cullingworth firsts, said he also liked the way standards were pushed up by regular ground inspections and recommendations for improvements.

Welch reports Cullingworth’s preparations to be firmly on course and said his club were setting their sights high, aided by strength in depth in the bowling department.

“We are hoping to go up in our first season and we have every reason to believe we can go all the way through to the Premier,” he said.

Cullingworth are used to winning trophies with three league titles and four Wynn Cup successes in their 13-year stint in the Craven League.

“We are very competitive and noisy but not over the top. As an umpire I know the limits and Cullingworth don’t overstep the mark.”

Welch said Cullingworth had thoroughly enjoyed their time in the Craven League.

Switching leagues had made them the “bad boys” last season but they were moving on purely to progress.

“We are very much looking forward to it,” he said.

Mytholmroyd’s title-winning skipper Dave Townsend has joined fellow top section side Southowram.

Townsend joined ‘Royd from Blackley for the 2012 season and led them to the Division One title. The batsman was in charge again last season when ‘Royd finished fourth in the Premier.

Townsend was due to become cricket manager, working alongside new chairman Simon Wheelwright with last year’s league batting averages winner Tom Earle as captain.

However, Wheelwright said: “Dave decided not to fulfil that role and has ended up not playing for us.”

‘Royd will field newcomers Jacob Travis and Tennyson Joseph in a friendly at Todmorden on Sunday.

Central Yorkshire League side Northowram Fields have confirmed the signing of batsman Christian Silkstone from Triangle.

The sweet-striking Silkstone is a member of the Halifax League’s 1000-run club, having scored 1044 at 65.25 in 2011.

Silkstone could miss the first two matches as he is the star strikerf for Halifax AFL title contenders Ryburn United, having scored 32 goals in 19 games for them this season.

Booth have made a couple of signings - former Todmorden and Elland batsman Richard Baigent, who is back after living in America, and Hasnain Wajid, who has returned from Northowram Hedge Top.